The Kindness of Strangers

I will not.

I will not fall victim to COVID-15

“COVID-15, Bob? Aren’t you about 4 short?

I’m not talking about the virus. I’m talking about the 15 lbs people are talking about packing on during the quarantine.

Nope.

I’m not having it.

I don’t have to give up. I’m not gonna. Just because other people are praising the “sleeping in til the last minute, not wearing anything but yoga pants or sweatpants, free access to the fridge 24/7” lifestyle does not mean that I have to conform.

I Will Resist!

I WILL PERSIST!……

…..but I digress….

Because that’s not what this one is about. I’ve addressed the “my tips & tricks for healthy quarantining” already. I’m not going to go back there. That would be lazy.

Even lazier than I am, most of the time.

Nope, I’m going to talk about the kindness of strangers. And why you should be a kind stranger.

When I’m out running, I tend to smile at people, especially kids, or dogs, or other runners. I try to keep it subtle when it’s a woman runner, because me cracking a full-on smile can be kinda creepy.

Yes, I’m aware of it.

But I like being encouraging. If someone is out there working on themselves, I like to give them a little “yeah, I see you, putting some work in. You go get some”, or whatever my thoughts are at that moment. Because I like getting that kind of stuff as well. I was running my 2nd full marathon in San Diego in 2008. The week before, in my marvelously naïve judgement , I had decided that I would run a half marathon because, well, I was bored and it was there. My thought was “ I’ll just run slow and use it as a warmup”. And then on race day, several thousand other people decided that it was a race so I had to compete, right?

So, of course I was still sore on race morning for the full. And my legs went straight from sore to fatigued. There was no middle “this is cool, I’m having fun” part which usually lasts for at least a couple of miles. I was at mile 20, and I was done. I was dragging, hurting, doubting my stamina, toughness & sanity. Then, from the crowd; “You go Bob Tully!”.  A local running coach, who used to run the OC. Marathon, which my company sponsored for a number of years ( Thank you Coach Sumner!) How he even recognized me or picked me out of the crowd I’ll never know. But he, quite literally, got me through the rest of that race, with those 4 little words.

Encouragement.

Words can hurt. Words can heal.

I know, during a race some runners have that “I’m in the zone”, 1000 yard stare thing going on, like they’re in the Nam looking for Charley.  OK, fine , whatever gets you a new P.R. I guess. But I love when someone you don’t know gives you a high 5, or a thumbs up, or just the chin.

I really love the chin.

These days I notice more people are making eye contact, acknowledging their fellow person and giving some good old-fashioned positive reinforcement. I think it’s cool. I think it’s friendly. And I absolutely think it helps.

It’s not a race. Unless it’s a race, or you’re the young girl who ran the last half mile on the paved track right next to the dirt track I ran on 3 weeks ago at Peter’s Canyon. Total duel, like Hot Wheels on those dual tracks back in the day. I won’t say who won but he was the older of the two.

But I digress, again ( 2 in one blog. Bonus digression!!)

Be that person who provides the right word (or chin) at the right moment. You could be what convinces someone starting out that it’s worth it. Or even to someone like me, who’s been at it a while. You make my freaking day.

Be safe out there.

Talk Later,

Bob

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