I never loved running. I ran track at St. Michael Catholic School during 4th grade because that’s what all my pals did. We were cheerleaders during football and basketball seasons, we ran track in the spring, and we Irish Danced and participated in Girl Scouts all year round. The nice thing about running was, even though it’s not easy, it was something I could do. I dreaded the days we’d play kickball or baseball in gym class, because hand-eye coordination has never been my jam. I remember one particular day, my very kind and well -meaning gym teacher had me stay at the home plate until I finally hit the ball, despite my continuous strike outs. (To my credit, this was also right before I got my first pair of glasses; perhaps I can blame the event on my inadequate depth perception.) This was meant to be an opportunity for me to grow, learn, have a mini midday victory. But it was just embarrassing. Finally, she let me scurry to the back of the line and wait for my next turn at bat.
(This must’ve been 5th grade- the spring before I moved to Ohio. I can accurately name the year based on my progression in my awkward stage. 1.) Benjamin Franklin-esque glasses (selected in an attempt to make my glasses seem as small/unnoticeable as possible- spoiler alert- it backfired) CHECK 2.) Gangly arms- CHECK 3.) Braces and nighttime headgear- still to come)
Running, however, was possible. Even if I wasn’t the fastest, I could do it. When I moved to Ohio my sister joined the middle school cross country team, and the following year, I followed in her footsteps. I ran all the way through my junior year of high school, eventually quitting my senior year–couldn’t go to meets because of my rehearsal and college audition schedule. I kinda stopped running after that. A few times in college I would run a mile to prove to myself I could do it—but I never enjoyed it. In fact, I NEVER got that runners high, or hit the point where running felt… fun? Satisfying? Easy? Nope. Never happened. In my 7 years of being on a running team, my favorite parts of the whole ordeal were-
1.)Carb loading the night before a race, with my team that I loved so dearly.
2.)Laughing and joking and sometimes complaining with my fellow runners during our cool downs
3.) Eating goldfish and candy-bars-masquerading-as-granola-bars after the race
4.) Listening to/singing along with mix CDs on team bus trips
5.) The sense of community I felt being apart of a team
Maybe its because the seasons are changing, and the crisp fall air makes me sentimental for our cross country practices and team dinners. For whatever reason, I have decided to start running again. This time, I actually kind of enjoy the running part. Maybe as an adult I have more perspective and am simply grateful that my body allows me get up in the morning and run. Maybe I like that in a theatre world were so often success feels unmeasurable, I can set achievable, clear cut running goals. Maybe I just realllllly like having feeling like a rockstar whenever a Beyoncé song comes on my iPhone. I used to be embarrassed by my slower pace or my shorter distance. But now I’m like whatever, dude. At least I’m trying. And what’s more- I’m actually having a good time.