On running camaraderie (or feeling like a slacker)

This past weekend, my husband and I volunteered at a 100-mile endurance run. It’s the one my husband ran last year, and it always brings out amazing runners and volunteers alike.

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Runners heading down the hill toward one of the well-stocked aid stations. You can see volunteers waiting to fill up bottles and hand out food.

As a runner, I am always reminded during this race of some of what I love about running. Because I am not an ultra runner (someone who has run more than a marathon distance), I also have a chance to feel like a slacker when it comes to running. Humility is a good thing, right? (I ask rhetorically and with a smile.)

It happens every year: the volunteers make small talk with one another in between filling water bottles, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, doling out soup and even (shudder) popping blisters. Invariably, the question comes up: Do you run? Continue reading

Running thoughts: hospitality, humility and humidity

I really thought that here on the first Wednesday of October, I’d be waxing poetic about the joys of autumn, like the fabulous pumpkin chai I recently discovered at Caribou Coffee. (It’s really awesome, and if you like pumpkin or chai, you’ve gotta try it.)

Instead of writing about the delightful fall, though, I find myself astonishingly grateful for air-conditioning and an order from my doctor to take a week off from running. After all, a run right now would be more like swimming, only without the refreshing water part.

Many of us southern runners love autumn because it lacks the main summertime ingredient that causes us to struggle: humidity. We’ve survived the awful stuff all summer, and in many cases, fall is the time of year that we ramp back up with our running. We can add in more miles and even change up the time of day we run, simply because we’re no longer trying to dodge suffocating heat and humidity. But this week has felt more like late August or early September. Yesterday was so humid outside that the windows of my house fogged up (from the outside). With the start of fall, I thought I was done with tracking sweaty footprints across the floors, not to mention the drenched shoes and running clothes.

While out with my dog this morning, I found the humidity to be overwhelming. So I tried to turn my thoughts to a topic I’ve been working out for my most recent book chapter: hospitality. Do you mind if I revisit the topic? Continue reading