It turns out that this weekend is Noncompetitive Charity 5K Weekend for me.
Tomorrow is my beloved Woofin' It 5K, and tonight, as I learned just two days ago, is the local Girls on the Run chapter's 5K.
This came about through book club. Back in April, one member mentioned she'd been coaching Girls on the Run and might need a few adult runners to help out at the final event — she'd check with other leaders and let us know.
I never heard anything, so I assumed they had enough adults. Actually, they didn't, and that information didn't make its way to my book buddy until this past Wednesday.
Fortunately, my boss was able to adjust my work schedule just a little bit, so I could then make good on my weeks-ago offer to accompany a young runner.
My understanding is, all I need to do is encourage my buddy to keep running and not walk. Shouldn't be too hard, unless I'm matched with a future track star who leaves me in her dust.
I also intend to appreciate Raccoon River Park, where I haven't been since my epic 5K last fall, and which should be springlike enough to make me believe winter is over.
And it'll be a chance for me to participate in, as well as observe, the running community's incredible supportiveness.
As I was either biking or running recently — I can't remember which — I found myself thinking about my experiences as a relative n00b in both areas.
Bicyclists seem happy to share their sport, but something about runners has always put me more at ease, regardless of my skill and knowledge gap.
Maybe it's that most of us agree running is harder, so runners have to go the extra mile (ha!) to welcome newcomers.
Or maybe it's because one's body is easier to understand than one's bicycle, if you're not mechanically inclined. And it could also be that I entered running with so little knowledge that being clueless wasn't embarrassing — it was expected.
Regardless: I'll be paying the Rockford, Ill., running crew's good deeds from 2009 to present forward tonight.