I am an introvert . I don't think this is bad or something I need to work on. It is just who I am. I have a tendency to keep to myself. I am not very social, but I love my close friends like they are family. I'm usually not too interested in making new friends, or small talk with strangers. Although, I'll admit that sometimes people surprise me. When I make new friends it is always an instant connection. I either click with people or I don't. I'm not generally interested in socializing outside my close circle of friends, simply because the small talk makes me uncomfortable.
It is probably why I have a blog. I like to express myself in writing. Socializing online is easy. I sometimes can't believe the support I receive from lovely people online that I've never met. If you are reading this and you think I mean you, I probably do. My online friends are so supportive of the things I do here.
Probably because of my introvert personality, I never enjoyed team sports. I played softball as a child and hated it. I played tennis in high school and I think I excelled there because it is more of an individual sport. I liked playing singles. Running has always been the perfect sport for me. I didn't need a team. It was something I could do alone. It was something that I enjoyed doing alone.
Who wears loafers to play tennis? The 1990 version of me, apparently.
Joining a running group was the last thing I was interested in doing. That would require me to talk to strangers for long periods of time. When you are out there on the trails with a running group, there is nowhere to duck away, nowhere to escape, you are trapped in small talk hell. No, thank you.
I've always trained alone for my half marathons. But then I tried training for a full marathon on my own and it just didn't work out. There is something about mile 16 that I really started to dread. The runs were just so long and boring. I needed someone to talk to. I need a cheerleader and a support system. I needed someone to encourage me to keep going when my mind said no way. I decided that if I was ever going to be able to run a full marathon, maybe I needed to suck up this social thing and give a running group a try.
So for the last two Saturdays I have been running with a training group at Fort Worth Running Company . We are just beginning our training so the runs are still short distances. As our pace group ran together, the coach would talk through running techniques, or tips on clothing and energy fuel, but the conversation amongst the other runners was pretty quiet. Then the strangest thing happened. I found I was the one who was reaching out and initiating conversations with my fellow runners. This is not like me (at all). But there is something natural and easy about talking to other runners. We all have this love in common, we all have this same goal of running a marathon, and this pull to the pavement. I realized almost instantly that all my social fears were unfounded. I should have known. Runners you don't know aren't strangers. Runners are just friends you haven't met yet.