OK, well it probably has to something to do with the area I live in (running is HUGE here!), & my age bracket (30 something to 40 something! ;-) ), both of which rank higher-than-average on the "marathoning" demographics chart.
But going a bit deeper, I think I know why there are so many runners & marathoners in this area. And that reason has everything to do with the immense amount of brainpower congregated in this little swampy patch of the universe, otherwise commonly known as the Greater Washington DC area. ;-)
Of course the connection is that we runners are a fairly cerebral & contemplative bunch, & well, DC is full of thinkers -- think tanks, lawyers, politicians, technical & policy writers, news & political correspondents, etc. From the vantage point of a person who's lived in this area for over 15 years, it's not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, but it does possibly explain the reason behind the large concentration of runners in this area. And likewise, it also explains why there are so many running clubs per square mile in this region of the country, & also why the MCRRC is one of the largest running clubs in the nation.
Chances are, that if you threw a Garmin Forerunner up in the air anywhere in the Greater Washington DC area, there'd probably be a runner standing somewhere nearby to dash off in time to catch it, so it wouldn't hit the ground & break into 50 million pieces. Now I've never dropped a Garmin before (I'm saying this with my fingers crossed), but I'm not about to test that theory either. ;-)
This area is "analysis heaven." And when those DC thinkers need to blow off steam & get the thinking-machine juices running again, they do what so many other DC area people do -- They go out for a run!
Not so surprising really, when you come to think about it. The body moves the mind, & vice versa.
I wonder if anyone else has blogged about this correlation? The link between the prevalence of runners in the DC-MD-VA area & the braintrust that exists here?
What if someone were to poll the runners in this area by job title? I'd like to see the results of that poll! Wouldn't you?! I bet the results would be fascinating. In all likelihood, I bet someone's already done it.....
But as to why I notice so many people training for marathons, it's most likely because I'm training for one myself, so the radar's a little bit more sensitive. I'm highly attuned. My ears perk up when I hear the word "running" or "marathon," & then I just have to engage that person in a conversation to find out what race they're training for, what they thought of the last race they ran, or what their opinion is of running-related product X or Y, . ;-)
By now, I'm sure that my non-running friends & family are probably sick-to-death of hearing me go on & on about "my favorite topics" -- running, marathon training, working out, nutrition, etc. ("Yep, there she goes again!" ;-) ), but for those of us who run & are passionate about the sport, it's certainly a conversation-starter.
And it's the reason why complete strangers have been known to talk to each other at road races & even on the trail. ;-) It just gives people that natural connecting point. A comfortable commonality. And because I live in a city, it also usually removes the "freak factor" that typical jaded city dwellers usually associate with people who strike up friendly conversations with absolute strangers. (I bet many of you are probably picturing insane drunks talking to themselves & others on the subway at 2 am, right?! ;-) )
And while I certainly understand the reasoning behind the "Don't talk to strangers" premise for children, I generally disregard it as an adult. I'm not one of those "typical jaded city dwellers," & probably never will be, despite the fact that I do live in a city. It's just not in my nature. Plus, I've found that you don't typically get very far in this world if you only stick to what & whom you know. Of course, I'm not talking about doing something rash or stupid, but when you own your own business, by the very definition of entrepreneurship, you've got to put yourself out there. There is no "hiding" when you are the face of your business. That's for sure!
And so of course, that means that I'm constantly meeting new people through my business & various networking outlets.
And the same goes for the running. While I don't typically consider myself a "joiner" -- I'm not a big fan of the initial awkwardness or the seemingly temporary & somewhat superficial nature of certain social connections which can be commonly associated with joining activity groups -- I am really happy that I joined the MCRRC.
And it's not just so I can endlessly discuss marathon training with other like-minded people, OK?! ;-)
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the quality of human beings I've met through this organization & through the running community at large. I've found a lot of people with whom I genuinely connect. It feels like home; I'm truly happy to find some people who "get" me & of course, love the sport of running as much as I do.
Maybe some of you are nodding your head right now, because you completely understand & feel the exact same way. And then perhaps others of you are possibly perplexed by this statement. I have no idea. Maybe you'll comment on this blog post & let me know. ;-)
But seriously, I think that I've just hit on one of the core reasons that I'm currently living on "Marathon Planet." It's not just about seeing what I can accomplish. I'm trying to find meaning and meaningful human connections through running & the marathon/marathon training experience. And of course, let's not forget the fun aspect either!
And while most days I might train alone or with Erik, I'm very much looking forward to the time when I'll become part of that larger human experience of running in a marathon. I can't wait to feel that awesome overwhelming emotion of being surrounded by swelling masses of humanity all lined up at the starting line..... I want to know what that whole marathon experience feels like. I can't wait to experience it.
Of course, it's something that I can only guess at or imagine -- the reel of the opening race sequences of "Spirit of the Marathon" are playing in my head! -- mostly because I've yet to run one. But from what I hear from my friends who've already done one, it's such a surreal & almost indescribable experience.
2010 Shamrock Marathon, here I come!