I’ve made it clear before: I’m not a natural runner.
I mean, does this look like a face that was born to run?
In fact, running is something that intimidated me for a long time. These days, I’m not scared of running – heck, sometimes I crave a good, sweaty run – but I still am far from being “a runner.” So when I decided to
haul my venti-sized ass around the block go for a run this weekend after not running for more than 2 months, I had an experience with which I’m sure every non-runner can empathize. Maybe this is all part of the learning curve, or maybe it’s further proof that the good Lord never meant me to move faster than a hasty stroll. Either way, here’s the ugly, honest truth of what happens when a not-so-natural runner attempts to run.
5:45am, getting ready to run: Spot my sister’s Harry Potter tank top on the bathroom floor. Oooh, I’ll wear that. Maybe it will help me have a total-body transformation like Neville Longbottom when he lost the man-boobs and became a hottie.
5:55am: Remember that my phone case is broken. Decide I am too accident-prone to let my phone ride naked for this adventure. Concede to using a jerryrigged case, which consists of my phone shoved in a (clean) athletic sock, shoved into my sports bra. It’s surprisingly functional.
6:00am: Out the door. Say a prayer, cue up my Kelly Clarkson pandora station, and reluctantly trot to the street. Begin considering what to make for breakfast after this ordeal
First 50 yards: I’m flying! This is perfect running weather! (Note: I live at the top of a steep hill, so at this point I am running down a 65° slope.)
200 yards: This really isn’t so bad. I should train for a marathon! I could totally do it, and then I’d get really skinny and hot and have a cool medal to hang on my wall. (Note: By now, I’ve turned onto the street, which has a slight decline.)
1/2 mile: Eff that. I’m never running a marathon. WHY AM I ALREADY OUT OF BREATH?! (Note: I have turned a corner and am headed up a street that has maybe a 5° incline.)
3/4 mile, passing the local fire station: Look cute, look cute, look cute….Dang, it’s really hard to suck in your gut, run faster, and try to breathe casually.
1 mile: Ok, this is cool. I got this. Straight road, mostly flat, and shady. I can handle this.
1.1 miles: Remember I’m wearing a Harry Potter tank top. I love life.
1.2 miles: Look down at the Harry Potter tank top. Realize Neville Longbottom probably had bigger boobs than I do. How’d you do it, Neville? TEACH ME YOUR SECRETS.
1.5 miles: It’s uphill and sunny now. What is this?! And great, I’m rocking some major cameltoe right now. Plus I’m getting a blister on my instep. And I’m sweating. Ew. I hate running.
2 miles: Hallelujah. Back in a shady neighborhood and Jason Aldean just came on. Begin wagging my butt back and forth to the beat as I run. Quickly stop upon realizing that is not only making it more difficult to run, but probably is giving passerby the impression that I’m having a minor seizure.
2.2 miles: But this is my jam!! Begin butt-wagging again.
2.5 miles: If I can make it home without passing out, getting lost, or falling, this will be a success.
3 miles: These pants are a little bigger than they used to be. They are also falling off, so I attempt to hike them up without stopping. Turns out sweaty legs are akin to superglue, and these leggings are not moving. Waddle-hop-Riverdance for 1/4 mile as I try to yank those suckers back up to where they belong. Consider that forceps might be helpful in a situation like this.
3.1 miles: “Cowboy Cassanova” comes through my headphones. Oh hey, I like this Carrie Underwood song. And I guess I like her, too. Except she probably doesn’t need forceps to get her leather hotpants over her skinny little legs before a concert. Hooker.
3.25 miles: Begin imagining what this run would be like if dinosaurs were still alive. Could I outrun a velociraptor? Probably not. Maybe I could outsmart him and climb a tree or something? That might not work though, what if velociraptors can fly?
3.3 miles: Decide that velociraptors cannot fly, based of their highly scientifically-accurate portrayal in 2000’s animated tour-de-force, Dinosaur. (Which may or may not have left me terrified to be alone at night in any room of the house until roughly 2002.)
3.5 miles: Grey leggings were a poor choice. Can you say, ‘crotch sweat?’
3.75 miles: There are blisters on my blisters. They’re spawning. And I’m still sweating.
4 miles: How do people manage to do this for hours on end?? My entire body hurts. Maybe this is how Helen Keller felt. At this point, describing my forward trajectory as “running” would be too generous. “Slowly lurching” would be more accurate. This would be so much easier if I had aid stations like real runners do at races. I could probably run forever if I were rewarded with free gummy bears and Gatorade every 1/4 mile.
4.3 miles: I think God is controlling my pandora station right now. Jordin Sparks’ “One Step at a Time” starts up, reminding me to keep shuffling forward until I reach home and the misery ends. This alone keeps me from lying down on the sidewalk and waiting for death to overtake me.
4.5 miles: Why do I have to live at the top of a hill??? The steep slope that made me feel like I was flying less than 40 minutes ago is now making me feel like I’m falling. Uphill. And not in a poetic way.
Finally, it’s over. I turn around and trudge down the block to shake my legs out and continue trying not to start dry heaving. I notice that the inside of my arm is sore, and look down to discover that I have a little raw spot where my bicep must have brushed against my sports bra as I ran. I try to convince myself it’s because my boobs are getting bigger and not because my arms are getting flabby.
As I turn to head home, an older fellow comes walking in the opposite direction. I mutter a breathy G’mornin’ while doing my best to look calm, collected, and not completely winded.
He chirps, “Hope you brought you’re umbrella, it’s raining on the other side!”
Slightly confused and moderately horrified at the thought of having to actually make conversation with a stranger, I attempt to appear somewhat interested.
(Not sure it worked. Pretty sure it just sounded like I was the operator for a cheap phone-sex hotline.)
“Nah, I’m just teasing,” he chuckles as he walks away.
Half a minute later, it dawns on me that he was teasing me because I’m currently dripping sweat and in danger of being mistaken for a drowned sea otter.
As I finally haul myself up the hill for the last time, I realize a new song has come on pandora. The chorus is immediately recognizable as Natasha Bedingfield’s chart-topper from my highschool days:
“…Feeel the RAIN on YOOOUUUR skin!….”
Now even my pandora station is mocking me. Can’t a girl catch a break?
PS: This run was Saturday morning; I’m writing this on Tuesday night. My ankles, knees, and hips are still killin’ me. Needless to say, mama will be buying new running shoes this week.