Clearly I’m not a “natural runner”. Whatever that is. (I suspect one begins by being born in Kenya.)
However, I was raised to appreciate the benefits of exercise, so when I started college, I fished around for something to keep off the freshman fifteen. For a couple of years I toyed with aerobics classes, free weights, gym equipment and even a few fitness videos (they were still videos then) before I tried running.
Well, why not? All an able-bodied person needs is athletic shoes, comfortable clothes and a place to run, right? It’s cheap and accessible. My kind of activity.
Also, I was influenced by the runners I saw every day on the way to school and work. Sparsely clothed and seemingly oblivious to everything around them, they ran through the steaming heat of summer and the biting winter temperatures. Runners struck me as strong, independent and focused. I wanted to be all of those things.
Besides, I couldn’t do it and that bugged me. Sure, I could run across the parking lot to catch my shopping cart before it crashed into a jet-black Hummer. But I couldn’t run, steadily, for any respectable distance. It didn’t feel good. And the so-called runner’s high apparently kicks in sometime after one city block because it continued to elude me.
Help came one wintery day in the form of a fitness magazine, one of those publications that feature women on the cover who are not only thinner than you are but have much cuter workout clothes too. Somewhere past the product endorsements and Five Exercises to a Fitter Fanny, I discovered an article about training to run a 5k. This article outlined a plan that would allow any person, at any level of fitness to gradually increase their running stamina until they could run 3.1 miles without stopping. Brilliant! It seemed much more reasonable than heading out the door to run a few miles once a year when the weather was nice and one just felt like a runner.
I was ready to start. But an undertaking like this required running clothes. Not “athletic wear” from the local discount store but the real thing. (Maybe not those silly looking shorty shorts with the built-in underwear, but something from a store where only runners shop.)
So the next time I inflict a running-related post upon you, my gentle readers, I’ll take you with me into a running store. And just so you don’t suffer too much anxiety between now and then: I didn’t set off an imposter alarm when I walked through the door; I found the items I needed; they were even kind of cute.
Wishing I still fit into those running clothes,