Have you ever taken a quiz in a magazine, filled out a job application, or played one of those silly icebreaker games where you’re prompted to think of a few words to describe yourself? Never have I described myself as athletic. It’s simply not true. If you’ve spent any amount of time with my dad then you’ve probably heard tales of my notorious lack of prowess in basketball, gymnastics, track and field, dance, and even swimming. Now I love my father, but I cannot comprehend why he enjoys telling my friends about the time I made my only basket of the season: a foul shot between periods when they let us make “catch-up” baskets additive to our team’s score. The way my dad tells it, I was ecstatic over my success. He doesn’t understand what I did at eight years old: athletic victories are very few and far between for me.
When I graduated college three years ago, I started exercising on a regular basis. I joined the local YMCA and got on the elliptical a couple of times a week. (The treadmill terrified me.) I realized that exercising was a new hobby I could commit to. It would give me something to do after work and while Adam was studying or in class. In the midst of wedding planning, I started exercising more often and with more intensity than before. I didn’t do it to lose weight. I hauled myself to the gym 4 or 5 times a week so I wouldn’t be up to my eyeballs in floral arrangements and invitations. The elliptical was still my equipment of choice, though Adam would run with me around my apartment complex every few weeks. Then here comes July; three months until matrimony. I was bored with my exercise routine and decided to tackle the treadmill. I ran two miles without a whole lot of trouble. It was a victory my eight year old self would be excited about.
I have stuck with running despite a history littered with “I quit’s” in the area of sports. Since July, I have continued to improve. So far, I can run over two miles in about twenty minutes. I like running because it isn’t a team sport. No one has to rely on me to make the winning shot and I don’t have to beat the other guy out there. It’s just me and the miles. Two and half miles may not seem like much to those athletic folks out there, but it is something I am proud of. I have decided to run a 5K in April that supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, something that hits close to home since I lost a grandmother to blood cancer. Training for a race is motivating, but training for this race is added incentive for me.
I couldn’t write this post without thinking of my college days and a girl my friends and I fondly dubbed “Running Girl”. Sporting a bucket hat, round glasses, and long dark hair, Running Girl would dash through the Caf with a to-go box in hand every day. Before you knew it, you’d spot her out the window running through the Quad. She ran everywhere she went: between classes, through the University Center, the mail room, the parking lot. I’m not sure if anyone ever caught her long enough to ask her what her hurry was. If anyone knows, I’m quite curious. The other night Adam called me Running Girl as I set out for the gym. Then he said, “I wonder what happened to her. Do you think she’s still running?” I sure hope so. Running just wouldn’t be the same for me if I knew she quit.