You know that commercial in which people yell, “Red one!” or “Blue one!” and punch the person next to them in the shoulder? Well, me and my kids have our own version. Called: “Fast runner!” “Slow runner!” or “Runner with dog!”
It’s my own fault really. I live in Farmington. People in Farmington, Centerville, and even as far as Bountiful, like to run. They’re everywhere. There are many days in which we can easily count a half dozen or more. One day we counted up to ten. Rarely, if ever, is there a day we don’t see at least one runner.
This game happened to start with me. It didn’t originally start off as a game, but more as an observation. I’d point and say, “Look! There’s a runner. They look happy.” I always look. I want to see beads of sweat and faces puffed out in an attempt to catch their breath. I have yet to see this. Every one of them, even the slow ones, look as though running is no big deal, like their pleased as punch to be doing it.
My kids love this game, “Look mom, there’s one!” Then they slug me in the shoulder.
I look as these runners with wide eyes, like a child at the zoo watching an exotic animal. I’m intrigued. I don’t get it. It is a strange wonder, a different species.
The Ragnar is quickly approaching. I am terrified (13.1 miles . . . are you kidding me?). I am learning some things: my calf muscles are getting stronger, while my lungs are not (my new asthma inhaler does not appear to be making much difference). I have learned that if I do not use my inhaler at least 15 minutes prior to running, and then walk a little bit to warm up my lungs to get them prepared , I will only get a mile into it and throw up. If I don’t carry my inhaler on my person, then the measly one mile back to my car is horrendous. This happened yesterday. My worst running experience to date. But now I know exactly what I did wrong. I will not repeat it. Have I mentioned that I am a slow learner as well as a slow runner?
I will run tomorrow. I will put into practice what I know works for me. I need to stop comparing myself to other runners, which is a hard thing to do (even as I write this I have tears in my eyes). I want to be better. I want to do well at this, or at least be average. Maybe even a little below average would be nice—I would be quite content with that. You know how your kids are graded from 0-3? I would love to be a 1. Being a 0 sucks. I don’t like the idea of “losing” at anything. If I put my mind to something, then shouldn’t I be able to accomplish it? Why then does this have to be so gosh darn difficult?
Am I a runner? Heck no. Should I quit? Probably. Will I? We’ll see. For now, I will keep trying.