Just the other day someone asked me if I was still running. This, mind you, would not have been a question anyone would have asked me had I not let a weak moment of hubris get the better of me. I had posted the mandatory picture of my first half marathon on Facebook and even though my times were less than mediocre—even for an over-the-hill, wannabe—I was suddenly recognized as a “runner.” If that causes you to pass judgment upon those in my circles—don’t! Everyone has their, you know, “thing.”
So coming back, someone asked me if I was still running. Now, you’d think this would be a simple yes or no answer, right? But no, you’d be wrong. The media have taught us well! If it ain’t grand, it won’t stand (the test of worth). Meals have to be delicacies with at least 20 ingredients, a routine vacation has to be spiritually transformative, a trip to the grocery store has to be an adventure in—yes, there’s the word—exotic cuisine and a parent-teacher conference has to chart out the map of junior’s journey to the ivy leagues.
And thus I answered with a “what else is there in life?”—all the while thinking of all the things that really WERE there in life—and gloated smugly in the silence that descended like a thick curtain on our conversation. But then “that little voice”—-that little voice that has a bad habit of making its presence felt when one least expects, reminded me that actually, since my half marathon, I had barely crossed the 3 mile/week threshold—even if I were to count the circles I ran around the house screaming at my kid toward mileage.
This was the hour of reckoning! I had to resume my runs to keep my self-proclaimed title or forever be relegated to the “used to runs.”(That phrase seems oddly apt now, doesn’t it?) And so, the alarm was ceremonially set to ring at the ungodly hour of 6:00 am. And so, here I am, this fine morning, slapping it shut and trying to silence that little voice with the alarm. For such a tiny thing it makes a mighty loud racket—that little voice!
Shoes! I don’t think I have good shoes! Maybe I’ll buy a pair today and start tomorrow… I talk to myself. “You bought new shoes last week, remember?” Damn it! That’s my husband—the same man who is conveniently deaf when I ask him at least fifty times to pick up some milk. Right now, he can shame the most industrious bat. There goes that excu.. err… reason.
So, let’s get on with it already! Workout wear—check! Headphone—check! GPS watch—check! Shoes—thanks hubby, not! Energy gel…. really? Wake up woman, you’re running around the block, not climbing Everest! Ok, so no gel!
Mojo? That’s a tough one, but I’m doing this run, mojo or no mojo.
Door, open! Butt, move! RunKeeper, start! Run, begin!
Ah, what a lovely morning: the dawn breaking on the horizon (I think! Who can really tell? Bright lights adorn my neighborhood all night long), cool breeze in my hair, (more like cold wind chill—who knew the Bay Area saw temperatures below 40F?), the spring in my feet (if that’s what you want to call your dragging bones, sure!). Zero point two miles already—this running thing is a breeze! (That reminds me, let’s check Breeze, how many steps did I take? Only 300? Boy have I got ways to go!)
Half a mile and going strong (not really, panting like a dog more like it.) Only 2.5 more to go! So I’ll wait a minute maybe and smell the roses—even if I have to trespass to do that. Hmmm….. Ready, set, to the next stop sign.
The next audio cue comes in: “Distance: 1.00 miles, Average pace—faster than a snail, definitely.” Yeeeaa…. Thank you RunKeeper! That’s one mile down. Two to go.
I think I’ll treat myself to a leisurely walk—I deserve it. One mile’s not bad for day one. Ah, the joy! Never knew walking could be so enjoyable. (Wisdom dawns! Everything is relative! Where do these insights disappear when we miss out on another IPO?)
Just another 0.7 miles to the next mile. 1,2, 3, 4…..here we go…one foot before the other…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—“stand a little taller, doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone…” Okay, that does it! This running has merged my Nietzsche into Kelly Clarkson. I need to seriously reconsider life’s priorities—right after I can walk again.
Hurray for mile 2. Time to pause! “Hey, kids! There’s still time for school, want to chat? No, I’m not some creepy lady. Just looking for an excuse to stop.” Oh well…better be going…
You can’t go home again! Of course, I can. I’ll just cut across this street and it’s only a couple hundred yards from there. Finally, in the home stretch. (Clichés don’t necessarily drop from the clear blue sky.) 1,2,3,4…. 1,2,3,4… and STOP! Crash (at the front door)!
Two and a half miles without stopping. (Please, work with me here.) I did it. I’m a runner—once more! And my ‘ol ticker is still beating, even if it is at the speed of an energizer bunny gone berserk.
Tomorrow I’ll resume my pavement pounding with renewed vigor. But then, tomorrow, is another day!