Friday, June 20, 2014

Trying Not to Die

So. I've been running. And slacking off on blogging. And stuffing my face with chocolatey things. And reading. And keeping children alive. And other stuff.

But back to running.

In this case, the term "running" refers to the act of puffing along on stubby little legs whilst worrying about being eaten by mountain lions (we live in the boonies and it's a totally rational irrational fear). It's my first foray into the sport since a brief stint in high school cross country. Ah, those were the days ...

*insert weird harp reminiscence-y music*

The year was 2006. I have no idea what was actually cool back then because I was homeschooled, but I thought blue eye shadow and tie-dye tunic tops and playing with dead bugs rocked. One (or perhaps all) of these quirks set off alarm bells for my mom, and she was like, "Uhhh, maybe you should find a hobby, honey".

Chess club, scrapbooking, Chemistry Lovers Anonymous - something like that. Unfortunately for me, none of those things existed in our small town. In their place, we had high school sports worship and 4-H. The first was out because of my longstanding dispute with flying spherical objects. The second was unacceptable because I refused to sell something I had raised from infancy to be slaughtered and eaten. I can't even watch Babe without crying, you guys.

After completing a 5K walk during an Independence Day celebration and taking third place (are you so totally impressed right now?), the cross country coach approached me and suggested I join the team. It was meant to be. According to the movies, cross country was for nerds (ME!). Cross country was for people with poor depth perception (ME!). Cross country was for people who actually liked math and chemistry (ME!). It was for misfits and weirdos (ME! ME! ME!).

It was my destiny.

For a month.

The primary problem was a severe case of shin splints. Luckily the injury also served as an excuse for extricating myself from what became a series of unfortunate embarrassing events.

I brought my bike INTO the school on the first day of practice, not because I was a rebellious bad ass (although the secretary definitely thought so), but because I was genuinely concerned that someone would steal it if I left it outside. *facepalm*

Also, we're confiscating your bike, Ms. Turner. Good luck getting home.
I walked straight into a horde of football players and got stuck in the middle of their stinky, sweaty, yell-y pregame huddle.

Beware of huddles.
I said "horror of horrors" in a conversation and everyone around me, with their dirty public school gutter brains, automatically assumed I was calling someone (the coach) a "whore of whores".

I unwittingly told a mean girl I thought someone was cute. She spread an inflated version of my admission around and I became the crazy homeschooled stalker girl. Copious amounts of blue eye shadow did not help my case.

And at my first and only race event, I went nuts because I thought I had left my glasses in a porta potty. I thoroughly searched every single one of them, surprising several people who had forgotten to lock the door (WHY, PEOPLE, WHY?). After delaying the bus for an hour, I finally gave up.

On the way home, I discovered my glasses in my extra pair of shoes.

I know, I know. But seriously. LOCK THE DAMN DOOR!

In hindsight, the coach seemed pretty excited when I told her I had to quit the team. Hmm.

All these (and more!) oh-so-mortifying experiences did two things. First, they created an aversion to high schools so deep I shudder just looking at one. Second, and possibly more detrimental, they forged a link between running and stomach-churning embarrassment. It wasn't really fair to running. I mean, it's not running's fault I was so bad at simulating normal teenagerhood. I've come a long way, though.

I mean, I actually know who Justin Timberlake is now. I don't know why he thinks backs are sexy, but whatever.

In a moment of sheer craziness I signed up for the ColorVibe 5K. I think my subconscious wants to break the connection between exercise and my poor artless teenage self.

Aaaand I was seduced by the promise of rainbows.

Aaaand I'm kind of desperate to find my butt bones under all this post-pregnancy padding.

Sweat plus a bunch of powered chalk? YES.
My first "training" session was mostly a messy whinefest where I declared my burning malevolence toward running and invented some sweet new cuss words. My toes burned. My guts bounced. I got a splitting headache. I produced an ignominious amount of spit and couldn't get rid of it because I am incredibly bad at spitting. I remembered the horrible awful terribleness of being a teenager.

But I survived. It's been four weeks and I'm still running. Much to my shock, it's getting better. Some runs/jogs/slogs are better than others. I am soooooo sloooowww. But with each jiggly step, I feel a little bit better. The race is this weekend. My goal is to run the whole way.

I'll be running from hideous blue eye shadow and toward a future of self-acceptance.

I'll be running from insecurity and toward a healthier perspective on life.

And I'll be running toward the lofty goal that someday, I will once again be able to feel my butt bones in this squishy ass mass.

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