Friday, February 13, 2009

A Face to Face Conversation

For the past two evenings I've taken a sabbatical from any on-line activity. Now granted, this means only a few hours from after dinner until bed-time; but this is usually when I hunker down with my computer and engage in any number of running conversations.

Some work days can be spent almost entirely on-line: making connections with people, finding contacts, researching information, planning events, creating collateral marketing materials, or just simply communicating. This is my work.

So to continue on-line when I'm not "working", that is with two e-mail accounts, a facebook page, running forums, and blogs, I question just how present I am in my everyday real world. Present may not be the right word, I'm not sure, but I can tell you that on Wednesday evening, when instead of checking my e-mail I picked up a book I've been trying to get to and read for a while, I felt much more "at home" with myself. Part of the value of technology is obviously the speed at which we can communicate. But there is something hugely refreshing about wrapping up with a blanket and a book. I could finally slow down.

Speaking of slowing down, I'll be off-line for the next few days while my husband and I travel to Martha's Vineyard to run in the 20-miler on Saturday. I'll be slowing down my running that day to make it through the distance and still feel okay, and I'll be engaging in different kinds of running conversations, not the quick one-liners on a running forum or facebook.

These conversations will occur over the course of a three and a half hour drive, and they'll continue on the ferry. Here's is where we'll start seeing the other runners, our co-conspirators, and we might talk about whether or not they've ever run this race, and what they think about it. Are they running Boston? Where are they from...and on and on they'll go. Friday evening at the Hanover House Inn in Vineyard Haven, you can be assured there will be running conversations over the pasta dinner, which the innkeepers graciously agreed to provide.

Race day is slated to be in the high thirties and sunny. Wa-hoo! There should be plenty of excitement at the 11:00 a.m. start as there always is at road races regardless of the distance. In fact, sometimes the din is remarkable. There could be a few hundred runners, and as we set out, we'll hear many interesting conversations underway. Part of why we enjoy this race so much is because the race management is also terrific. The volunteers are hospitable and the director welcoming. In fact, he hosts an after-event party at his home which we have thoroughly enjoyed.

I look forward to leaving my computer at home and to engaging in these face to face running conversations. I also plan to enjoy my book by the fire, after the race. And yes, my feet will be up. Have a great weekend.

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