I don’t mind being alone. As a child I preferred it.
I’m doing a half marathon relay on Sunday. Monday I walked and ran the route. It’s a great course (a lovely mix of quiet residential streets, horse farms and and it even cuts through a state park). I did it on a beautiful day, and about halfway through, I started to wonder which I’ll have enjoyed more, my training session which I did alone, or the race, which I’ll do with a crowd.
The friend that I’m doing the relay with (she does the first lap, I do the second) is the opposite. She prefers to be with a crowd (hence, her doing the first lap). Not only is she faster than me, but she’s competitive. She actually cares what everyone else is doing. Me? Not so much. She takes group spinning classes, I get annoyed if I’m not the only person in the gym.
During my training session I slowed down a lot….to admire red-winged blackbirds, a groundhog joyously rolling around in the grass, and the fox who was kind enough to provide a jolt of adrenaline when he scared the crap out of me by jumping out of the woods less than twenty feet ahead of me. Since I was alone, I stopped to inhale the scent of blooming trees and snag honeysuckle blossoms off the vine. I’m guessing I won’t be doing any of those things on Sunday.
Which isn’t to say that I’ll have a bad time on Sunday. It’ll be a different experience than I’ve had before. There’s a sense of camraderie and energy that can be found at the start of a race that can’t be replicated during my solitary treks. The course will be marked (please, please let all the markers stay in place until I’ve finished…I don’t want to do another chipped event where I wander off course) and with any luck, they’ll have a lane of a certain section of road closed and I’ll get to climb the wicked hill on a paved surface instead of the ankle-rolling gravel and sediment, I’ve always had to use in the interest of not getting run over.
So what about you? Are you a loner? Or do you thrive on companionship? What do you like to do alone and what do you prefer to do with others?