While I was on vacation in Maine earlier this month I decided to become a runner. This is a big deal for me because I have HATED running my whole life (are there emoticons or punctuation I can add to make HATE stronger?). I could chase a soccer ball for 90 minutes and love every minute of it, but if you asked me to run a mile I would undoubtedly throw a fit and give up. I have never run over 3 miles in my life due to boredom, mental weakness, physical weakness, distraction, procrastination, and a general lack of motivation. Matt on the other hand just ran his first race, the Missoula Marathon in 4 hours. Am I inspired or jealous?
So why did I decide to jump on the insane bandwagon of running? Stupidity and peer pressure.
Matt decided to run the Lobster Fest 10K in Rockland, Maine as his second race so I signed him up for it before we even left Montana. I opted to do the 5K fun-walk because I am a loser and knew I would die running however many miles 10K is. We arrived at the registration table at the race and I started looking around at my 5K cohort – they included baby strollers galore, old people and people in their PJ’s. I made a game day decision to run the 10K, ignoring factors like never having run a race before, a dead iPod, no training, and painful tonsillitis. All I could think was that if these people can run a 10K, I could run that far too! Wait, how far is 10K?
Matt was surprised at this turn of events. His nervous advice, after giving up on trying to talk me out of the race, was to try to have fun, talk to other runners, and go slowly. I was only worried about getting enough water, pooping my pants or dying in a ditch by the side of the road.
When the race started Matt took off and I planted myself firmly at the back of the pack and tried to identify other novice runners to talk to. To my disappointment and annoyance, most runners were plugged into their iPod’s. I ignored that and ran up to people and yelled, “where are you from?!” Most ignored me, but I did meet a couple nice people.
I let an old lady pass me who had a shirt on that read “if you can read this you are behind me and did not train either.” While it was true, I could not let my pride be bruised by letting her be in front of me, so I picked it up a smidge and passed her back.
For all of you runners out there, you might be able to identify with the weird thoughts that were running through my mind several miles down the road – they included but were not limited to:
1. I can’t believe I am being smoked by a 7-year-old
2. I can’t believe I am being dusted by a dude pushing a double stroller with 2 toddlers in it
3. I can’t believe that guy with no shoes on is 4 miles ahead of me
(I should interject here to say that Matt told me not to care who is winning and losing, that it is just about running your own best race. I was unable to abide by his words and could only think competitive thoughts the whole race. Maybe next time Matt) More random running thoughts:
4. I wish I had a hat on and these fancy glasses were not meant for running
5. OMG it’s so damn hot, there is no shade, I am frying, why didn’t I put on sunscreen?
6. ANOTHER HILL?!
7. Maybe I should walk
8. Don’t walk, you will never start running again
9. I am going to catch up to that old lady and beat her
10. I am never going to catch that old lady so I will let her beat me
11. I wonder how I look?
12. I wonder if I will be able to walk tomorrow?
13. I wondering if you can feel armpit chaffing when it is happening?
14. Is the air thicker in Maine?
15. Where…is…the…f’ing…finish line?
And on and on and on it went………..
In the end Matt did not have to retrieve my body from the ditch so that was a win for both of us. I finished in a pathetic/proud 74 minutes. I looked like I peed my pants at the finish line from sweat, so I will be retiring those spandex!
In all seriousness, by the end of the race all I could think about was that two years ago I could not even walk because of a debilitating back injury. I guess I have come pretty far.
Over the next few days I decided to keep up the trend and ran almost every day. I have a completely black toenail to show for it, but Matt says it is a rite of passage into the running world. I even cautiously went to the running store this weekend and bought a running hat and some running socks. Oh my gosh, am I a runner?