Don't worry, I'm not referring to politics. I am not about to unleash my own personal Paul Ryan on the scene. I am talking about running the sport, as in "don your Nikes and hit the track"running. And as for the "mates," I am talking about the people with whom I share the track every morning.
The mornings I am able to motivate my sorry butt out of bed at 6:30, which seems to my groggy mind to be the crack of dawn (actually, with the time change it is still relatively dark outside), I run up the road, turn right, turn left, and then complete between one and three laps (depending on the level of protest from my knees and feet) on the track at Holmby Park. (Side note: when my knees and feet just picket with their obnoxious homemade signs and crude slogans, I still manage to get to at least three miles. When they partake in a full-on strike, a la teachers in Chicago, is when I have to shorten the distance).
Due to my consistency as far as what time I go running, I tend to run past the same people on a daily basis. I have come to recognize the "regulars" who frequent Holmby Park. There is the elderly man who wears headphones and loudly sings old show tunes. There is the short middle-aged woman who does a fast walk while swinging her arms intently. There is the woman who wears a sweatshirt from Brown University. There is the elderly Asian couple. I always smile, wave or nod at all of them. Or, if I am not gasping for breath too much, I will go so far as to utter a brief greeting. Previously, my gestures went unnoticed. Yet slowly but surely, I turned people around. The toughest nuts to crack were the Asian couple- despite my attempts a friendly greeting they shifted their gaze away from me.
Persistence pays off, I discovered- after multiple weeks, they finally acknowledged me with a small smile. I had no one to wave or smile at yesterday, however; it turns out no one else goes running at 5 in the morning on Sundays.