I've been falling in with runners and chatting them up, even if they're wearing earbuds, like today with Kat on the W&OD. I had six miles to go on a six mile run, the morning was already hot and getting hotter and I needed diversion. Down the trail a couple hundred yards was a solitary female runner and I practiced my racing technique for overtaking the next runner ahead, slow and steady if they're a ways up there. After a short while I caught her, fell in and asked, "How far you going?" I couldn't tell how old she was, the younger they are, the less likely they are to talk to you, or even acknowledge that you're speaking to them.
"I'm just going down there," she said, vaguely pointing ahead. I tried a different tack. "How far have you gone?" I asked. She removed her ear bud closest to me and said, "Oh, a mile." She smiled, gave a short wave and put the piece back in.
I wasn't so easily deterred. Pointing at her shoes, which contained tiny Mercury's wings sewn on each outside edge by the laces, I said, "I been watching those wings on your shoes as I came up behind you and I thought they might give you a boost but I haven't seen them flap yet so I wonder if they're not an aerodynamic drag instead." She said, "Oh I like them just fine!"
"What's your name?" "Kat," she said, without asking mine. "I'm Peter," I offered, at which point she figuratively sighed, removed both her ear buds and we had a nice conversation for the next mile and a half till her turnaround. In a nutshell, she is the Breaking News editor for USA Today, we talked about the tragic shooting of an armed suspect by police in Baton Rouge yesterday, I gave her my perspective as a former state trooper (the two arresting officers in the videos weren't communicating calmly and clearly with each other) and then we talked about her upcoming marathon in Chicago. I don't know how it went for Kat, I believe she found the conversation interesting enough, but for me it made at least the first quarter of my extremely hard six mile run (I dropped four pounds and felt exhausted by the end) go by quickly and easily.