I am a runner. I get up to run every morning at 5:30 with my faithful friend. We pound out the steps in the inky blue blackness, watching the sky start to lighten over the eastern mountains. During the summer, the suns rays will shoot over the mountain top toward the western valley, but we run in the nook of the eastern foothills, hidden in shadows for at least another hour. We run, we walk, we huff and puff up impossible hills, smile and sprint down blessed declines. We choose to sweat and struggle, pounding our knees, wondering why we didn’t wear three sports bras instead of just two.
I have seen myself running on film exactly once. I was smiling a stupid smile, not knowing that the gelatinous body I own was jiggling all around me, arms flapping in the sunlight, breasts in desperate need of duct tape. I have since dived deep into the recesses of the mountain’s shadow, running where only my partner can see the spectacle. But the point of this discussion is not about jiggling, or Relief Society arms or sports bras, or even sunrise, so I’ll just move on.
I really hate running. I wake up every morning with a thousand reasons I don’t want to go. I rub my eyes and get dressed only because I know Jane* is waiting for me. I walk into her driveway and always – always – say, “I’d be ok if we just walked today. I’m feeling…” then insert an appropriate ailment, malady, stressor, sadness. Every day, we start to run “just to get warmed up”. By the time we hit the end of the first mile, I’m resigned to keep running. Last summer, we would run four or five miles each morning, but since I had a slight mis-hap last summer, we’ve started over and are only going around three miles a day at the moment. By the time three miles comes, I would like to borrow someone else’s lungs. Or throw up. Or maybe just punch something.
But here’s the part that might make me crazy. Every night, as I lay my running clothes out for the next morning, I get so excited. My head sounds like this: I really want to push it tomorrow; it’ll be so great if we could get up the cemetery hill in under 3 minutes; I bet we can get closer to four miles if we go up toward canyon park and back; that would be so great; I love feeling sore, it makes me feel so alive; maybe we could even just go five miles and see how it feels; I’m so excited!
What the freak is wrong with me? What happens during the night? I can’t figure out which feeling I need to work on – why I get so lazy, or why I get so excited. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got a couple of different people kickin’ around in my head. If I don’t go running for a couple of days, I get antsy and start longing to go. As soon as I hit the ground with my first step, I want to crawl back into bed with a pan of brownies in hand.
Does anyone else have this trauma going on in their head? And it doesn’t have to be about running. I also feel that way about cooking on occasion. I get so excited when my Cook’s Country magazine comes – I want to try everything in there. I buy all the ingredients with glee, schedule my time to do it happily, and arrive at the appointed time with dread.
I am clearly disturbed.
*name has been changed to protect the innocent viewer of my jiggliness.