So I wondered if there was a theory of the stages of becoming a runner. I was pleasantly surprised when I came across The Five Stages of a Runner from Galloway’s Book on Running, ©2002 by Jeff Galloway. Shelter Publications, Inc., Bolinas, Calif. Distributed in bookstores by Publishers Group West
This paragraph in the "beginner" section struck me hard:
"Your running may also be threatening to your less active friends. Eventually you — the beginner — and your non-running friends work it out. The transition period, however, can be unstable and uncomfortable for both. If you falter, the old world — comfortable in many ways — is waiting for you to slip back in. If you’re lucky enough to make new friends who share similar fitness goals, you’ll probably find refuge in the “fit” world while you gain your “running security.”This is something I am struggling with more than any of the physical challenges of running. When I'm making plans with non running friends, I'm making statements of "Monday's I can hang out after my evening run", "Wednesday's are off the table because of speed work", "Friday's I have to be home early", and many weekends are filled with the words "I have a race that weekend".
I know that there will be friends who will hear all of this and still work with me to schedule some shenanigans. The hard part is knowing I can't do everything that I want to. I need to do speed work tonight, I want to see my friends for karaoke. I have planned on going to karaoke late but I know in the back of my head it's all based on how I feel after speed work. It's hard for me to stay out late, because I know Thursday morning I am in the gym doing strength training.
In the second stage "the jogger" these items jumped out at me:
"At first you probably needed a group or at least another person for motivation and direction. As a jogger you are a bit more independent. You’ll prefer company to running alone, but you’ll pick and choose your group with care. Most beginners seek anonymity within a group while joggers often enjoy identification with a group."
"As a beginner you may have attended a few fun runs or an occasional race. Joggers, however, mark the local 10Ks on their calendars. These are motivational stepping stones to keep the daily runs on track. There will often be one major race in the jogger’s schedule, like the Bay to Breakers, Peachtree Road Race or the Corporate Challenge. Although you’re not running competitively or for time improvement, a sense of competition may begin to develop. By piecing together a growing series of successful and non-threatening running experiences, you begin the transition into a more fit lifestyle."My running family is growing and supporting me in many ways. Seeing running friends come to my show, knowing that several of them will listen to my dating woes, well... I look forward to seeing them week in and week out. I know they'll comment on my Facebook run-keeper updates, I know if I need to find a partner in crime to run with, that there will be several options. I value their new friendships.
This entire experience is changing who I am. Well, not so much who I am but it's allowing me to be the person I want to be. I want to be healthier. For me that means not drinking that often, eating out less or just having small plates. It also means that I am working hard physically and mentally, so when I've got a free calendar date, I'm excited to pile on ice packs and watch a movie in my apartment.
Yet in my head, the old Girl Scout camp song is in a constant round. "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." I'm having trouble holding onto every thing that is important and special to me. It hurts and there is a lot of grief and loss involved. I know my fitness and health is worth it. I know I am worth it. I just don't know how to navigate this, so I turn to writing about it. Because maybe someone else has gone through this too.