As runners, we work hard. We set goals, we go out, and we achieve them. We learn to detect, assess, and take care of every ache and pain. We grow to respect our bodies and treat them like temples, because we are constantly surprised by how far we can be pushed. Our minds drive our legs to lengths unimaginable. We work hard.
I am now training for my first marathon. I'm just 5 and a half weeks away from stepping up to the starting line of the Tel Aviv Marathon. To my somewhat disadvantage, I find myself training alone because none of my friends are "crazy" enough to do this with me (I do not think myself to be crazy, rather goal-oriented and bored of half marathons), and because I find that my work schedule is not conducive of joining a running group. So, I run solo. I have come to appreciate each and every mile marker on my long run route - each long run making it a little further out before heading back. Last week, I ran 16 miles. Though I struggled at first, after around 4 miles I loosened up, got into the podcast I was listening to, and began to appreciate the run. I was almost disappointed when I hit the turn around mark, feeling like I could maybe go further.
As I hit the 10k to home mark, clapping my hands to myself to pump my adrenaline (a game I learned from my dad while running, and it really does work), I was really feeling great. I was in a bit less populated area of the park on a Saturday afternoon, though the weather was fantastic and there were plenty of people out. Suddenly, to my extreme surprise, I received two slaps to the ass. I was stunned. I looked up to see a group of four teenagers on electric scooters swooshing by, looking back, and laughing. My first reaction was to scream out F you A-holes. No heads turned. My next reaction surprised me, because I am a generally pretty strong person. I was choking back tears of anger. That mile was the fastest split on my run that day, because I was just so damn angry.
Later, I had time to contemplate why I was so angered by this moronic group of teenagers. Yes, I felt as though I had been harassed in a sense. But the reason, I believe, that I felt so extremely violated is because like I said, I, as a runner, work hard. I work hard and respect my body. I spend time assessing, caring for, and pushing my body and mind to new limits. So, when someone came along and showed zero respect for my body, it quite literally brought me to tears.
By the end of my run, I was saying "screw them". I had pushed myself to run farther than I ever had before in my life. I regained my immense respect for my body. Granted, I lost a lot of respect for the teenagers of today, but I gained a new respect for myself and for the running community.