What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Lady who uses "run" as a noun, I want to be you. You in the Lululemon pants bulldozing through a crowded downtown sidewalk when you could have saved us all some shuffling by taking a different street. Instead of slapping your tight ass into next Tuesday, people with someplace to actually go move out of YOUR way. Like the Queen of Hearts, all ways are your ways. You are magic, lady who goes for "a run," and I want to fill your fancy sneaks with my lazy feet.
I'm 31 and I can no longer be a woman who doesn't know how to put one foot in front of the other, then again and again and, you get the picture. So last Friday I got my run on for the first time since Coach Sarafian's fifth period P.E.
Anyone who doesn't do something, like say paint, line dance, bird watch, will first want to look the part. You buy an easel with matching smock, a cowboy hat, binoculars and then have a go at it. I am not different.
Since I'm the Marlon Brando of trying new things I have to tap into my own experiences in order to really get into the part. I don't pretend, I recreate. Hence my "running face," which is a mix of my old school cheerleading competition grin and also how I look when I'm watching "Glee."
Once that was settled, I knocked out a few practice laps around the couch.
"What are you doing?" asked my new running buddy/boyfriend.
"Is this right? Look at my arms. How are my arms? Also, what's my hair doing?"
After informing me that my shoulders were too high, my arms were moving too much and that I needed to drink more water, we headed outside to do this thing.
It was snot freezing cold, which after complaining about I figured was a good thing, seeing as how my main concern was my hair "sweating out." (A brief sidenote on naturally curly hair that's been straightened: Whether you're black, plaid or purple, if your heat styled hair gets wet in any way it'll rebel by going back to Africa, South America, the Caribean, Fiji, wherever. Nobody wants this to happen, least of all the woman who paid $150 to get her hair straight in the first place. This keeps tons of women from working out. Seriously. Just ask the Surgeon General of the United States.)
At the crosswalk, I was informed by my running buddy that the plan was to jog with a soft "j" up to the Capitol, hang a right and then come back down to HQ. He was tinkering with his iPhone and heart monitor and gigglywhatsits while I checked to see if people were watching. I'm about to run! This is huge.
"Wait wait, we just start? We just go?" He was already across the light.
Running, or "jogging" isn't so bad. Without an iPod to distract me from the visible white lines of gentrification from "our street" to "their street," I decided to chant some nonsense in my head in order to regulate my breathing and heartrate as we fast-pranced up North Capital Street.
I did a whole quarter of a mile without stopping and felt like I could totally do more. Until we did.
By the time we got close to the Capitol, about another mile and a half, I was ready to barf. My chest burned and every time I thought about coughing, the image of me projectile vomiting on some senator on his way to fixing America made me feel unpatriotic. I asked for a break.
"You're doing so g--"
Needless to say, we decided not to run up to the actual Capitol buiding and instead took a short cut back home through a street with only the slightest of inclines -- if you're walking. K Street turned into Mount Kilimanjaro. Being dragged through broken crack vials and dreams seemed like a better idea than running up that slight incline turned hill turned 90 degree vertical climb.
Also, I was lied to repeatedly.
I mean how well do you really know your significant other? Enough to trust him when he says, "After this block we'll walk, promise" or "I think you can push it!" or "OK, just make it to the light!" Lied to, I tell ya!
But no lie, a woman stopped at the light saw me bent over, dry heaving, and offered me water.
"I've got it in the trunk," she yelled from her car. I was mortified and also reinvigorated with a love for all humanity. I ran three more blocks.
All the walk home, I did that squinty, hissing face real athletes do after they've finished a good run. I'd felt the burn and it was fiery sweet, although the whole endorphin high has yet to kick in. All I wanted to do was shower and, of course, see what my hair was doing.
"It looks good," answered my boyfriend and I was too tired to question the lie.