this post was originally written in july 2005 for my first blog. i'm reposting it here in honor of the fact that i am now training for a real-life, 26.2-mile marathon (did i really just say that out-loud?!). my how my life has changed.
there is a misunderstanding i need to clear up.
i am not a runner.
i'm sure you think i'm joking. unless you're a runner yourself, you probably assume that anyone can run. but, i'm serious. i've worn the runner's mask at various times since seventh grade. but, honestly, it's never really fit. i ran track and cross-country. when the mood struck me, i ran in college. lisa and i ran on ateneo's campus in manila. last fall, i thought i wanted to run the imogene pass run in telluride, colo and so i started "training" for this fall. my husband bought me running shorts. i even ran a race on thanksgiving day.
but, ladies and gentlemen, i am not a runner.
the entire charade began fourteen years ago, on the first day of ms. hunter's language arts class. to introduce ourselves, we had to describe ourselves with a noun. "i'm josh and i'm a saxophone player." "i'm alisa and i'm a girl."
i was the last student in the class to introduce myself. as most seventh graders, i was already terribly self-conscious. and, slowly but surely, my classmates took the words i would have chosen. saxophone player. reader. tennis player. writer. my mind raced to find a word i could use. as i listened to the other students, a great word flashed into my mind -- a word no one else would take.
megan solberg and i were the last to introduce ourselves. we'd been friends since second grade and i knew she wanted to run cross-country. it was clear which word she would use.
and then she said, "i'm megan and i'm a walker."
she had stolen my word. i stammered to find the only other noun left to possibly describe myself: a runner. to my chagrin, ms. hunter was the seventh grade cross-country coach. thus began my running career.
sorry, ms. hunter. i am not a runner.
this non-runner went non-running yesterday afternoon. it was hot. i hate non-running in the heat. i went about 1 1/4 miled out, turned around and came home -- 2.5 miles is nothing for a real runner. but, my face must have been red. i was hot and tired. sweat was running down my forehead and into my eyes. suffice to say i wasn't looking my fittest or clocking my best time. it was pathetic.
and then about four blocks from home, i passed this older-middle-aged man. probably late 50s, early 60s. gray hair. wearing a hat and shorts. his t-shirt was sweaty. most likely, he'd been working outside.
i had never seen him before.
as i passed him, i managed to say "excuse me." with a smile in his voice (i didn't look back to see if he was actually smiling), he said, "go for it!"
three little words. you wouldn't believe how much taller i ran. or, how much quicker i moved my feet. i breathed a little more easily. i think i even smiled. three little words.
and, for a couple minutes, i actually felt like a runner.