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.