Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Why she runs

For Finny, and for kick-ass women everywhere.

“I must be a fucking masochist,” she said to herself. Well, actually, she said it out loud. What’s the point of being not just awake but actually running at fucking 6 am if you can’t talk to yourself and cement the impression that you are Crazy Lady.

“Why?” She’d left a husband in that blissful half dozing-half awake state to pull on tights she was afraid made her ass look like you could show Lawrence of Arabia on it just to leave the warm, cozy house. And run.

She knew the first 10 minutes always sucked. It was just something you had to force yourself to do. It was cold, it was painful, it was really fucking stupid. No sane, intelligent person would forego that last, delicious hour of sleep to put herself through this kind of punishment. And, to add insult to injury, it was starting to rain.

In spite of Elvis Costello warning her that accidents can happen, she wasn’t really paying attention to the world around her. She was too busy swearing at the hill that looked like a bump when she drove it but which felt like Denali when she ran.

“Think about something else,” she instructed herself, forcing herself to notice the neat lawns and the leafless trees of the neighborhood. The ugly gray house that she once threatened to paint herself because it was such an eyesore. The classic Mustang parked in a driveway that badly needed to be repaved.

Was it just so she had free reign to eat cheesecake? Was that why she ran? She pondered the importance of cheesecake in her life and decided it was not to be underrated. Was it vanity? The desire to be able to wear shorts in the summertime and not look seriously white trash? Well, that was a point. Health? Yay, maybe, in some “I don’t want to be too much of a grown up but not being a fat, heart-diseased slob is a good thing” sort of way.

Suddenly though, the hill was crested and she made the gentle turn down her favorite street. Long and flat, lined by Crafstman style homes with charm and not too much pretense. No nasty cracked sidewalks to beware of. No yippy dogs. No traffic to dodge or bicyclists to swear at. Just a smooth run where she could kick it up, kick it in, and get all Zen about the run.

Her body was no longer cold with the memory of that warm bed. Her legs were no longer protesting the indignity of being asked to work so hard. Her body and mind finally getting into the rhythm they'd been looking for since she'd left the front porch. Even the right music kicking in on the iPod, playing beats in perfect harmony with her legs. She felt the cold air fill her lungs, heard her feet slapping on the pavement in tune to the music in her head and found, at last, that perfect running moment. Focused enough to keep track of pace, rhythm, breathing; comfortable enough to note the fat black crows on the power pole and the ass on the cute bicyclist passing her in the street. She was hip Zen running chick.

"Oh yeah," she smiled to herself, "that's why I run."

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