When I walked in to the office Monday morning the first thing that was said to me was: "How did your race go this weekend?" I. Love. It.
I work for a professional sports league and, many of the people that I work with played sports on the collegiate and professional level. Now, I am just an average runner, with high aspirations for this thing that I am obsessed with, but they GET it. For them it may have been their actual job at one point, where this is just a hobby for me, but to me training is pretty much non negotiable if I want to get to the next level. Of course I have days where it feels like a job but I get out there and I do the work.
The more involved I have become with racing the more my mentality and approach has shifted over the years. The first half marathon that I did, was due to my sister. I had been increasing my mileage to up my weight loss (I really need to post on how this all began and where I have come from...) and she mentioned she was going to be doing a half marathon in about 3 months and since I was already running 6 or 7 miles at a time I should run it with her. A challenge? I like challenges. And so it began. I ran my first half and then was hooked. I knew that I would do it again.
This year was when I really took the whole racing thing to a new level. And with that I found that my social life took a major hit.
None of my close friends are into running. Nor to be honest are many of them really into a fitness oriented lifestyle. That makes maintaining some of those relationships kind of difficult. Over the past couple of years the friendships that were based solely on the social aspect have drifted to the wayside. Those that I have a connection with and it wasn't based on just going out to the bars and drinking have been maintained. But it is still hard for any of them to really get it. I have had to fight for why I will not go out until 3am Friday or Saturday night. Why bar crawls do not have any place in my life. Why if I go out I want to be home by 11/12 o'clock. It gets exhausting and has caused me to actually just avoid those people versus having to explain for the umpteenth time just why I will not be going out.
I love it. I enjoy getting up and going after it early in the morning. Being more productive by 10 am on the weekends than most of them will be all day. This is my lifestyle. Perhaps at one point began as a diet but it is who I am now.
I am also well aware that my love for running and training makes me talk about said topics quite often. I blog about it, I instagram about it, I facebook about it. So sue me. But I can understand how it consumes me and others may not want to talk about it either. Enter finding some really good running and racing buddies. As I have evolved with this, I have slowly but surely begun to meet some running friends. I will be running my first marathon with one of the best in January. I am thirsty for a running community. I am jealous of those who have a group that go to races together. I think it is high time I joined one or two of the local running clubs. I have forever thought that I wasn't good enough - I actually still quite shockingly realize that yes, I am indeed a runner - and it startles me.
My family as well in general thinks I am kind of nuts. My one sister who got me into this in the first place has not run another since. My other is actually a trainer and we just ran two races together but she has given me grief for how much I run. Then there are my parents who just think I am nuts. My dad was an athlete so his is mostly out of fatherly concern as he just had a total hip replacement and is still in need of a new knee which he is stubbornly putting off. He is just worried for me and does not want that in my future. When I mention another half marathon or more recently casually mentioned I am running a full in January he just laughs and says "Oh, Gianna". I don't think they will be making signs and showing up on the course any time soon! But I do think he is proud of the accomplishments. Recently when I explained that I had paced my half at an 8:38 pace I think there was a little bit of awe and appreciation in his voice, which made me happy. Because who doesn't look for parental approval?
Which brings me back to work. I love my job, and more importantly I love the people that I work with. On the weekends I get emails wishing me luck in my races and following up asking for results. During they week, they will stop by my desk and ask what my running is like for that day. Post race, good or bad, I am happy to have that support there when it is lacking from a lot of other sources. And of course who doesn't like to brag about a new PR to people who get how much work you put in to get it?