Date: April 16, 2016, my first time running with a dog escort!
Last Tuesday evening, as I was heading over to the Eaton's Centre for Nike Run Club's speed run, I thought I saw a tall, dark, handsome stranger pass me by. But what's great was that although this man was indeed tall, dark (from soaking up the weekend rays on the run) and handsome (mmhm!), he wasn't a stranger at all! In fact, Dave Emilio and I have not been strangers since we ran together just over 2 months ago. (Sorry for taking this long to write about our run Dave!)
|The only thing missing from this post-run selfie is Dave's dog, Prefontaine!|
I had reached out to Dave back in late March, because he had written an enthusiastic comment on a post that Jean-Paul Bedard had shared about us running together. I was so excited that another person would be interested in this idea of running with strangers! We finally met a few weeks later, on the morning where I had planned 2 back-to-back runs (with the previous one being with Melly). We planned to run along the Beaches of downtown Toronto where I had never ran before. It was sunny with a light breeze, and Dave brought along his dog, Prefontaine. I've never run with a dog before! What more could a girl ask for?! Dave suggested that we run along his "Peanut route" that will give me the 8K that I wanted that day. I appreciated how flat our route was, since I had my fill of hills from earlier that morning. We headed off on our run around 9:30am and I could tell that the Beaches was starting to wake up, as we encountered other fellow runners and walkers.
As someone who started out running and training solely on her own, I'm still getting used to the dynamics of running with groups and others in general. Dave also enjoys running on his own. In fact, he loves to run so much that he calls it his addiction. From the sounds of his running experiences and the different hats he wears in the local running community, he’s been able to turn this addiction into a purposeful passion. He's the original Beaches Runner, president of the Toronto Beaches Runners Club, and a coach at Adaptive Running Academy. Dave runs with a lot of people already. Why did he want to run with me? That exact question didn't come up, but I think he and I both crave the same thing as runners. Making connections with others who share our passion and being a part of a community.
Even though this project of mine involves a numeric goal, it's not driven by how many runners I meet. If that was the case, I'd be stopping every runner I see! Imagine that! Me, stopping mid-run to run alongside another runner, introducing myself and asking if I can continue to run and chat with them. Not creepy at all, right? But no, I've decided to do one-on-one meet ups, and write about them afterwards. (I'll admit that the writing part has been very slow though. Running is much easier!) I want to know others' running stories, how running came into their lives and how we're connected. This project is my way of meeting runners, getting to know runners whom I'm likely already connected with, and getting to know what being a part of the running community is all about. My definition of community isn't based on geographical location, age, ethnicity, social economic status or running experience. It's about making meaningful connections! Dave reached out to me and I reached back! Sometimes making a connection can be that simple.
|Someone walking their dog along a quiet section of the Beaches boardwalk. Taken post run.|
Dave definitely knows a lot more about running than me but he didn't make me feel intimidated by this. Learning about how he gives back to the running community through the BRC and as a coach made me think about how I can do my part in giving back to the sport as well. In fact, I later saw Dave share a friend’s request for volunteers at a water station at the Goodlife Toronto Marathon and I ended up volunteering for a race for the first time! I definitely think that every runner should volunteer for a race sometime, even if only to experience what it’s like to be on the other side of the paper cups.
Of course, the topic of our next races came up. At the time of our run, Dave was training for the Goodlife Toronto Marathon and I was going to run the Ottawa Half Marathon. I confessed that I had yet to run the full marathon distance and I still can't imagine myself running for that long any time soon. I love the half marathon distance but part of me thinks that I may be "too comfortable" with this distance and need to push myself to go further. To my surprise, Dave told me to take my time. Better to run it when I feel mentally and physically ready for it, because the marathon will always be there. The marathon will wait for me. I like the sound of that!
Sure, the marathon will wait for me. But you know what won't wait for you? Registration for the Beaches Jazz Run! This year the Beaches Runners Club are the race directors behind the Beaches Jazz Run (which offers time chipped 5K, 10K and half marathon) happening on Sunday July 24th! Sign up for this fun summer race now! Dave will be there!!