26.2, what a horrid number! I barely achieve twenty-six minutes under my sneaks when I hit the pavement. Running and I are not best of friends. I rarely remember to stretch, thus impact from the sidewalk shoots electric shocks up my shins. After shin pain dissipates, cardio ache jogs into my lungs.
At the first intersection I turn uphill. If I were to stop for the signal to morph from a hand to the walking man, it would halt my motivation. Muscles would atrophy, and pull me back to the couch. It takes only strides to curse my uphill decision. I giggle, pondering if drivers can decipher if I am actually running or not. Just when I need it most, my trusty iPod dies. No!! How did I self motivate back in the day, prior to my first Walkman?! Surely listening to my gasps for air won’t help. Of course it died just when I was getting pumped to “girls just wanna have fun-un!”
I succeed up the hill. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it focusing on beautiful Victorians and house projects locals were completing. I don’t want the responsibility of yard or garden work, house renovations or cherubs in little red wagons. I am the happiest non committed renting tenant the world has ever known. All is pink scented shoelaces in my world, until writing the rent check makes me want to vomit. What if future Mr. Handsomeness asked me to relocate to the Fiji islands overnight, how would I escape the wrath of a mortgage? What if I decided to jump on the Peace Corps track? I am one happy unattached Nike wearer who prefers to travel and ski, over trips to Home Depot. Any hoo, by this point in my run, I am sweaty. I sweat over two things in life 1.) talking to cute boys, and 2.) exercise.
Let us pause to remember poor Pheidippides prior to the option to “run on Dunkin.” Why would anyone want to replicate such distance voluntarily? In addition, if I were a man why would I want bloody nipples with the need to apply band aides to avoid chafing? Again, another reason I don’t intimidate runners by training for marathons.
It had rained all week, the morning unseasonably cold. Snow fell in the mountains that day. I grabbed an umbrella and went outside to cheer. The cop car rounded the bend, first racers moved down my street wheeling by, arms like Rocky. I saw the passenger cruise by I had assisted off our aircraft the previous night. He lacked mobility in his legs. Athletes wore trash bags, gloves and costumes. I clapped, my hands soon frozen. Some ran past and thanked me. Thanked me? All I did was crawl out of bed and put on a hoodie. Some of them courageously faced this challenge for the first time. Others raised funds for charitable causes, few possibly ran anxiously since the Boston terror. So many smiled, giving me energy by sharing theirs. I was in awe. People of 26.2 different shapes and sizes were participating. They filled me with chills of inspiration. One was a grandfather in khakis plugging away in the cold damp rain. Athletes inspire me. Following the final competitor, I walked inside stunned by roughly 8,000 athletes who left ME inspired that chilly morning…