Asking For Help . . .

There are six times/instances when I'll ask another person (note I'm setting aside the innumerable instances where I will ask G-d, Jobu, and the Internet) for help:

  1. When I'm the wrong size for something (too tall, too short, too big, too small, too ham-handed, too whatever).
  2. When I am without the proper resources or skills to fix something in a timely way (I can learn how to reroute electrical wiring and risk burning down our house or I can hire someone who's been doing it for years. I can also ask the wait staff what they would suggest at a restaurant when my mind can't make itself up).
  3. When I'm incapacitated (go back to my drinking days or immediately following a surgical procedure, trying to lift something too heavy for just me, etc.).
  4. When I'm trying to make a point (expertise, and/or to showcase someone else in positive (or negative) ways).
  5. When I'm feeling lazy (will you please bring me another glass of diet soda?)
  6. When I am truly desperate (when I was unemployed is a great example).
Did you see "while running" as a time when I need and/or would ask for help? Nope. I didn't either. And yet - there it is - almost every time I hit the asphalt (during daylight . . . pro tip - if you run as early as I typically do (5:15 AM-ish start time) you see far fewer runners and the ones you do see are equally disinterested in the communal aspects of being winded and dripping sweat in public). And it comes and goes in weird ways. 

It is typically the "Good job." or the "Keep it up." (as they whiz by you like there is an actual building actually on fire) or the "You can do it." I get that. Sorta. I feel like they give the same toss aways to all runners no matter the pace they are moving. That is fine.

Here is what is not "fine" . . . offering me actual HELP! What do I mean? Some ACTUAL quotes:
  • "Hey, man. Do you want me to slow down and run with you for a while?
  • "You're doing great. Just think about the finish line as a motivator."
  • "We all have to start but it gets better and easier - if you stick with it."
And don't even get me started with the offers of high fives and the hands on my shoulders and the big smiles. You friggin' runners are the WORST!

Now I know what you are asking . . . "Why do you pay to join a running group? Why participate?" Simple: They send me a running schedule and they are available when/if I need something (see above scenarios, although none of them are coming to help me move a couch). That is IT. The ONLY reasons I'm in ANY way associated with group running. 

Yet there are dozens of other "perks" available . . . like an actual coach - assigned to me based on running speed. Oh and she is a coach for the ages. Inspirational posts on the Facebook page? Daily. All-spandex and runner-gear everything? Wouldn't dress in more. T-shirts that (allegedly) inspire? Totes McGoats. And she's out there . . . every Saturday. Just lurking in ways that, if she were a middle aged man near a playground would get her locked up. I swear to Jobu that she was literally leaning against a telephone pole last Saturday . . . barking out inspiration to all who didn't have their iPods turned up loud enough to drown her out.

I get it, I get it. She means well. Yeah, yeah . . . they ALL do. 

But here's what she and the rest don't understand. I've got three 5Ks, a 10k, a quarter marathon and LIKELY two half marathons on the calendar between today and January 1, 2016. And I've got six 5Ks, two half marathons, and nearly 900 miles between my first run two years(ish) ago and today (including three SOLID miles this morning). 

I've never asked ANY one to help me - mid-run (full disclosure, I'm considering hiring a coach (who gets "me" and who I think can help without chafing my every cell) to help me with a few issues I'm having). Never. I'm not out there to become an elite athlete. I'm not looking to "win" or even impress anyone along the way. I don't want to be part of the pack in the middle. I don't want to be part of a group. I don't want to belong to a training team with a crafty name (the group I am assigned to is going by "WTF" - as in "Where's the Finish?" Ha! Get it? That is hilarious, right? No? Are you sure?). I just want to be left the f*ck alone for the 22 - 210 minutes I run at any given time. I want my music, my watch, my feet hitting the ground and the environmental cues of traffic, birds, et al to be the only noise I hear. I want sweat, a gentle breeze, and maybe some light rain to be the only things that touch me. I want that next light post or intersection or mile marker to be my motivators.

My "coach" will have you believe I need her. She told me as much - I declined her support once last weekend so she persisted that she was an official coach so I should welcome her official advice and support. I declined again. Far more angrily. 

But here is what she won't know because she's too busy offering me support to ask any questions that might be relevant. I am getting stronger as a runner. I'm focused on pace (after an unacceptable finish time at the spring half marathon) and I'm on target to meet my pace goals in the October Prairie Fire Marathon. I finished my five miles on Saturday faster than planned (and I set an aggressive goal) and I am improving day by day.

I have a goal for October. I'm going to make it. On my own. In every sense of the word. I would tell my "coach" this but I'm truly terrified that she'd be happy for me and wish to help me make it real.