Thursday, August 11

Thursday thanks

This week I am thankful for the San Diego Running Meetup (SDR, for short). Or, more precisely, I am thankful to be a part of an amazing, inspiring, encouraging group of runners. When I leave San Diego at the end of a work trip, it is the SDR running community that I miss the most. (Yes. I miss SDR even more than I miss chile relleno burritos and picture-perfect weather.)

True story: When hubby (then new boyfriend) asked me to go out for a run with SDR more than three years ago, I worried that I would not be fast enough to keep pace with the speedy folk. I had ten solid years of running under my belt at that point, but still felt nervous like it was my first day of junior high. I was afraid I'd be the odd-runner-out, and I would be ridiculed behind my back. I felt vaguely ill imagining the outcome.

I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried.

What I know now is that new SDR runners are treated like old friends. And old friends are treated like family.

These days, with my relocation to Florida, I only have the opportunity to run with SDR every other month. But when I'm there, it's as if I've only been away a few days, not a few weeks.

This past week was a perfect reminder of how thankful I am to be able to maintain that connection. I ran four out of the six days I was in San Diego, sneaking two solo runs in before work, and arranging my schedule to make time for two SDR runs. The two SDR runs included a birthday 50-miler and a retirement run and potluck for two people with whom I've covered hundreds of miles. Dozens of people who showed up to give well-wishes to the birthday girl and the retirement boy.

The retirement run was a five-miler through the hiking trails in Balboa Park (one of my personal favorite places to run). The turn-around point of the out-and-back course is a sprint up a steep and dusty hill. The faster runners crest the hill and turn to cheer on the runners who are still on their way up. The slowest runner winds up with the loudest cheering section and dozens of high-fives. Some days I've been the cheering section. Some days I've needed the cheering. Both feel pretty great.

There is an unspoken code of ethics that makes SDR such a strong group:
  1. Every major milestone and PR will be celebrated as though the runner just qualified for Boston.
  2. Put-downs will not be tolerated.
  3. Everyone is warmly welcomed, as long as they respect 1 and 2 above.
I keep looking, and while I've found people to run with here in Florida, I haven't found a group that compares.

Do you run with a group? If so, what do you love about your running group?

Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief

1 comment:

  1. I still remember when I first started running and this Balboa Park run was the first SDR run I did. I turned myself "inside out" to keep up with you girls for the 3 miles run! All the while you were "yappin' away" talking about this and that to your fellow runners, I was behind you trying to keep composure- actually, no, I was trying to KEEP MY LUNCH! SDR is the best free group in the land, but we need to remember it's people like YOU that laid the foundation for making it great. You are very loved, Beth, and your contribution and dedication to our group is what makes it awesome.


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