I love reading – books, magazine, blogs…you name it!
For the longest time I only read physical books and magazines and hadn’t yet experienced e-reading. But this all changed when my mother-in-law (aka one of the most thoughtful gift givers I’ve ever known) gave me a Kindle for Christmas this past year. This wonderful lightweight baby comes on all my business trips now. I love having the ability to download a new book as soon as I finish the last. It’s really convenient for my many work related travels, and this Kindle has already seen it’s fair share of hotel rooms, restaurants, airplanes and buses. A great travel companion.
However, I’m currently reading a good ol’ hardcover book (another Christmas present, but from my Momma – another thoughtful gifter). There’s something I really enjoy about cracking open a book. I love feeling the spine crack for the first time before delving into its pages…and I love the smell of books. You know the scent you’re greeted with when you enter a library? It’s reminiscent of my childhood days in the local library, and also of skipping select days of high school to hangout at Barnes & Noble with my best friend (I know…we were skipping school to read more books…the irony isn’t lost on me).
This week’s read is Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong. I’m only a quarter of the way through the book and I’m already recommending it to friends and family alike. There’s something so special about a woman’s relationships with her girlfriends, and Armstrong explores this topic beautifully in relation to running. One of my favorite passages thus far (yes, I annotate my “fun” books…dork alert) comes fairly early in the book.
Armstrong writes in reference to her time on the Today show:
“The point that I brought up on the show […] was that every single one of us makes time for what is mandatory. The problem lies in thinking that friendship is a luxury, when instead it is essential for optimal health and happiness in all areas of life. This is precisely why I meet my friends at 5 a.m. to run: because if it got shuffled to later in the day, it might get swallowed by other demands, and I cannot risk that. I have to make that time. It is mandatory for me.”
This passage resonates deeply with me. The past three(ish) years Hubs and I have been living in the Midwest, transplanted from our native east coast roots. We’ve made a small group of friends who I cherish dearly, but it’s a testosterone filled group. I had one close girlfriend, but a much needed job change relocated her farther north and I’m back at square one. I’m eternally grateful for my best friends and our relationships we maintain through phone calls, text messages, email, Facebook posts and in-person visits time (and money) permitting, but I still yearn for a female running buddy. There’s something about in-person contact that I’m really missing.
During high school I could sit in a coffee shop for hours with my best friends and talk about everything possible for hours on end. Together we supported each other through AP classes, college searches, relationship highs and lows, family stresses, sports and so much more. All the time communing together in person gave us a strong foundation…so much so that we continue our close friendships to this day spanning all the U.S. time zones and more than 5 states. I would be lost without these women in my life.
So, with Armstrong’s insight in mind I plan to renew my search for a local running club. I know my running will benefit from group outings, but what I’m truly looking for is a connection with other women. As Armstrong said, I have to make my friendships mandatory. No more excuses Kate…time to get your running butt out there, overcome any anxieties about joining a running club and cultivate meaningful female relationships.
In the words of Armstrong:
“How lucky are we then, to run with our friends? For runners, running is mandatory. It keeps us healthy; it keeps us sane. We are simply going to run; no matter what, we will make time for running. Our friends feel the same way – so we are doing something we are ultimately going to do anyway, but we have the pleasure and the good fortune to be able to do it together.”
I’m loving this book for offering this simple reminder and inspiration. Onward!