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Runners have always fascinated me. And not, at first, in a good way. When I saw men and women, of all shapes and sizes, lumbering, flailing and slogging down the road, red faced, sweating and frankly, looking miserable, I would think to myself ” Why would you do that to yourself? It can’t be good for you and it looks like such a bore. Spare me!” But one day at the gym, I was on the treadmill in a frenzy of post binge pre-film shoot panic, trying to sweat off the mysterious bulge that had appeared on my 40th birthday and firm up those famously flabby British thighs in time to reveal all to the cameras, when a nauseatingly trim and irritatingly pretty little person popped on to the machine next to me and started running, nimbly and effortlessly at 7.5 mph and singing along loudly with her Ipod. I cast a surreptitious glance in her direction to see just exactly how trim and how pretty this person was and to figure out how she could be so deeply antisocial. Didn’t she know Gym Etiquette 101? That you just don’t sing along in public when you have headphones on? It’s just not nice and there’s not a person in the world, except maybe Whitney Houston, who can pull it off. Well unfortunately she was that hot. Not an ounce of fat on her, perfectly proportioned, beautifully dressed, perfect skin ( she had that glow) and just to top it off she was happily running at least 2.5 mph faster than I was. I nudged the speed up on my treadmill just a bit and tried to focus on my fat burning efforts. I comforted myself with the knowledge that she was clearly nuts to be singing like that in public, but couldn’t resist taking the occasional peek to see if she could keep up her incredible speed. And yes, she could……. Annoying……. After about 40 minutes of tripping the light fantastic in her own personal Studio 54 she finally came to a stop . I gratefully slowed down my treadmill to match hers, the humiliation complete and looking forward to entertaining all my ‘Mean Girl’ friends with’ The Curious Incident of The Crazy Singing Lady In the Gym’. It was then that she took me completely by surprise. She turned to me with a big sweet smile and said ” You know, you’re an amazing runner? Do you ever run outside?” Well that was altogether too much. She’s nice, too? Now I can’t possibly hate her. ‘ Uhh…no…not ..really…I don’t like it” I mumbled ungraciously. “You should you know, you’d really like it. Why don’t you come out with me sometime. You’re gonna LOVE it, you’re gonna be GREAT!!” she said. I looked at the Crazy Singing Lady then, with her beautiful oxygenated skin and her bright sparkling eyes and realized that this was, in fact, a very good person. A person who knows something that I don’t, a person who has uncovered a great spiritual secret. A person who is so on fire with the joy of that secret that she couldn’t give a fig if she sings off key and everyone thinks she’s crazy. And she was inviting me, the evil wanna-be twin, on her journey. This was a person I couldn’t possibly dislike, she was utterly compelling, her energy and spirit, infectious. ‘Ummm…ok…’ was my answer. We exchanged numbers . And that is how I began my affair with running. My little running friend took me gently and selflessly ( must have felt interminable to her) around Calabasas the first time and told me I was fabulous! Ooookaaay! We planned our next run and our next and she introduced me to her other lovely running friends and so on it went. I ran with her for several months and we ran fast ( I have since discovered). My self confidence began to improve and my enthusiasm for life grew with it. I had discovered the elation of running, the freedom in the steps, the joy in feeling my legs and heart getting stronger, the quickening of my senses and an ever increasing wonder at the beauty in the world. I had discovered a whole new group of people, that I had never before noticed and I saw them everywhere, running calmly and smoothly, their bodies in perfect harmony with their minds and spirits, their bliss visible to the world and I wanted to be one of them. I wanted what they had. There’s something about runners that is different. They seem to have an openness and generosity of spirit that is unmatched. They are welcoming and accepting of all levels of talent and experience. They do not judge or compare ( at least, not often), they just encourage because they know the joy of running is felt at all levels and everyone who laces up their running shoes and gets out there will eventually feel it. Thus, all runners are united in spirit and that feels really good. It feels really right. I believe it is how we are meant to feel towards each other. I believe it is, quite simply, love.