I am quite an introverted person.
Even being around people I love, if I’m with them all day, I need at least a little break to be alone. There’s been a great conversation in America in recent years on what introversion and extroversion really are, which is a person’s response to stimulation.
Extroverts generally get energy from busy, stimulating environments, while introverts are drained by them.
I’m not the most social person; happy hour is not a regular activity for me. It’s fun only once in a while. On most Friday nights, I’m curled up with a book or an episode of a favorite TV show and a cup of tea (or glass of wine). I’m exhausted on Friday nights after a week of spending the days with people in an often loud office and talking to sources and then the rigors of marathon training. Saturday and Sunday are often days of bliss for me in which I run and spend time alone or with my family in nature as often as possible. I need these quiet, even boring days to recharge and refresh my energy levels.
Running is often one of the ways I take a break from the noise and chaos of the world. It’s a place where I don’t have to talk to anyone because I choose to and enjoy training alone most of the time.
And yet, running is the place in my life where I am most extroverted. It’s my favorite thing, and I am energized when I talk to fellow runners and cyclists about our training, races, recovery, shoes, gear and professional racing. Runners are my tribe; we can talk about our most personal dreams, failures and gastrointestinal problems. I have a level of closeness with runners I meet that I don’t anywhere else.
And even though I love to train on quiet dirt roads, I often choose big races. Three times I’ve run the Chicago Marathon, which is one of the largest marathons in the world. I’ve run the Crim Festival of Races, which is one of the largest races in Michigan, for six consecutive years. These environments—loud, chaotic and crowded—are magical. I never say the same about any other loud, chaotic and crowded events.
Visually, I’m more extroverted in running.
In my daily life when I’m not running, I wear a lot of gray clothes. Gray, white and black. Very few patterns, except stripes and plaid. Simple stripes and plaid are great. I never wear pink, although I do have a few pieces in trendy coral. My style, such as it is, is understated and quiet. I often see it as a reflection of who I am.
But running? I have sports bras, compression sleeves, capris, tights and shirts that are obnoxiously and wonderfully pink. Even though I’m a pink-averse woman, Oiselle can make everything in shades of pink and I absolutely love it. Rose, bergen and punch in crazy fun patterns– I’ll take it.
I have lime green, florescent yellow and bright blue shirts, sports bras and shorts. These colors aren’t just for safety; the colors are an expression of how I feel: vibrant and alive.
It’s not that I feel dead when I’m not running, but I feel most alive when I run. And I show it.