I went out for an easy five miler this evening. It was my first time out of my apartment and away from my laptop for more than 10 minutes. I needed that run after spending several hours trying to make progress on my dissertation and only have a few pages to show for it.
The run was good. Even better, as I ran near the local elementary school I heard a man call out, “Good luck on Sunday!”
Those four words snapped my attention away from the podcast playing on low volume through my earbuds (Slate’s Culture Gabfest). I had just a moment to yell back, “Thanks!”
I’m not sure he heard me as he drove in the opposite direction.
As I continued my run, I wondered how he could tell I was training for the LA Marathon. Maybe he had just seen signs about road closures a few miles north in Beverly Hills and the race was on his mind. I thought about how those four words were much better than January’s drive-by egging. I thought about identity (again, back to the dissertation) and how being recognized by others is part of identity development. I’ve labeled myself as a runner for a couple of years, but today a stranger saw me and figured I was running the marathon on Sunday. I wasn’t even wearing the traffic cone orange 2011 LA Marathon tech tee. I had plenty of time to over think those four words as I ran for another half hour.
My drive-by well-wisher probably just wanted to offer some encouragement.