I went this afternoon to pick up my packet at the sponsoring running store. The race is pretty dang early tomorrow but I thought it would be worth it to get over there and maybe look at some of the gear. Usually running stores offer some kind of deal for racers..
But when I got there, I was immediately annoyed. First of all, it was hard to find parking. Then, I could hardly get in the door. Soo many people packed in this little tiny store. I didn't even think this was a very big race. Seriously, when did running become so popular? Why did all these other people have to sign up and make it crowded when I'm just trying to pick up my packet and maybe check out the sale rack?
Once upon a time, people automatically thought you were awesome if you could run longer than a mile straight. Now it seems like every other person has run at least a 5k. And every third person has run a half marathon. (I'm exaggerating a little bit. Maybe.) But the more runners there are, the less unique it is to run, right? Or the number of runners in the world is inversely proportional to the coolness factor of running (for those math geeks out there). Sometimes, honestly, especially when I'm in a crowded little running store like today, I feel like this:
I think that it's a similar feeling that people get with teams and "fair-weather" fans. Lots of people are running right now because it's very trendy. I've been running since 2002, so I've always liked to think that I was a runner before it became cool. But I actually found out recently that apparently that's not true.
I started the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and this was in the opening chapter:
"Three times, America has seen distance-running skyrocket, and it's always in the midst of a national crisis. The first boom came during the Great Depression, when more than two hundred runners set the trend by racing forty miles a day across the country in the Great American Footrace. Running then went dormant, only to catch fire again in the early '70s, when we were struggling to recover from Vietnam, the Cold War, race riots, a criminal president, and the murders of three beloved leaders. And the third distance boom? One year after the September 11 attacks, trail-running suddenly became the fastest-growing outdoor sport in the country."
I thought this was super-interesting. I think you could argue that there's another running boom going on now with the recession too. But if you'll notice, one year after the September 11th attacks would be fall of 2002.. which is actually exactly when I first joined my high school freshmen Cross Country team.
|Me with my best friend at the starting line in high school.|
So I guess that makes me, according to the books, a "fair-weather runner" after all. And actually among my other cross country friends, I know some of them that started in middle school (my hubby being one of them actually). So compared to them, I actually started kind of late. And honestly, I do most of the time love it that running is so popular right now. It means that there is a big demand for good running gear, which means that they are putting even more research into it and making everything better. And it's so awesome that people are being healthy and there's more people to talk to about geeky running stuff. More people at races to cheer you on. More running clubs with awesome people to run with. And I'm absolutely thrilled when a friend of mine starts running. I might not be thrilled when he/she then beats me, but that's another issue..
Have any long-time runners ever felt like this? Any new runners that have run into occasionally stuck-up hipster runners like me?