I can usually tell when I walk into a runner’s house. There’s always some indicator. Sometimes, it’s glaringly obvious … a pile of shoes, each pair having seen some action very recently. Or other signs … various forms of moisture wicking gear strewn about or drying on a door knob, race bibs sitting on the end table from last week’s event, etc.
And sometimes it’s not visual, but you can just feel that you’re among your clan. It’s more of a feeling that suggests there is something far more responsible for the energy of the place than anything else. You don’t get that feeling when you walk into a baker’s house (not that they throw of an offensive vibe … quite the contrary), or a seamstress’ house (what’s the gender neutral term for seamstress, aside from tailor?), or a gardener’s house. But I feel it when I walk into a runner’s house. It’s an indication that the other things can wait. That they have waited. The “itch” that suggests this homeowner has some miles to complete at any given time.
To the casual, non-running observer, it may seem something out of balance that suggests priorities askew. But to me, it confirms that this is a place I can hang … and that these people could hang with me. In my house, the obvious indicators include that pile of shoes, contributed to by each member of the household (one of them throws heavy objects more than she runs, but she does it in very close proximity to the track), this morning’s gear hanging on the door and drying on the radiator, and balls of newspaper pulled from within a pair of shoes that took on a bunch of glorious puddles.
And, in my house, running takes priority over the everyday cleaning and straightening that might show up in “normal” homes. I’d rather find time later in the day to load the dishwasher and sort the mail. Or vacuum. Or dust. Right now, I’ve got some miles to run.
For me, what strikes me most about noticing these noticeables upon entering a runner’s house is the fact that I feel the balance that results from their practice. And it’s a comfortable balance to sense.
Marianne and I are in the process of reinventing our living room. The reinvention started when our house became cat free and we realized that we could replace the couch they had destroyed. With a nod to The Weavers, who inspired us with the realization that you really could still expect visitors after making bold choices, we designed the reinvention around a fabulous red leather couch that will take another 3 months to arrive. But it’s a mighty fine piece. In the meantime, we’ve been snagging up the deals as they speak to us and are two chairs closer to the completion of the project. The rest remains a vision quest of sorts to include a sofa table and two lamps.
Last night, as I unrolled the rug we had purchased, I allowed myself to revel in the moment. This is the finest this rug will ever look. I lay across it and just looked at how it worked with the plan. Soon, it’ll accumulate the loss of priorities as it receives the traffic of two large and long haired dogs and the impact of countless sweaty post-run stretch sessions. And, as good as it feels to color the floor and actually pay attention to how it all comes together, I know that, before too long, it just won’t matter so much. Not as much as tomorrow’s workout and this week’s mileage.
And plenty of people will feel as comfortable as I do when they walk through the front door and not notice. These are the people who sit well with me.