I was fiddling with my new Garmin, a few weeks back, waiting for the satellites to load, when a man I don't know said, "It's a little late for you today, isn't it? You usually run much earlier."
"Um, yeah. Well, I ran earlier, but now I'm doing my second run of the day. I'm doing heat training, so trying to run in the heat of the day." The watch was taking forever.
He bent down to scoop up dog waste, and said, "What? Second run? How much do you run?"
"Usually about an hour and a half to two hours. A lot of days more."
"That's crazy. And two runs?"
"What are you training for, a marathon?" (Ha!)
"I have a couple ultramarathons coming up. I'm running a 50k and a 100 miler."
"100 miles! That's crazy! No wonder I see you out here so much."
I was stunned. I had never seen this man in my life. I waved to him.
The next day, on my second run of the day, a guy said, "I always see you running. You never stop." Again, it was a man I never saw before.
Just like when our car driver to the airport in June recognized me.
They all know me by my running.
I see neighborhood: the new buildings, the lilac bushes on Oak Street, the cafe's proud proclamation of a new menu, how pretty the new park on North 6th looks at dusk, all the people from my health food store, the bartender at my favourite bar, the changed hours of the ice cream shop, the new classes at the yoga studio, the construction everywhere. I see people, yes, I see the woman who hoses her pristine front porch in her frilly nightgown, I see the old guy smoking cigarettes on my way to the ferry, I see the cowboy on my old block who always waves, I see my favourite Italian-American barber wave over trimming a man's hair, I see the staff from the local library. But I don't see everyone.
But they see me. And they recognize me for who I am: a runner. I guess it's a lot bigger than I realize.