The Running Pianist is now back in full force with the upcoming New York City Marathon on November 6th!
I love running alone. I train alone and relish that time to shake out any dilemmas I may have in my life. A 3-hour run is a great time for problem solving, shaving off anxiety & stress, and having an outlet for any restless energy.
All of that being said, I also love the interactive aspect of the running community. It is close, it is supportive, and it is welcoming to all. I'm not talking about the elites and the pros, because that's a different world in many ways. I'm thinking of the amateur running community and the millions of people around the world who sign up and train for runs which are longer than they ever thought they could do.
Running, like music, is a core human activity for many people and to share that with others is a joy. I love training alone, but I love running special events and races with others who are pushing themselves just as I am. They are pushing themselves beyond their past selves, through their own problems, and with their own victories. It's a beautiful human experience to share in these pilgrimages of sorts, like running through the 5 boroughs of New York City for 26.2 miles.
I had a dear friend ask me why I like running big races with lots of people if I enjoy being alone so much. My answer was, "To be a part of something."
One of my favourite pre-race activities when milling about the start-line is to people watch. I try to guess at their path to get to the same place I am at that moment in time. Maybe they are brand new to running or are running for a cause. Maybe they have recovered from surgery or have pushed through addiction. Maybe running was their path to a new and changed life.
The beauty is that I never (or at least rarely) ask or need to know. The energy running a race together is shared and in that moment of time we are all together with a common goal which we will all tackle in our own ways, together.
As I look back on the photos of my dad running the NYC in 2000-2002, I can't help but think of the lives of those around him. I also think that I will be doing the same in just a few days with more than 50,000 strangers who are immediate friends as we race the same course to the same finish line through our own individual paths and experiences.
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Thanks for reading!