Reach Out

One of the reasons I love running is that it can be done almost anywhere. Beach vacation? Technically, you don’t even need shoes. Stuck in a dive motel on business? There’s bound to be a treadmill or safe place to run nearby. Even the Chilean Miner found a way to get his run in every day!  However, while running is a portable sport, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every run will be bliss filled and fulfilling.  At times, runs are just plain hard due to head traffic, road traffic, body conditions, weather, or all of the above.  Like everything in life, sometimes runs just feel “off.”

I had one of those runs the other day as I headed out to an 11 degree Wisconsin morning. Nearly completely frozen after about a mile, I regretted a few things:  Not choosing Bikram Yoga and its 105 degree studio over this run, not wearing an extra layer, not owning a face mask, living in Wisconsin, and really, just being a runner. My spiral of regret was a study in short-term thinking.  At that moment, I felt doomed. I didn’t believe that I’d ever be warm or comfortable again.  The logical, long-term part of my brain was frozen. I was consumed by the cold and wind and gloom that surrounded me until I glanced ahead and saw another runner approaching me.

As he got closer, I saw he was wearing the face mask I wished I had.  Though I couldn’t see his mouth, I could tell by his eyes that he was surprisingly jolly for this blistery day. In a booming voice, he yelled, “Hey, we’re nuts, aren’t we?” Then he high-fived me and continued on.

Then miraculously, my run took a turn for the better because his positive energy cracked my cloud of doom. Sure, I was still cold and still pretty worried that my toes would require amputation when I got home, but that small gesture from a perfect stranger made all the difference.

Here’s the deal. As we run about in our daily lives, chances are we are passing many people who are truly having  “really bad runs.”  Sometimes we can see it on their faces from a mile away, other times we need to slow down and get real close so we can notice subtle signs that these people need a smile, a high-five, or more.

Whether you’re running, walking, or perfectly still, never take your eyes off the path or the people that are right in front of you. You never know the impact you have on the people you pass.


runnerchica extra:

For all of you who have or know teens, and sometimes don’t understand how to address what’s going on in their “runs”-go to In this case, one click could make all the difference.


copyright 2011 by abbey algiers