High Mileage

My legs are going to fall off.

This week I stepped up my running mileage a bit and actually ventured out of the comfort zone of my favorite treadmill at the gym to run in the fresh air. Against my better judgement, I joined my friend Kiki for an outside run this morning; when she texted to ask if I wanted to join her for an “easy, 3-4 mile, nothing crazy recovery run,” my first thought was to reply “NO.”

I have nothing against Kiki. She is a wonderful person and I enjoy spending time with her, but Kiki is afflicted with the condition of being a Fitness Freak. She likes running, she enjoys feelin’ the burn at the gym, She has been a model for SHAPE magazine, she has run Ultra Marathons*, and you know there is something a little suspect about someone who runs 3-4 miles on her rest day. On my rest day, I’m lucky if I walk downstairs to do my laundry.

Although I liked the idea of having a running buddy, the thought of trying to keep up with a Fitness Freak made me want to barf and curl up in the fetal position, but I also recognized that this could be a valuable learning experience and it was. I learned things like: I hate hills, it is possible to be cold and hot all at the same time, one nose can produce enough snot to soak through a pair of mittens- front and back, and jogging past a bakery is a twisted form of torture. I also learned that having a change of scenery keeps your run fresh, the different terrain presents you with a variety of challenges, and running alongside (ahem, or slightly behind) someone who has actual running talent can encourage you to step up your game a little.

In the end, we ran about 3.5 miles which is the longest I’ve ever run not on a treadmill (I know, I know, pathetic! Don’t judge me), and, although I wanted to quit halfway through, I didn’t. I’m glad I faced down the demons of my laziness and laced up my sneaks on a Saturday morning; this morning’s run reinforced my commitment to becoming more acclimated to running sans t-mill and I’m considering anchoring myself to Kiki for another run sometime in the future (a big slow anchor weighing down her sprightly steps). The only real disappointment of my day happened after we bid each other adieu and headed our separate ways when I glanced back over my shoulder as I began my trudge home and saw that she was sprinting, not walking, to her house. If Fitness Freak-dom is contagious, I guess it can’t be caught upon first exposure. I’ll have to try again.

How I feel when I think about running:

*Until I read the book “Be a Better Runner,” I wasn’t clear on what exactly an Ultra Marathon was. It is a 50 to 100 mile race. Run on foot. Your own feet. Somebody give me a barf bag, please.

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