This spring I wrote about how I've been starting to run again after nearly a decade of practically no running whatsoever. It has been a hard slog to get back into running, but I've kept at it. Last month, when Backbencher and I went home to visit my family and friends, we did a little run at Maxwell Park, the site of most of our home XC meets in high school. While the trails have changed, the smell and the feel had not, and it felt good. Really good, in fact.
Most of you who know us in the real world know that since our return from that trip, we've been trying to get pregnant. This has had some great benefits, not least of which that I'm able to resist most fast food places, have given up caffeine and alcohol, and am highly motivated to get in better shape. This past week I managed six workouts, with at least 5 runs worked in.
Now, mind you, I am still jogging at a snail's pace and only for a maximum of 2 miles. But every lap I run is one lap I wasn't running a month ago, so it's progress. And when I go in the morning, a dear older friend Bill cheers me on as he walks his laps. Some of the other retired folk I know also give me good support.
But the Sunday afternoon crowd has a totally different vibe. Today there were a ton of high school students working out/goofing off. When I started, a young girl was running very quickly. Now, to one getting started running again, getting lapped by a kid half your age is discouraging. But I remembered my training to run my own race, my own pace, and my own laps, and got started. I quickly noticed that this girl would go very fast for about a lap and a half, then stop to chat with her friends, or look down at the kids on the basketball court, or get some water.
I suppose I could have been annoyed, but mostly I was really grateful that she never actually lapped me. She would pass me, but before she could pass me again, inevitably she would stop. I kept "running my race" and soon realized that, in terms of sheer number of laps run, I was actually ahead of her. Tortoise and hare, indeed.
She reminded me of me as a high school (and to some extent, college) runner: loving to run but not really motivated, trying to get out of as much of a workout as I could while still getting something out of the workout, looking for any excuse to delay running those laps, and frankly kind of lazy. Being between seasons, the fact that she's there running laps at all is a step above whatever I did, so I'm not criticizing her. In fact, it was very encouraging, because I realized today that I really do love running, and that today, I am running for myself and with myself. That's a big change from when I ran primarily because I loved being on a team and loved my teammates.
And, when I'm struggling in my run, it's not wrong that I always imagine Shemar Moore (from Criminal Minds) calling me "Baby Girl" and cheering me on, right?