After almost three years in Texas I have found a Saturday morning running group that meets relatively close to where we live and runs through a nice area, with small-town charm, finishing at a sweet little coffee shop. Among these folks I can talk easily about various things that runners talk about without getting blank stares or being mistaken for a show-off. I am, after all, the slowest person out there each Saturday to run the four-mile loop, but I can converse knowledgeably about running gear, various races, and the pros and cons of pre-run breakfast choices. Runners don't care if you are fast or slow; they are a friendly and welcoming bunch. When we are standing around afterwards, sweating profusely, having covered the same pavement and been cheered in to the finish by those who arrived first, we have that much in common, and it's enough. I belong.
And yet, this past Saturday, after I finished, purchased my post-run iced-Chai latte, and pulled up a chair to join the group, I sat in a tiny island of isolation.