I was going to hold off on this post for a little while but you know what motivates me: Amazon and iTunes gift certificates! So I figure I’ll just time it a bit earlier and if I don’t win one, hey, I was going to do this post next month anyway. But Randa Clay, this designer who does awesome themes (not the one I’m using, but you know I’m monogamous with my theme) is running a contest to base a post on a popular advertising slogan and one of the ones in her list of suggestions is what I’ve been calling this post in my mind all the time I’ve been planning it. We’ll see if you can guess what it is.
So you all have total recall and remember that last Summer I said I walked home through the park several times a week. As I walked along, people would whiz right past me. People who were running. The same thought would always occur to me: I want to be a runner! It seemed an impossible dream. I’m so not an athlete. I never played on any teams or did any extra-curricular sports. I know, this seems odd since I love sports but I didn’t so much as a kid and as an adult I became the sort of fan that sits at Yankee Stadium with a hot dog and largass soda. I hated the gym and only did it for health, never enjoyment. Although I’m a fast New York walker, I couldn’t really run more than a block without getting winded. And I never did that unless I was late for work. See? I’m motivated by that as well as free schwag.
I’d actually never run on purpose in public and I was kind of afraid to. I feared I ran like Phoebe in Friends (see picture). I imagined people sitting on benches in Riverside Park pointing and laughing. This was easy to picture as I once did that, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m not sure what was the biggest thing holding me back: the thought that I would look funny or the fact that I just physically was incapable of doing it. Then I found the Couch to 5k program. I prefer Couch to Fridge, but that didn’t feel like as much of an accomplishment. C to 5k starts really small, like with 60 seconds of running. This may not sound like a lot but it is when you get tired walking up the big stairway at the subway station. So I got a Nike+ thingy for my iPod and put together a playlist of alternating 60 second (running) and 90 second (walking) snippets. I got cute clothes that would make me want to run. And then I just went. And then I just started running. The song was New Order’s “Everything’s Gone Green” which has a slow intro and then builds to a sort of technotronic beat. It’s the song I always used to bike to at the gym. When I hear it now, I still think of its place at the front of my Week 1 playlist and the feeling I felt that day: “I’m running!” I used to walk/run in the evening, and the song that proceeded that one was “Slow Jam,” with its line: “The early evening mist, looked beautiful to me, it was sweeter than a kiss, I wish you all could see”… well, even then I thought of this post and I wished you all could see.
Running wasn’t like the gym. The gym sucked, staring at the wall or other people, thinking about them, wondering what they thought of you. Looking at your watch. Is this enough yet? Running was movement to music as the river and the trees and the bridge and the sun streaked by. Like dancing and flying at the same time, but with ugly sneakers.
But it was slow going. There are nine weeks to the program and I repeated all of them several times. It was sort of like “Couch to 5k via the scenic route” for me. In the middle I got really sick and had to abandon running for nearly three months. When that was over, it was like 20 degrees but I went back anyway. Sometimes, I dreamed of running. That’s when I started to think about actually doing a 5k. Could I really run over three miles with no stopping? I don’t know! But I can try. Due to that whole perfect recall thing as well as the fact that you read every single comment, you will remember that I said I don’t like doing “athons” because I felt bad asking my friends for money. I think people should give to causes they believe in, not necessarily say, “I support you,” through a donation to my favorite charity. But when my friend Meesh told me she was forming a small team to do the Philly Komen 5k for Breast Cancer Research and it would be really low-key because all the participants also do other Komen runs, I considered it. And then I found out it was on Mother’s Day. Even though my Mom died of BC, I’ve never really been a pink ribbon sort of person. But this felt right. I’m not a Mom so I haven’t gotten to celebrate Mother’s Day in a few years (unless you count going to Ikea because it’s totally empty that day). Now I will. But I still put Meesh off for a while. Just the same as it always had, this phrase popped into my head. OK, I hate that it’s from an advertising campaign, but come on, it works. Have you guessed it yet? Yes. Just.Do.It. That’s been my running theme (and hey, the Nike+ has been my running companion all this time). And so, I signed up for the Komen 5k. I’m still not there yet but I’m working on it! I know the unleashed dogs of Riverside Park admire my progress as I flee from them in terror.
I’m not putting up a link to my Komen page yet because I will probably do a Hamantaschen bake sale (raspberry and Nutella flavors) for Purim which is next week. Along with that, in case Komen isn’t your favorite charity (and you know mine is Doctors Without Borders but they didn’t have a race), I might also do the Station Family Fund since we did DWB last time. That way you have a choice! But I’ll put up the link then. If you’re in the Philadelphia area and want to escape from your mother or children, feel free to come see me race! I’ll be the one running like Phoebe.
I just wanted to dedicate this post to my friend-by-Internet, Linda/Liidi, who has been my running inspiration and advisor and just lost her beloved Dad. May all the good stuff Linda sends to others return right back to her.
Title is the way I misheard a lyric from:
New Order – Slow Jam