Running through downtown Harrisburg at a consistent time I start recognizing faces. The same people pass by me day after day as I slog along. Since I've only been back at running for a few months, I want what they have and they inspire me to keep pushing. These people are also part of my support system. I'm sure in March I was just the next fat kid trying to start a running regimen. I'm sure the leathery white haired man had seen literally hundreds of them briefly appear along his route every spring. He probably thought of them as fat butterflies.
Did you notice the subtle pronoun shift there? "them" not "us." A wonderful subtle thing has begun to occur with regularity. The familiar but stoic faces I see move past have begun to smile. Occasionally they wave and in very rare moments, they offer brief words of encouragement that to me are worth more than gold. I am now one of them. They know it and they have let me know it. I'm in the club... I AM A RUNNER!
Post script: I excitedly told my dear wife about this this past weekend. She was happy for me but clearly didn't get why I was so excited. Monday as we ran along the Susquehanna River, a guy paused while running past "Good job you two! Keep going!" My wife was beaming. She gets it now...she's a runner too.