One of the strangest things to happen this last year and half has been my recent running craze.
Of all of the odd little surprises in life, I truly did not see this one coming. First of all I was never an athletic kid. Yar. In fact, I remember classically being the fat klutzy girl that some team would have to take after all the selections were done. My best memories of gym class in high school center almost exclusively on the amazing and very deep conversations that would occur in the outfield with my other non-athletic counterparts during softball. Of course invariably we would get screamed at when there was a hit and we were too busy to take much notice. (Fuck: I knew who I was at 15 ---- and if I saw a damn ball coming for me, I ducked. End of story.) I tried out for volleyball my freshman year and some sadistic Amazonian spiked a ball in my face and I went down like bag of hammers, picked myself up and walked out with my chin in the air before bursting into tears. Balls are evil. I have never managed to do any sport with a ball. Don't even let me get started on the horrors of golf. Satan plays golf that's all I'm going to say.
How I even managed to take years worth of dance classes for my music theatre degree and survived: a miracle. Although this is for Virginia Van Pelt, my former ballet teacher at Illinois Wesleyan, who told me and I quote, "You don't deserve to dance!" I hate you Virginia Van Pelt. I wish I had looked you coldly in the eye that day and told you that you didn't deserve to breath. But I didn't have the chutzpa to let you have it then so today I am going to pimp you for being so heartless and enjoy it just a tiny bit although Jesus/Buddha/Allah and I are all trying to forgive you. Somehow.
VVP: kiss my now skinny ass you hateful whorebag.
So yeah, not an athletic gene in my body till years later when dating the bike messenger. He gave me a bike and I became enamored with cycling in our fair city. So from 32-39, my bike was my passion, my joy. I commuted downtown and lived for long rides on the weekends. I mocked runners. I couldn't understand them. So running? How on earth had the avowed messianic bicyclist parked her double dharma-wheel of pleasure to clomp down the streets like a great huffing ox? Where on earth did this notion come and why do I now have a fetish for dry-wick clothing? Moreover, dear God, why do these endorphins make me so convinced that I am doing your will? Biking is good but running is better....why???
I think the first reason was because I was told I could not run as part of a Chiditarod team with the twins in 2009. Of course, I later ended up running it; but classically got my shorts knotted thinking that my friends had tried to box me out of a race that the rest of them would be running. (Sort of like being the last damn kid not chosen, I guess.) Whatever the case, this all occurred when we had gathered as group to run laps at the Galter Center. And I was told, ever so politely that there could only be 4 mushers to a team although I had been dutifully showing up on Saturdays to run like everyone else had -- mostly because I was lonely and wanted to just hang out. But to think I was not chosen, that I was not included? Oy, it killed me. I think I actually went to the shower afterwards and cried I was so distraught. So I promptly signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle online and never told one of them. Even after I had been invited to participate when one of them dropped out. My former fat girl does not like to be told no. Truly it was a psychic wound. As if my heart was clamoring: "I DESERVE TO RUN! Damn you!". And even if I didn't I was going to anyway. I attribute this to the bonehead gene of defiance. But it does serve me sometimes. Anyway I signed up out of spite and wounded pride for my first race because by god even if I had to do it alone, I was going to do it.
Well I ran the Shamrock Shuffle in 2009 (5 miles) and it snowed like hell and it was 23 degrees and I did it. I ran the rest of summer and later signed up for the Hot Chocolate Race in November (9 miles) and got through that. And I even ran though the winter --- although I never signed up for a class. I just clomped through the streets and did my miles and spent a lot of time thinking while getting from point a to b. 2010 arrived and I did my annual Shamrock Shuffle to commentate my first full year of running. And then the unimaginable occurred. Not sure yet if its still fat girl defiance or something more lofty/finer -- but I signed up for the marathon. Yep the Chicago Marathon: 10/10/10. Today is my first training day and I'm to do three miles. And at the end of the week, the solo defiant one will run for the first time in her group and we will see what lies ahead. I'm more afraid of running with a group than actually running the 26 miles. Of course, the lesson is that we are always running in a group symbolically, we are never really alone: but I'm sure, just as this chapter began, it will provide some comedy along the way. All the same, the moxie that got me to this point is not going to be the only skill required to get me across that finish line. So here we go....