It was 20 something degrees. I wanted to stay inside all day. I thought about staying inside all day. It had snowed the night before. It was the kind of day when if you didn’t go past your front door to pick up the mail, nobody would blame you. But I am a runner. So I must run.
So I laced up my running shoes, zipped up my fleece and took off to Central Park. I took the train to the park because the streets still have residual ice, which makes it dangerous to run, but I knew the park loop was bound to be clear, to facilitate all the hardcore runners.
So I got to the park and started, slowly because it was so cold, it was hard to breathe. I ran the tough hill and made that first exit to come down the hill. that would give me 1.3. miles and to tell you the truth, I was cold and all those deep thoughts I tell you I’m usually having during running, this time all I could think about during the run was stopping at that Dunkin Donuts at the park exit and getting some warm chocolate-y goodness to drink.
So as I was going down the hill, I noticed a NY state ID at the side of the road. I stopped and looked at it, uncertain whether I should pick it up. You see, this is what runners do. When they… when we, go out running, we don’t carry our entire wallet of cards. We carry an ID, maybe a debit card and metro card, a couple dollars cash for emergency water, and a key to get back inside our apts. So when we get home after a run, or if we stop at any point during the run to use any of the aforementioned items, any missing item would be noticed and it would be easy to retrace steps to look for it. So if I dropped my bank card while I was running, which has happened to me in the past, I could just do my run another time and if it’s on the road somewhere, I would see it, if it’s not there, I can call the bank and cancel immediately. It’s not like if I think my card in this pocket in my purse but when I can’t find it, I have to search all my pockets and all my bags and lift up the couch, and look under the bed, etc. If I’ve finished my run and there is one less card in my pocket, I know what happened and when.
So back to yesterday’s run and the decision I had to make. I picked up the card and looked at the address. It was right outside the park. I could stop there and deliver the card, or I could put in an envelope and drop it in the mail, and she would get her ID back by tomorrow. So I put in my pocket and kept running, having decided to mail it.
I got to the end of the little loop and started to cross the street to exit the park when I looked at my Nike Fitness Watch. 1.35 miles completed. Aaahh. I should run at least 1.5 miles. Can’t stop yet!
So I crossed the street again to start to run, thinking I could just keep running and get off at the next exit. So then I realized the woman behind me had just mirrored my double-crossing. She had also crossed to exit and then crossed to get back onto the running/walking path about 10 steps behind me. Coincidence? Maybe. So I turned around and shouted to her, “Did I inspire you?”‘ Half expecting her to maybe smile, maybe say nothing. After all, she wasn’t a runner. She was wearing boots and carried her jacket in her hand. She was a walker. She might even be offended my by implication that she was mirroring my movements. So I shouted it and started running, just in case she didn’t get it. But then I stopped in my tracks when she shouted back, “Yes! You did!” So I started running again, this time, running not just for me but to pace her, after all, there was someone behind me who was looking for inspiration.
So I got back onto the hill and realized she had stopped so I stopped too, to take a photo of the icicles on the rocks while I waited for her to catch up. When she did, I started to chat to encourage her and found out that the ID I had found, the ID in my pocket was hers. She hadn’t yet realized she lost it so she was surprised and happy and appreciative. And then she told me that she was walking to try to get some exercise, because she is trying to quit smoking and it’s hard and she used to run and now she wants to run again but smoking and running don’t go together, especially UP the Central Park hill and especially in 20 degree weather. And then she said the thing that changed my day. She said she was just walking and she asked God to speak to her and inspire her and then I ran by and asked her if I inspire her and it just seemed like an answered prayer.
Who, me? Me out running, running for myself, running for my own exercise and peace of mind? I was an answer to her prayer?
That did it for me? I said, Ok. Now that this is bigger than both of us. Let’s just run, for as long as you can, as slow as it’s comfortable for you and we stop when you want to.
So we did!
We ran/walked another lap and when I looked at my fitness watch, it had been 3.5 miles for me and she had done at least 2 miles of walking and running. And i told her, like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And I gave her my contact info so we can run together again. And until then, I am thinking of ways I can motivate her to do better and be better everyday until she reaches her goals.
And that’s what RUNWRIGHT is all about. RUNWRIGHT is not just about me. RUNWRIGHT is about all the people I meet and interact with and have a chance to inspire, even by the things I do everyday. RUNWRIGHT is for me to remember that some of the things I take for granted mean much more to someone else. RUNWRIGHT, because life happens fast and you have to keep up.
That was yesterday. How will I RUNWRIGHT today? How will you?