Monday, July 18, 2011

Running for nothing

In a million years, sitting in my college dorm room I never thought I be this.

I am a runner.

In my head this is a surprise, as in my teens and early 20s you wouldn't find me running ever. And in my head I'm still 23.

I guess I would do the odd mile here or there. In gym class mainly. I joined the track team for 2 days in high school then stopped going. I don't remember why. But more often you would find me running to the work, to class late, or to happy hour. I can count on one hand the number of times I ran for fun, and one of those included a 5 AM run when I couldn't sleep in college on morning after staying up all night writing a paper and having 4 full pots of coffee. It was run or have a heart attack then.

Now I've been getting up at 5 AM for the sole purpose of running. And if you ask my husband or friends now they would definitely describe me as a runner. Maybe not the first adjective, but in the top 5. (Number 1 is obviously "gorgeous".)

So I am the last to admit it. But I am finally accepting this as a part of me.

Let me tell you how my lifestyle changed from an occasional work out to full out training. First of all, it started with a bike. Yes I said I was a runner, but first I was a biker. Which let me tell you is much easier to admit to than being a runner for some reason. Maybe because you are sitting down most of the time. And a bike is an accepted mode of transportation.

In 2002 I was living in Brighton, MA and loved the idea of biking in the city. I had never biked in the city before, but the idea of me biking to work instead of taking the slow B-line in was exciting. Plus, I was in grad school and having a bike seemed like a very grad school thing to do. Especially as I was going to grad school for writing. Shouldn't I be forgoing transportation and living my existence in the world? Feeling the wind in my hair and all that? I strolled down to IBC in Allston and picked out a Trek hybrid. Then promptly rode it once and put it in the garage. Riding in the city is dangerous people. It remained garaged until I moved to Salem, where I rode it every single day 1.3 miles to and from the train station.

I decided that I wanted to be healthier, so besides having a gym membership (just because you have one doesn't mean you go) I signed up for a 20 mile bike ride. This was the most physically challenging thing I had ever done. I trained and trained and on an October day, the morning after we had a party of course, I dragged my hungover self to Framingham and rode 20 miles for Project Bread. I honestly didn't think I was going to make it. But I did. I still remember feeling exhilarated afterward eating a peanut butter sandwich under a tree, looking out at Lake Cochituate. And tired. So very very very tired.From there it was a 80 mile bike ride for Best Buddies from Boston to Hyannisport. In the rain. With friends that I had dragged into my madness. Then a 2-day 190 mile ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown where I promptly hung up my bike. Cause man my legs hurt.

But in the middle of my bike excursions running became more prominent in my life.

Also in between that was Mrs. High Heels convinced me one fine summer day to run a 5 mile road race with her and her boyfriend. Yeah, right, I said. She convinced me because she knew I liked to bike and had recently completed a solo 40 mile ride one blustery spring day. (I meant to due 30 miles and got lost). The race was in Ayer and we started off together, determined to finish even if we walked it.

But something happened. I ran. I left her behind (sorry!) and actually ran. And liked it. I finished and collapsed on the track, dizzy and happy.

I had been bit by the running bug.

To be continued...

No comments: