Have you ever done something completely uncharacteristic or insane to impress the people around you?
I have worn ridiculous clothes, participated in lame activities and even gotten baptized* to capture the ardor and attention of those I hold dear to my heart.
Lately, I’ve added a new activity to my life that has been inspired by some close friends. And by “lately” I mean, the past two days, because frankly, who knows how long I’ll be able to keep up this charade.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this torture I speak of? In some cultures it’s called “running”. In other cultures it’s called “escaping”, “fleeing persecution” or “chasing dinner”. I prefer to call it a four-letter word that would make the mothers in my life turn purple.
It’s a well-known fact that I have never run a mile without stopping to take a break and walk.
Well, maybe in high school softball, but I was crying at the time, so I’m not sure if we actually ran a mile, or if it just felt like it. I probably blocked it out. What I WISH I could block out is the memory of our softball coach (who, I assume, would have much rather been coaching the football team and not messing around with some sissy girls) and his very unique huddle position.
To any of those old BCHS softball team players out there reading this, do you remember how our coach used to stand in the huddle? He’d be wearing those classic blue BIKE-brand coach’s shorts, a tucked-in BCHS polo shirt and his well-trimmed mustache. Then he’d take the softball bat and balance it on the ground between his feet and up and under his man-zone like it was some sort of tripod. Then, with hands-free to gesture to different areas of the field, he would chat about the things we needed to improve upon and how we needed to stop being big babies about having sliding practice on a field littered with broken glass and desert gravel that STILL has left scars on my knees. So much for my knee-modelling career, Coach! Ugh.
Anyway…I chose to play softball in high school to impress my boyfriend and because my older friend Monica said they needed players. Turns out the baseball team my boyfriend was on traveled to all the same schools we did for away games, so we got to hang out.
Random fact: I chose the softball number 19 because it was the closest thing to my boyfriend’s number (61). I justified my choice by saying if I did a handstand, my number 19 would turn into 61! Ah,
dumb young love!
But back to my new-found torture – running.
Oh, and if you think this will be one of those blogs where it starts out all “Oh, I hated it but now I love it! Whoopee! Running is awesome!” then you’d be very wrong and I’d be forced to ask you, “Do you even KNOW me?!”
I’ve always love the drama of running; the idea of getting outside and escaping the stresses of the day. The symbolism was not lost on me and I freaking love symbolism. (I have been known to get all googly-eyed over stargazing and sunsets, as well.)
I had had a particularly annoying day that included the return of the dreaded “wonky-head-itus” that I had juggled for three months last summer. (Think ‘vertigo’ but not as bad, and without an explanation, cure, etc. Just spinning and dizzy feelings that jump out at you when you’re driving, typing, walking, microwaving, etc. They come and go throughout the day, every day, until they just randomly leave.)
Anyway, I had been talked into playing a 9:30 co-ed company softball game because they needed the girls to be eligible.I was feeling better after it was all said and done which was a welcome change. After the game I pulled into the driveway and thought, “Holy cow. I think I’m going to go for a run!”
I was wearing my black Pilates pants (think wannabe Lululemon pants but much cheaper), my black company softball tee and the deciding factor – an actual sports bra! When in the world would I EVER being wearing one of those? And tennis shoes, too? It was all too perfect.
I walked in the house to find my husband on the phone talking about motorcycles. (Conditions were continuing to be even more perfect for a run down the street.) I told him I was going for a walk-run and he looked at me with a look that said “Are you wanting a divorce?”. Apparently previously storming out of the house for a late night walk to cool down after an argument has permanently typecast my activities. I assured him I was fine and quickly left to avoid more questions and before I could lose my nerve.
I was going to DO THIS!
I grabbed my phone and my son’s Storm Trooper earbuds. Runners listen to music, right? Psh, I’ve got this. Wait a minute. I don’t have any pockets. Am I just supposed to hold this thing? Wow. It’s really dark outside. Wearing all black is not the wisest choice.
But I’m running! Oh my gosh! This is really happening! I am such a bad-ass! Won’t all my runner friends be so proud of me? Is that a raccoon? Yikes! Nope. Just a dark stain on the road. I really wish there were a few more street lights on this street. The light from my phone and JT’s lovely face on my music screen should be enough to guide me though, right? And if I get attacked or pass out, my last name is printed on the back of my softball shirt so that will help identify me, despite my lack of identification, birthmarks or tattoos.
As I was skipping music tracks, I heard a loud noise. Phew. It was just me wheezing and gasping for breath. Is that normal? I hate running? I’m turning back now and getting out of this stupid sports bra. Is this a long enough run to brag about to my runner-friends? Damn, I hope so.
After a few more walk breaks and then making myself “finish strong” with a paltry jog back to my driveway, I checked the clock. 10 minutes. THAT’S ALL? I feel like I just left a lung on the side of the road for a whopping 10 measly minutes? Jeez, running! I hate you even more!
The next morning, I measured the distance with my car and learned that I had limped out a one-mile trek. WOW!
The next night, I talked myself into trying again. At that point, running down the street, albeit in pain, was better than cleaning the bathrooms, so off I went. I managed to run a longer distance before stopping to catch my breath, but it still took me just as long. This bugged me.
Is spent a good 10 minutes cry-texting some of my running friends about how much I hated running. None of them told me that it would get easier and that I would grow to love it. They said they loved it but that it was still hard.
What was wrong with these people? Why did they like this crappy thing? What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I like it? Why have I always been so horrible at it? (Memories of me trying out for the track team in Jr. High to impress a boy (surprise-surprise) and ending up tripping on my face at the turn right before the finish line came back to me as I cried dramatically on the new rug in front of the TV.)
My husband was off the phone now and realized I was doing my whole ‘after-exercise’ crying thing. He gave me a hug and I told him how much I hated running. I told him how much I hated that ugly line that was forming on my stomach and — look! — there a new line even lower now too! Good Lord! Just kill me now!
Let me just say that my husband has NEVER been one of those guys to say, “Ah, shucks, honey! You’ve had two over 8-pound children. You work a full-time job plus a stressful side job. You are juggling weekly softball games and little league games for the boy. When in the world would you even have time to work out? You look fabulous the way you are and I’d still do you.”
Nope. My husband is the type of guy to honestly look at you and say, “I know you aren’t satisfied with the shape you’re in.” The end. That’s it. (More tears from me and dramatic stomping for good measure.)
Husband, attempting to change the subject: “You want to watch Survivor with me?”
Me: [Sniff] Ok. Let me go rinse off real quick. (Even though I only ran for 10 minutes, apparently it’s enough to get sweaty as if I just did a big-girl workout.
The night ended with TV watching (as straight as I could make my stomach so as not to continue the ever-growing crease) and some crunches.
Lord, help me. I’m not cut out for this crap.
* The blog about the time I got baptized to impress the pastor’s son and his family, is available for your cringing pleasure here.