People are going to try and tell you running is fun and I'm here to tell you that those people are full of shit. Okay okay! Maybe that's just my opinion. There appear to be a great many people who enjoy running, as if regressing back to the cavemen era when we ran away from giant mastodon's trying to make us their dinner is EXACTLY the way they prefer to spend their free time. I don't so much not understand those people as much as I sincerely believe we live on different planets. Because, to me, running is the worst. And here's why:
1.) You can't talk while you are running. Not only does the constant movement make it difficult to catch your breath long enough to formulate a sentence but apparently, talking while running is a legitimately unhealthy physical practice.
2.) You get cold-sweaty. Cold-sweaty is the name I give to that feeling when you get underground at a subway stop and you're all bundled up and you feel so grateful to be out of the cold winter chill and then about two stops in you realize you are sweating and wearing so many layers that the effort to take off even one on this crowded godforsaken machine would be futile. I hate cold-sweaty. I have a really bad cold-sweaty problem when I run because, well, I'm probably not doing something right...maybe I don't warm up enough (read: at all.)
3.) My whole body turns bright red. Ahhh the joys of being a pale, Irish girl are innumerable! As if it wasn't already DELIGHTFUL ENOUGH to spend most of the summer wearing kaftans and floppy hats, covered in SPF 100 praying I don't get burned, even in the colder months while running outside I develop big, red splotchy marks all over my face, neck, and hands. Which should definitely come in handy for my fit model career.
4.) You can't eat while you're running. You can eat before, and you can eat after. But you can't eat during and that's a problem...for me anyways.
I despise running. I hate the elitist running culture, the run clubs that come out of NOWHERE and seemingly never end, and I hate the way my hair looks after it's been in a sweaty running pony tail. Now that you know all that, you should also know that this weekend I signed up to run my first half marathon, the Women's Central Park Half Marathon on April 19th. So, with the assumption that I'll start my training today, February 24th, that means I have a little over 8 weeks to train. I wanted to officially start training yesterday but I was over served at an Oscar party the night prior and my best life choice was to sleep in and eat crackers for the better part of the morning. Why am I doing this? I don't really know. I'm not doing it to lose weight, or impress anyone, or achieve some deep, burning desire to be a runner. Everyone I tell has been confused as to why, too. But my favorite response thus far was from my Nike Training app which straight up said:
...the app has a valid point, and I'm thankful for the honest opinion. Eight weeks is definitely pushing it, in regards to a feasible time frame to train within. But at least the app is lookin' out for a girl. When I told my mother I was running a half marathon the conversation went a little like this:
ME: Ma! I just signed up for a half marathon and it's a women's half marathon! And it's in Central Park in April! And it's all women, the whole race! Just women! Running! ...cool, huh?
MOM: Honey great, why are you doing this again?
...alright so yes, I don't have a reason per say but does it really matter? I thought she would think it was pretty cool, or empowering or inspiring? Maybe that's the crux of the reason why people enjoy running? Perhaps that's the secret! That when you run long, great distances you come out the other end of a finished race with all sorts of clarity and passion and inspiration?? Or, maybe, I'll be able to bounce a quarter off my ass!
The first race I ever ran (not including the Presidential Fitness Test in 8th grade heyoooo!) was the St. Patrick's Day 10k in Washington, DC in 2011. My life felt like it was falling apart. I was drinking too much, and dating too many different men, and spending most of my bi-weekly paychecks from Lululemon at Lululemon. I was desperate to move to New York. And I needed a challenge but I didn't know where to start. I don't even remember how I found this race, but I did, and I signed up mid-January and then promptly trained to run it approximately zero times. Zero. Then, come race day, I got on my all matching Lululemon outfit, had a banana, and tried not to vomit while waiting for the stupid thing to start. I brazenly put myself in the nine minute mile group. "You're young, you're fertile!" I thought to myself as I faux stretched with other young, fertile men and women. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a man, mid-thirties, in a wheelchair ahead of me. That's right. Ahead of me. As in the eight minute mile group. Well. Fuck. "If a man in a wheelchair can do an eight minute mile, I can do an eight minute mile!" I remember silently (dear god I hope it was inside voice and not a declamatory statement) saying. I WILL NOT WIN THIS RACE, BUT I WILL BEAT WHEELCHAIR MAN.*
That starting gun went off, and I simply decided to keep moving. I didn't stop moving, and I also did not stop listening to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" on REPEAT because, motivation. I made sure to keep wheelchair man in my peripheral, always clocking him. If I hadn't lost my mind at some undocumented moment in my life prior, this is most assuredly the moment. I felt like he was taunting me. I developed an entire narrative about how wheelchair man had it out for me. Because that seems like something a healthy person does. Right? On the last two miles I significantly slowed down and was at what I'd like to call a lady trot** and he passed me. He passed me. Uhhhh. Something inside me erupted like a wronged woman on an episode of the Maury Povich Show when she finds out he IS the father. I think there might have been lil flames in my eyes. I dug deep down and realized now was fight or flight time. I pretended there were turbo rockets attached to my shitty running shoes and I picked up the pace. I picked up the pace until I saw wheelchair man less than 50 feet ahead of me. And then, I turned Whitney on a few notches louder and I RAN RIGHT PAST WHEELCHAIR MAN. The exuberance! The moment of pride when I realize, I have passed him! Pure, unadulterated bliss!
What is the takeaway? Well, I'm a crazy person. I'm highly motivated by competition, even in unfair, highly dramatized scenarios with faux enemies like wheelchair man. I still hate running, but I need a challenge. I need something to be competitive about. I need to realign my priorities and my decision making. I need to know that I'm still alive. You know? Just a reminder that I'm here and I'm working towards something. I need to say I said I'd do it, and then I fucking did. I need a win. And what better way to hold yourself accountable than tell some people in a very public setting, like, say, ya blog?
A little warning: I'm going to be writing about running. A lot. I'm sorry. I can't always promise it will be inspiring or insightful. I can promise it will be humorous and honest and another h-word that I can't quite put my finger on at this moment. In conjunction with needing a goal, sometimes I need a little motivation to write more, although the play I'm writing about the time I got MRSA and bed bugs in the same week as Hurricane Sandy is coming along quite well, thank you for asking. Point is, this writing assignment will keep me constant, like coffee does.
The lovely sounding Nike app woman told me I have a six mile run tomorrow. It's currently nine degrees. I can't wait to let ya'll know how that goes.
*Just for the record, I think this man is a badass.
**a lady-trot is the same as fast running in heels, but when you are at a lady-trot in sneakers, then you're just lazy.