I cover from head to toe last Sunday to set off for my five-mile run in arctic temperatures. When it hits the low 20s in New York, you feel a little closer to the Santa and imagine Polar Bears might attack if you don’t pick up speed, the latter good motivation to not quit. In my no-can-show-skin get-up, I can easily be mistaken for ski patrol or, say, a bank robber, my ear lobes the only parts exposed to the elements. I am determined to run. But I am even more determined to stay warm. Music set to my SuperHero playlist, I am out the door, off and running. SuperHero, because I always feel like a Superhero by the time I make it back home. Plus, my go-to song is actually “SuperHero” by Family Force 5. My run usually slows to a jog when it comes on. Because I can’t run as fast when I sing out loud. And when you have headphones in, you can’t tell how loud or how off-key you’re singing. Yeah. I’m that runner.
I am what you might call an addicted socialite. Running is supposed to be a private affair. I mean, the headphones alone suggest the desire for some me-time. And I do. Get and enjoy plenty of minutes alone with me, myself, and my tunes. But, when I see a fellow jogger in my pathway, coming right toward me with a hop in his or her trot, I can’t help but smile and raise my arm for a passer-by high-five. Out of all the runners I’ve passed, only two have actually responded. With an enthusiastic, slap of palms, that is. And one was Hubby. Which means I’m pretty much down to one. Yup. I’m that runner.
And as I jog on, I pull out my iPhone to take pics. Of stuff on the ground. On the side of the road. Trees off to the side. Cool leaves shaped like hearts. Branches that look like wish bones. Metal scraps that look like ancient artifacts, one I’m sure was an old Indian arrow-head. The pics are mostly fuzzy since it’s not easy to run and snap click simultaneously. Yes. I’m, well, that runner.
And the guys building the broken fence on Bayville Road, the first time I pass them, I say, “Hello,” but that’s not enough time to have a conversation. So I turn backwards and ask, “How’s it going?” and “Crazy to be working in this freezing weather, huh?” and “Can you guys still feel your fingers?” before I turn forward to keep running. Then, because I’m running this 2.5 mile loop twice today, when I pass them a second time, I see them smiling. They know me. We’re practically friends now. So I bust out with a daring, “And you two better have this fence up and finished the third time I come around!” And they laugh. Which is great. But I don’t actually run a third loop to find out if they finish the fence, but I consider leaving a sticky note saying, “Good job guys!” the next time I run by Baily’s arboretum, across from this long stretch of white fence. Wondering if I’ll recognize the section they fixed? Or if they’ll ever come back to find the note? Umm. Ye-ah. I’m. That runner.
And the thing is, I don’t really like to run. So I don’t mind interruptions to my run. Like the other day, it finally happened, the thing my marathon runner friend Juan warned me about. A car pulls up next to me, nearly clipping me off the road, and a window rolls down. “Excuse me, Miss. Wanna buy some candy? The white stuff will make you, oh, so happy, and this tiny little bag is a mere one million dollas!”
First of all, do you really think if I’m running to improve my health that I have the desire to enhance my performance with the use of illegal drugs? Okay, I suppose with the recent events in the news regarding Lance, I can see how dealers might approach wannabe athletes.
Second of all, do you really think I carry Benjamins rolled up in my socks or my sleeves while I work out. I did that once. In high school. I was wearing something without pockets and some friends had pitched in for a pizza party. Where did this Einstein put the green? Rolled up the bills in her sleeve. Then after a few games of tag and nonsense running on the huge school front lawn, come to find out the sleeve unrolled. The green was gone. Wahhh. True story. But I digress. I do not, for the record, run with cash on me.
Finally, okay, I can’t lie, any longer. The truth is, the women in the passenger seat didn’t try to sell me crack. But she did ask for directions. So I jogged around the car while trying to remember which was north and which was east and by the time the instructions of how to get to Oyster Baby came out, I sounded like a bona-fide girl from the Caribbean, “Well, you go so and then you turn so, and you go so, and by the time you get to so, you’ll see it my friend.” Can’t say I didn’t learn anything those years I spent on the beach in Dominica while Hubby attended med school.
So, once again, I must admit. I’m. That. Runner.
Which makes me all the more sad to announce I won’t be writing any more running stories for four to six weeks. Because I won’t be running for four to six weeks. I tweaked my right calf two and a half runs ago and, yes, I shouldn’t have done those last two runs with an injured calf. Best Dr. Hubs can tell, I have a small tear in my calf muscle, not big enough to warrant alarm, but painful enough to demand rest and patience. Lots of it. And bring on the drugs. The legal, anti-inflammatory kind, that is. Cuz right about now. Aint feeling too much like a Super Hero.
But the song. I can still listen to. And my lungs. Still kicking. So I’ll sing myself to sleep and pick up the pace in a month and a half. Have to say no to the half marathon I planned to run in March … but hopefully, I’ll be up and ready for the Tough Mudder in June. Whatcha gonna do? Life.
I know a lot of you are runners out there? Any of you have quirky running habits? And how are you, those of you that are off your feet recovering from an injury, keeping fit without the use of your running legs? What’s on your running playlist? Just one song will do!