Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More On The Runner's Wave

You probably can’t believe that I have more to say on the runner’s wave.  But, the runner’s wave is one of the greatest phenomena I have ever witnessed, bringing all runners together, even if only for a passing glance, so I have a lot to say about it.     I’ve talked about what being on the receiving end of the wave has meant to me, but today I want to talk about what it means to give the runner’s wave.

 When I first started running, it felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done.  Sure, I’ve faced a lot of physical challenges in my life, but running was the one thing that did not come naturally to me.  From day one, it felt like setting out on the trail was going against every fiber of my being.  When I tell you that it took me weeks to train to run just one single mile, please know that I am not exaggerating.  One of the things that kept me running when I really just wanted to quit, was being on the receiving end of the runner’s wave.  So many wonderful smiles and waves from people who were usually flying by, but still took the time to acknowledge me as another runner on the same path as them kept me moving onward.

 Even though I loved being waved at, it took me a very long time to start giving out the wave.  Who was I to be waving at these real runners?!?!  Why would a real runner want to be bothered with a wave from me?  What business does a girl who can barely get through her runs without collapsing into a ball of sweat and muscle cramps have trying to encourage other runners?  What good could my wave possibly do for anyone?  I spent a lot of my life thinking this way.  In fact, I spent the majority of my years afraid to show myself thinking that no one would really want to see me.  I was afraid of what I would look like in the eyes of those real runners.  Better to be unseen than to be disgraced.

I make a point now of waving at every runner, walker, and biker I pass on the long run.  Even if it’s all I can do to throw an arm up in their direction and let it flap back and forth as I run.  Because, let’s face it, there are times on the long run when I’m not capable of much more.  But, there are also times when I see another runner headed towards me with pain and exhaustion is written all over their face and I know they need a runner’s wave from me.  And so I wave. 

I won’t lie.  It’s not always easy or comfortable waving and smiling at perfect strangers.  Lots of times it’s flat out uncomfortable.  I feel silly and weird and probably worst of all, I feel vulnerable.  But, I do it anyway.  I have wasted so many opportunities in my life because I was afraid to be vulnerable.  I was afraid to put myself out there.  I was afraid to open up and I missed out on life because of it.  No more.  I have decided that vulnerable is okay.  It’s normal, it’s human, and it really connects us all.  When we let down our guard and decide to reach out to one another, great things can happen.  I guess in some ways, this blog is my runner’s wave to you.  It can be awkward and uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure you are all thinking, “just who is this person reaching out to me as if I need it?”  But, I’m going to keep waving because maybe one of you does need it.  Or maybe it’s just me who needs it.  But, here I am waving.

I'm running low on pictures, so please accept this Thumbs Up as today's runner's wave.

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