I am a really awkward runner. I’m short and slow and just not particularly athletic–which I’m totally ok with because I’ve known it for a while now. When I was younger, I used to sit in the grass and make dandelion chains in the outfield at softball and invent baton routines with my stick at lacrosse. So yeah, group athletic activities have never been for me. And freshman year, when I was still under the delusional impression that I could do sports, I attempted cross country. Ask anyone from the team (ACTUALLY NO PLEASE DON’T): it was rough. It looked something like this…
I was a champion.
But despite all of my athletic disasters, I’ve started running more lately. In January, a few friends and I decided to sign up for the Flying Pig Marathon relay, in which we each have to run about 6 miles. While that isn’t all that much to those doing the whole marathon, it’s a big deal for me (which I’m pretty embarrassed about considering that many of you Journalism-class readers are fantastic runners). So I set out, a failed cross country runner and established non-athlete, to train. And, against all odds, it’s actually going really well. I’ve improved a lot and I really enjoy it. And now I look like this!
Just kidding. I don't at all. But I really am getting better!
But, because I’m me, it’s been salty at times. As a novice runner, I’m not quite up to the caliber of the cool kids yet. Here are some loser-runner circumstances I’ve encountered…
Running around Mariemont, I inevitably see the town’s entire population while out. I try to be pretty friendly, but seriously: do I have to wave to everybody? I look like a hot mess when I run and the last thing I want to do is give a wave and a smile to everyone I see. Cause I’m pretty sure, in my running state, they don’t want to have to look at me. Also, I kinda get in my zone. I like to look straight ahead and I get distracted if there are a bunch of Mariemoms patrolling the town that expect my greetings. Finally, on rainy days, I run at the Sportsmall. The track there is incredibly narrow, which makes for salty times. Am I allowed to pass people? I always feel annoying when I squeeze by other runners. Also, why do people think it’s ok to walk side by side?! I just don’t get it sometimes.
My theater-geek tendencies are no secret. So it’s no surprise that my affinity for showtunes extends to my running playlist. While others like blaring rap or some inspirational pop, I just blast Sondheim and the Spring Awakening soundtrack. I realize that this further decreases my running credibility but I don’t care; Merrily We Roll Along makes me go faster. Thankfully, when I run with my iPod, no one should be able to tell what I’m listening to. Except everybody does because I mouth the words.
In addition to my lack of appropriate music, I also don’t wear the right thing. I don’t do the whole Nike ensemble; I basically just opt for an old t-shirt and whatever athletic shorts are somewhat clean. In my shabby clothes, I always get jealous of those runners who look like they jumped out of a LuluLemon ad; I don’t get how they can look that good running. Also, I also don’t have an iPod arm band. I just hold mine, which is like a flashing neon sign that says “New Runner!” But I like having it in my hand…it makes it easier to pick the best songs on my Broadway playlist.
So clearly I’m a salty new addition to the runner club. But I’m trying to improve and I feel like I’m getting less awkward with time. By the day of the Pig, I should maybe sort of blend in! So if you see the kid tentatively passing people, singing Sweeney Todd, and almost looking like a runner, wave and give me a confidence boost! Life is salty.