Sunday, June 2, 2013

Running together

Running brings people together.  At least that's what I've found.  I've talked in a previous blog post about how running has led me to new friendships; but I also believe that running strengthens my existing friendships and relationships.

For the past week, I've been blessed by a visit from my wonderful parents (you can look for the family resemblance in the photo below).  Lucky for me, they're both runners.  I love being able to go for a run with them -- and especially to travel with one or both of them to destination races. 

Me and my dad before the Minneapolis Half Marathon
Me and my mom before the Walt Disney World 5K

For some reason, when you're running with someone, the walls that typically constrain conversations come tumbling down, and you're able to talk about things you normally wouldn't.  Maybe that's why so many runners' conversations involve descriptions of gastrointestinal problems.  Think about it: if you were talking with a friend in a cafe or grocery store aisle, and the words "bloody nipples," "peeing on the trail," or "inner thigh chafing" came up in the conversation, it would be pretty weird.  But no one will flinch if they come up in a conversation while running. 

And it's not just these cringe-worthy topics that come up while running; some conversations are deep and personal.  Because of this phenomenon, you can get to know someone and become close to them very quickly when you run together.  Being able to run with family members and friends is a blessing, because you can have these conversations and strengthen those bonds in a short time.  That's especially important when you don't see your loved ones in person too frequently.

Even though my parents have flown back home and I won't get to run with them again for a few months now, we'll still talk about runs and keep updating our shared training log online.  So, in a way, running is still bringing us closer together even though we're far apart.  Or, I should really say, God is using running as an instrument to bring us closer together.  And I'm very thankful for that.