Running. I used to think of running in terms of running away from something. Commitment. Responsibility. A mugging. Never as something anyone would do voluntarily. Why would anyone ever run when they could walk, drive, or stand still? It makes no sense. But then I ran into my Ex, and he was with his fiancée. That’s another type of running - "running into" - that sucks. He couldn’t stop talking about running. Running, running, running. He went on and on about how they - the happy couple - were training for a marathon.
My Ex was annoying before, but now he had become a smug runner. He was marrying a smug runner. You know the type. Runners that casually say they’re going for a 10-mile jog at 5 AM, as though it’s a trip around the corner. They always eat whatever they want, while forever fitting into a size 2. Athletic by nature, they effortlessly and easily run and barely break a sweat. Damn their good genes.
My Ex had mastered soccer, baseball, downhill skiing, volleyball, and now he ran marathons. Listening to him talk about running was boring and annoying, but it lit something inside of me. A fire. A passion. A need to not be one-upped, while I was standing on the street with no make-up on, eating a bagel, having just rolled out of bed around 2. It was the day I became a runner. I didn’t run that day, but my mouth sure did.
Running is a solitary sport. You don’t need much except for a pair of sneakers and some road. Unless you’re me. If you’re me, you need the best running sneakers, the perfect sports bra and shorts, and your best friends. There was no way I was going to train and run a half marathon by myself. Did I mention I told the Smug Runners/Happy Couple that I was a runner as well, and that I was going to be running a half marathon in a few months? As it turned out, so were they. The next thing I knew, I was bullshitting that I was going to be running the same one they were running. I also lied about my mile time, and that I’d ran a bunch of half marathons before this one, you know, as jelly was dripping out of my bagel. Sometimes, I don’t even know why I talk.
I conference called my BFF (Best Friend Forever) and Time Of Our Lives (She is always looking to have the time of her life). These are my two friends who are ready to get involved in any hairbrained scheme I come up with. The three of us arecut from the same cloth. All or nothing. Live or die. In or out.
Extreme, crazy, and ready for anything, when I told them what happened they were on board right away. We needed to train and compete in a half marathon in a matter of months. None of us had been running at all. We had all been doing the opposite. Binge drinking, binge eating, binge sleeping, binge binging. We’d been having a binge life in every type of sloth-filled way. Now we were about to start binging on being healthy. The most exercise I’d been doing was a yoga class that let you lay down for half the class. BFF had a bum ankle. And Time of Our Lives smoked two packs a day.
I found some running program on the internet, so I had our running schedule for the next 12-weeks. We’d run once a week together and do the other runs on our own. We met in Manhattan in Central Park at the Reservoir for our first run. It’s about 2 miles around. After the first 2 minutes, I was out of breath, BFF was limping, and Time of Our Lives thought we should take a break. It was cold. We were all hung over from the night before. This was not how we thought the first day would go. This was supposed to be the first run of the rest of our lives. Instead we all left each other discussing ways we could ice our bodies.