Friday, May 12, 2006

Running

I used to be a runner. I loved to run. Everywhere I went I ran. And I was good. In high school, there were a couple years I beat most of the guys.

The first year I had to beg my mother to let me run. My first race, I ran in jeans and whatever shoes I had on. And I won out of my group. (Sorry if you've already heard that story. I know I've told it a million times.) I was built to be a runner. I loved the rush of crossing the finish line. Of getting the medal or the trophy.

But somewhere I quit liking it. Somewhere it became more work than fun. Somewhere it started hurting too much. Now, I'm proud of myself if I can make it a whole mile.

I watch the commercials for Nike or Adidas and think, "Man, wouldn't it be great if I were a runner?" I'd be in shape, healthy and if these women are any indication, happy. I also tell myself that if I just had a treadmill I would run. Pop on the ipod, crank up the tunes and run away.

This weekend there is a big race in town. And it goes right by our house. Well, last year the race went directly past our house. Now it is a couple blocks away. We complain that we have to walk three blocks to go watch it, while by the time they get to us, the runners have gone at least 12 miles.

Tonight I am volunteering at the registration center. I hand out instructions, maps, runners' numbers and their free t-shirt. There are so many people so excited about the race. Ready to go. Ready to beat their best times. Trained. It makes me wish I ran it. It makes me wish I could convince myself to train for it.

It is such an emotional experience for me. Every year I watch them all run by, it brings me to tears. I'm not sure if it's because the runners are in so much pain, or because I envy their dedication or because of the other people who are also cheering for everyone whether they know them or not.

But I'll be out there tomorrow morning in the rain. With my umbrella. And a mug of hot coffee. And I'll cheer for them. And I'll clap and yell as they run by. Because they can do what I can't do. They can do what I won't do.

14 comments:

james said...

You can bring Heather and I some coffee...we won't be far away...freezing in the cold and rain...

anne said...

I totally will!! :) What do you like in it?

beth said...

I will give you a jingle once I get down there...I am going to watch the start and then we're going over to the park (and then back to watch some of the finish). Do you know where you'll be cheering from?

Shawn said...

Oh my gosh- I have been totally feeling the same way lately about the running thing. Remember running together all the time in track? I was one boy you didn't beat ;) I feel soo old and slow though now. Tomorrow my branch is participating in a 5k race for inner city youth programs. That's only a tad over 3 miles. Should be easy to run, right?? But noooo... I am going to walk it. I feel so pathetic :(

anne said...

Planning on somewhere near the park entrance. I'll be with the crazy tall guy. :) And apparently carrying a lot of coffee...

james said...

i'll make it up to you....hey..you can set up a little stand and sell coffee

anne said...

Right Shawn...remember how you didn't run cross-country? That was the one I beat all the guys in. But track, I was pretty good there too. Won a lot of medals and such. Good times.

We are getting old...yeah, I can't run three miles either. Walking just sounds so much better.

anne said...

I could...but I doubt the runners want coffee... ; )

Carbon said...

I think you can get back into it!

Baby steps :)

Shawn said...

Ya- you were a good cross country runner. I regret not doing it. I actually was going to do it senior year but there was no cross country that year for some weird reason that I do not recall. So ,alas, I did not get to beat you there also :)

Hillary said...

Arg... running. I HATED it in high school. Detested it. LOATHED it, even. I could never make it through the 'fitness runs' and always ended up with a bad mark and even worse self esteem. But now, oh sweet joy! I actually enjoy it. I'm still not good, mind you, but I don't really care about that. It's more the fact that I don't feel like I'm gonig to DIE after about 5 seconds! It takes more like 10 seconds now! ;)

(lol, you think I'm kidding... I could NEVER do a marathon - or even a half. Those people are just crazy!)

Enjoy the day on Saturday. Don't feel bad - you've got to do what you enjoy, right?

Anna said...

I would like to hear your running story in jeans, I've never heard it before.

You inspired me to go running tonight. It was beautiful, cool, and something I owned as my personal time to reflect.

My lungs actually kicked into the point of working for me in a rythm. I hope you're encouraged by the effect your story had on me, to rekindle your love relationship with running soon.

And guess what, both of my armpits were sweaty! Not just the left one.

anne said...

You are too sweet, Anna. I'm so glad you got a good run out of my story!!

Ok, here it is. Seventh grade. My brother has been running for years and was pretty good. In my school, the runners were cool. Of course the runners were also on the basketball team and in band and etc. I graduated with a class of 14. And that was a big class.

So, I wanted to be a runner too. I begged and begged my mom, but she said I had to wait until I was older. One day we went to one of my brother's races, and again I begged her to let me run. I suppose she figured it couldn't hurt and maybe I wouldn't do so well and wouldn't want to run. I was wearing jeans and high tops. Mmm, high tops, those were the days.

Well, I beat all of the girls on my team and even some of the boys. That was lovely. With the pressure of the coach after that, she finally relented. I loved cross country for many years. Until it was more pain than fun. I know I need to get back into it. Maybe this summer?


Oh, and I'm very happy for your armpits... ;)

Anna said...

I love it! And you did it in style! Good story.