I haven’t been running much lately because I go to two aerial classes a day six days a week most weeks, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a long time you’ll know that last fall I was running generally five days a week. And because I’m too lazy to drive somewhere to run, I typically ran along more or less the same route (adjusted for distance).
There are a few people that I got used to seeing on a semi-regular basis, but there was one in particular that I really remembered – partly because he liked to run on the street despite the fact that there was a perfectly good sidewalk right next to him, but mostly because it seemed like I saw him nearly every run in more or less exactly the same spot, give or take a couple hundred yards.
After a few days or weeks of this, I think we both started to recognize each other because when we passed he would smile and/or wave, and I’d smile and/or wave back. Eventually I grew emotionally attached to him in a weird way; the way that runners support each other in passing is one of my favorite things about running, and getting a smile or a wave felt like encouragement that helped me through my runs, no matter how much I was struggling. So, I started thinking of him as my running buddy.
Since I stopped running, I’ll still see him every once in a while – though generally from my car – and feel guilty about how infrequently I’ve been getting out on my feet. And occasionally I’d thought that I’d like to actually meet/talk to him, but since neither of us want to interrupt our runs and I’d never seen him anywhere else I figured it would never happen. Or so I thought.