Saturday, June 23, 2012

Running? Fleeing?

I've been trying to mix up my routine lately, so I've decided to really try running. I've never liked running; I find it uncomfortable, often painful, and always humiliating. In one of my more masochistic phases I joined the track team in middle school (obviously, there were no try-outs). Track meets consisted of me, five-feet, white, slow and steady, vs girls from the other high school in my town, populated, apparently by mostly towering African-American freaks of nature. Picture Nathan Lane in drag lining up next to FloJo and you get the idea. Sometimes I couldn't finish because I was laughing too hard. It never affected the outcome, which was always predestined.

So with some trepidation I tried the treadmill at the gym, and discovered that treadmills aren't bad; they work with you, making it feel less like running and more like flying. I could go for a good length of time once I was warmed up; with my music on and my heart finding its cruising rate, I found I really enjoyed it.

Running outside was another matter. Running outside means a surface, usually hard, that does not move with you. It says, "Run or don't run; it's all the same to me. I'm a sidewalk. I've got all kinds of time." The impact was greater, I felt more earthbound, and worst of all, I was outside, where everyone could observe my struggles to run a fraction of the distance I could on the beloved Treadmill of Encouragement.

I knew that if I could find a running buddy it would be easier; I'd done this in college a few times and it made a big difference. Problem is, none of my friends wanted to (I'm beginning to realize that people I consider my friends are not people with whom I have a lot in common. This has caused a lot of reflection over the past week. Topic for another post, when I'm not feeling pissy about it all).

My chiropractor recommended a Chicago running group, and sure enough, they have training. I signed up. It went like this:

Show up at meeting point, a high-end gym so opulent that the bathroom causes you to stop short when you first enter because it is approximately three times the size of your apartment and you literally lose your orientation when you walk in.  Worry that the Ponytail Police will serve you a citation for being in violation of Trendy Code 1.3.C, with added time for applying polish to your own toenails. Wait in atrium on large 3-sided couch while other runners join you. Note that as always you are older by far than everyone, and amuse yourself with your usual routine of talking to them like you're also a human being similar in many ways to them, almost the same species even, watching them get all polite-awkward. Fail to care, since your arms and legs are better than most of theirs, and your stomach more flat. (This is what happens when you don't consider beer a food group, girls. Watch and learn.) Realize after a few minutes that everyone is staring at a hand-held device and saying nothing to one another. Consider suddenly shouting YOUR GENERATION IS DESTROYING CIVILIZATION, but decide to hold that ace for another time.  When the trainers arrive, prepare to tell them that you will be in the beginner group, but when they ask for a show of hands, realize you would be the only one. Raise your hand with others in the 5K-training group of about six people.

Go outside, do stretching exercises on a busy sidewalk, then take off in a group. Run for one mile along side streets and the lakefront, listening to the one guy in the group tell another girl that his girlfriend gets angry because he calls her on the phone to talk rather than texting her. Consider asking him to tell his ungrateful psycho of a GF that she is destroying civilization, but instead suggest that the next time he's in bed with her he say nothing but text her instead.

Remind self to work on filters. Play rhythmic running music in your head.

Run one mile, stop with the group, rest, drink some water, run a mile back. Second mile is easier. Discuss muscle issues with the leader of the other group, a seemingly cool woman who isn't put off by your overactive energy gene.

Genuinely look forward to your own run this weekend. For now, the soreness.


karen said...

er ... I don't run but I love you anyway. I only run in stiletto heels to catch the last bus home. Other than that, nope, nahah, nevah. <3

karen said...

Okey. So this is how allergic to the whole running thing I am: I commented first, then read. Ahem. I suck right now, I know, but I will sort-of redeem myself in a private message. I promise.

About this post, yup, yep, I am right there with you feeling disjointed, like the friends I have are not really people I belong with, but not entirely sure if there exists a subgroup for me. How many of us are there? I worry about that.

I have a very very different build than yours, from what I can see. Big boobs, thighs, feet, butt. Mostly I don't have a problem with it, despite my former eating disorder I sort of have a reverse body dysmorphia that only doesn't work when I see pictures of myself in the wrong clothes (always my favourites, of course) and suck my breath in through my teeth loudly. I am a bike girl.

I don't like the collision with the pavement, and there may be scientific reasons that I need to respect about that, like some new bone burrs on places that I may have irritated.

But I love your exploration of your place. I know this has a one-woman show to it, but it would be better if it were a two women show, mostly monologues, but sometimes the monologues lead into dialogue ... two very different women. A fringe thing.

Uh ... I may or may not have seen a play tonight. You guess. Then I walked home in my stilettos, in a lovely downpour. I probably needed all of that except the shoes. *grin*

Funny, some of my nieces and nephews are a part of that generation of which you speak. Some are ruining it, some of them are freaking awesome.

K. Going to bed ... "early".

JC said...

"yep, I am right there with you feeling disjointed, like the friends I have are not really people I belong with, but not entirely sure if there exists a subgroup for me. How many of us are there? I worry about that."

Oh My God. Exactly.

"despite my former eating disorder I sort of have a reverse body dysmorphia that only doesn't work when I see pictures of myself in the wrong clothes "

Funny you should say that _- I hve the same issue, Despite a lifetime if always, ALWAYS lookgin amy myself critically, I now seem unable to see me in the mirror as anything but normal. then I see photos and it's as though someone's played a trick on me, changed all the mirrors. Only lately have I truly believed that it's OK to just be who I am and look like I do.

I'm not running girl, either, believe it or not. Well, I've never really been. I love my bike like The lone Ranger loved Silver. I think the running thing is a sort of personal quest. I just discovered that the Elvis LIves! 5K is on my birthday (also the day of his death). I'm thinking it would be a great way to celebrate my last year before 50....

karen said...

Oh yes. An Elvis Lives 5K would be completely and thoroughly worth the effort, especially if you get all dolled up like Elvis. Please do! And if it is somewhere on a decent train line. I prefer to get places on trains, eh.

Okay. Chickens (I mean children) awake. I gotta fly.