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Present company excluded perhaps, they really are.

It’s now been just shy of six months since I began to run–five months since I ran more than a single mile without stopping. Last Saturday I ran 8, next Saturday I’m scheduled for 9, and this week I’ve gone out twice at the hottest part of the day for 5-mile training runs in the hilly, hilly park. We had a reprieve from the heat for a week or so, but we are now back to weather that has me grabbing my shortest shorts and an electrolyte tablet or two before heading out.

It would be easier and less disruptive to family time to run immediately after I drop Simon off at school. It would certainly be more comfortable then. But here’s the thing, tonight I arrived and chatted with a guy (Mike) who taught me how to cut corners to run the route as measured (I was adding distance by running on the outside of all curves). Then I chatted with Lindsay about girly stuff. Then Tony arrived and had tomatoes from his garden for me. Then Kishor arrived and had tea from a recent visit home to Mumbai for me. Then the store owner, Jeff, brought over a new shoe he thought I’d like to try (“It has just a little more padding under the ball of the foot than the Kinvara, and it’s runs narrow to hug that foot of yours.”)

Small things all of them, but I can’t help but feel like Princess for a day. Throw in Mike (a different Mike; there are three in all) and Kishor cheering me on when I hit the air conditioned store about 10-15 minutes behind them, and it is hard not to feel embraced by this group. This Saturday’s run has me intimidated; I’ve never gone nine 9 miles before. As the group is leaving at 6:00 a.m., I’m pretty tempted to sleep in and go on my own, as I normally do on Saturdays. But you know, I think having all these folks around me—well, mostly in front of me—is going give me the extra oomph I need to finish the last mile on Saturday.

I had hoped running would get me into shape when I started. I had no idea how much it would also add to my social life. To date, it’s been one of the nicest things I’ve ever done for myself.

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