I was so happy for Meb on Monday. I was onsite at a client, meeting with another attorney, and I had the race streaming. When it came down to the last few seconds, I turned my screen so we could all watch history happen. It was fun to share the moment with someone who'd never watched a marathon before. He was surprised, "they are that close at the end of 26.2 miles?" and "he's running how fast at how old?"
I've spent the last few days in a glow. I bought Meb's audiobook Running to Overcome, and I'm enjoying learning more about this man who I already admired so much. I read all the press I could get my hands on and was so proud of the American men for working as a team (great coverage here).
Today, I received the second email from a running friend regarding pulling together a team of women to do a Ragnar relay. I'm very interested and I think I'd like to join. I hope it works out.
After replying, I realized, wow, I'm totally excited about this event that includes a group of women, most of whom I've never met, and no men.
This is not normal for me. I'm generally apprehensive about social interactions with groups of women. One on one, I feel completely comfortable. But 2 or more and I get concerned. I actively dread baby showers and bridal showers. I go to them and I'm usually glad that I did, but they require so much effort for me. If I relax and just act like my normal self, I generally end up offending someone. Obviously, that's not what I want to do. So, I have to spend a bunch of extra effort reminding myself of things, like, "take the time to notice 4 things and compliment them as being cute, stylish, interesting, etc." And, "Just because this person is talking about this topic doesn't mean that they actually want to know your opinion on it. WAIT to see if they pause or ask for your input, don't just assume they are interested in what you have to say." And, hardest of all, "Nod. Smile. Pay Attention. Listen!" I have a very bad habit of tuning out stuff that I don't find interesting. And, unfortunately, many of the standard topics of conversation when groups of women get together are not that interesting to me.
So, when I realized I was actually excited about Ragnar, even though it contained a bunch of women I'd never met, a light went on in my head. Duh! I have a history of doing sports with other women, and it has never been scary or awkward. With sports, we all have a shared physical goal and we hang out together while trying to accomplish it. I can be myself and focus and tune out and there's very little danger of my actions being interpreted as rude.
It's always amazing to me when, as an adult, you realize something for the first time that has been true about yourself since childhood.
I've categorically told myself that I don't feel totally comfortable in all female groups. But that's not true at all. I feel perfectly comfortable in all female groups when the reason we're gathering is athletics. I've felt comfortable on gymnastics teams, soccer teams, diving teams, swim teams, drill team, and a cheerleading team. These days, I *love* running with female companions, whether close friends or new acquaintances. And I always look forward to going to the track group.
So there you have it. Yet another reason running is great. It helps me compensate for my social awkwardness.