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Judge Me Not By the Strength of My Stride, But By the Stink of My Sweat

So, if I may brag for a moment…

I ran 9 miles today.

Which I’m pretty damn proud of.  To quote Kyle, “You’ve officially crossed over from ‘running to loose weight’ to ‘running because you’re insane.'”  Plus, it kinda makes me feel like a badass to be able to be able to be like, “Yeah, go ahead and add protein powder to my smoothie, I ran my nine miles this morning.”  Badass.

During the actual run, however, I was not badass.  That gliding vision of grace and strength and 6-packs?  Not me.  I was more of a slogging vision of sweat and labored breathing and wedgies.  That runner that you see bouncing down the sidewalk in tiny shorts and a sports bra, bopping along to her iPod?  The one that makes you think, “Damn, I wish I could look like her,”?  That was not me.  That runner that you see dragging her ass down the sidewalk in spandex pants and a ratty zip-up, wiping her nose on her sleeve and cursing under her breath?  The one that makes you think, “Well, good for her, trying to get in shape.”  That was me.

Every pedestrian I crossed paths with, every driver that let me cross in front of them, and (especially) every runner that I came upon, I was certain, took one look at me and thought, “Damn!  Look at how out of breath she is!  She is out of shape!”  (It can be said that I’m not the most rational thinker when I’m running.)  Which irritated the hell out of me.  Sure, I wasn’t breaking any land records; even if I hadn’t been tired, I had intentionally set out at a slower pace than usual, since I was running farther than usual.  But I was running 9 miles for fuck’s sake!  I mean, I haven’t checked The Big Book of Badassery lately, but I’m pretty sure running 9 miles qualifies me as a certified Badass.  Except that no one knew I was running 9 miles.  All they knew is that I was sweaty and slow.

Which is what inspired my brilliant invention.  It came to me somewhere around mile 6 when I was trying to distract myself from the smell of pizza and Dough Boys coming out of Espiranto.  Ready for this?  It’s a digital display that is embedded in the runner’s chest and back (because you couldn’t wear it around your neck, it would bounce around, idiot) that displays how far the runner is running, and how far they’ve gone.  So when you’re driving around downtown and you stop to let a slow, dripping runner cross in front of you, instead of thinking, “Damn!  Look at those thighs jiggle!” you would see that the digital display says, “7.23/9” and you would think to yourself, “Damn!  9 miles!  Look at her go!  I wish I could be as strong and sexy as she is!”  (Or at least that’s how it goes in my exhausted, pain-crippled brain.)

But then, I suppose that’s one of the great things about running.  No one knows how far you’re going.  No one knows how far you’ve gone.  No one knows if you walked through that wooded area back there.  No one knows if you stopped for a minute to check your e-mail.  No one knows if you ducked into the theater for a couple minutes so you could poo.  Only you know, which means that the only person that you’re accountable to is you.  Which means that when you run faster than you ever have before, or farther than you ever have before, or just fucking finish running any distance without throwing up, you do it for no one but yourself.

And that feels pretty badass.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Karen April 13, 2011, 7:21 pm

    congrats Steph!! what a major milestone!! I’m so very proud of you!! that is a major f…ing long way!!!

  • Camels & Chocolate April 13, 2011, 11:11 pm

    Way to go, Steph! Ready to join me in the Chicago Marathon this fall now, are ya? See you there!

    Noooooot quite. I’m training for a half in the fall. A full marathon requires a special amount of insanity that I’m just not crazy enough for yet.

  • The Barreness April 14, 2011, 4:36 am

    I dunno, kitten.

    I spend hours and hours of my life in the gym or in the dance studio simply because – though I know it’s the simplest and most effective way of staying in shape – I refuse to run unless something very large and frightening is behind me.

    Or a really REALLY hot Spaniard is in front of me.

    But only those two.

    (And I thought you were a badass already. Didn’t need to peep your worn Nikes to prove it.)

    – B x

    Honest to god, that’s how running started out; I figured out that I could burn the same amount of calories by running for 20 minutes that I burned doing 2 hours on the Wii Fit. But somewhere along the way it took a left turn at Reason, and, well, here we are.

  • gem April 14, 2011, 8:00 pm

    Haha. I get out of breath and disgusting in like a block of running. So that’s usually when I stop and walk for a few blocks before returning to my couch. But I’ve always just figured that people would think, “Man, that girl’s all red and sweaty, she must have run a ton!” I would not enjoy a chest/back display telling them otherwise, haha.

  • doahleigh April 15, 2011, 6:26 pm

    I wish I felt badass when I ran. Mostly I just feel bored and annoyed. Good for you girl!

  • adriana April 17, 2011, 12:34 am

    You are bad ass! That’s really great – good work!

  • Charm City Kim April 20, 2011, 7:03 pm

    9 miles? That is totally badass!

    And for the record, it seems that you and I are similar runners. I am not a pretty or graceful runner. I shuffle my feet and I huff & puff loudly. And I just think that even if I look bad, I’m doing more than a lot of other people. (p.s. Love that you poo in a movie theatre)

    Only once, and it was actually the theatre that my husband works at. Luckily, there was a board meeting going on, so it was unlocked; otherwise, I was contemplating exactly how one goes about shitting in the woods.

  • Lauren May 5, 2011, 11:53 am

    I laughed out loud reading this. I’ve thought about that same idea too, that no one ever knows how far you’ve gone or how hard you’ve worked. I’ll finish my usual every-other-day 3 mile jog on the beach, sweaty and tired, with 2 blocks to walk back to my apartment. Sure enough, right after the run is up and I’m now dragging my feet in my cool-down, the hot surfer guy heading to the ocean walks past. Pshh. So much for looking like a sexy runner chick.

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