Thursday, April 06, 2006

I Love Runners

I love runners.

When I am out running and I cross paths with another runner going the opposite direction I cannot help but to at least glance at them if not make full eye contact, smile, head nod and perchance offer up a cordial-but-not-too-friendly “hi” or “morning” (this is New York after all. One cannot be too friendly).

When I am driving and see a fellow runner I slow down to see if I know them and strain my neck to take in their stride. It’s amazing how you can identify a running buddy just from their gait...

I
take a certain pride in being an active part of the local running community and that makes me quite happy. From the tall, skinny Asian guy in the faded pink warm-up to the woman with the brown curly hair and powerful stride who’s always got her headphones on to the ultra-marathon guy who chews on sticks and runs effortlessly day and night. I feel fellowship and community with these people even though I have hardly ever said more than “hello” to them.

I love runners.

I mention this because I was in Upstate New York over the weekend and went for a 10 miler on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail which essentially runs north and south along the Wallkill River between New Paltz and Rosendale, New York.

It was a beautiful morning complimented by the beauty of the trail itself. Morning sunlight poured through the budding trees and you could feel that spring was just around the bend. I ran past blue jays, cardinals, robins and a variety of other birds I’m unable to identify due to my ignorance (did I mention I am not a member of the Audubon Society?). I breezed by squirrels and even a few chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, Theodore!). I strode past a chicken coop, horses and some cows. The real shocker was when 4 deer loped across the trail just a few meters ahead of me. Imagine my surprise.

It was a terrific run but also challenging in part because I haven’t been logging too many runs of this distance and also because it was a trail run and the soft earth absorbed a lot of the energy return I am accustomed to by running on concrete. Oh yeah, and the terrain is somewhat uneven.

Regardless, something was missing and I think I know what it is. I missed the dozens of anonymous Astoria Park runners. I missed my friendly local running community.

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

Isn't the best thing about running around New York when you bump into other runners you know? I just love that. I loved the times when I thought I was going out on my own and ended up running with friends because our paths crossed.

Now I just give the runners I pass dirty looks because I'm so jealous of them (JK!)