Confession: I haven’t been running with regularity. I have awoken in the morning at my usual 6am, in my running clothes, and just didn’t wanna. So I didn’t. A friend of mine thinks it’s because I run alone, so there’s no one to motivate me. That’s not it. I like running alone. I don’t have to be ashamed of how slow I run or how heavy I’m breathing. I just run. Or walk. Or stop. Or whatever.
Today, however, I got a wild hair. Woke up this morning in the same “I don’t wanna” fashion, but kept my running clothes on…even put on my running shoes. Then, I ran a couple of errands. Well, I didn’t run them, but you get the point.
But something happened when I got home. I thought, “Let’s do this.”
Only it was 2:15pm. In South Texas. In July. Great decision.
But, when you get the wild hair, you must tame it. So, I opened my back door and started my run.
There’s no better way to say it – it was fucking hot. (I’m sure someone with a lesser potty mouth could have found another way to say it, but I don’t…so there.)
About halfway in, I passed a woman running. She looked just as miserable as I felt, so that made me feel better. Then, all of a sudden, she was next to me again. Her mouth was moving, but I heard no words.
I removed one ear bud.
“I am on my last lap, and I am out of steam. Can I run next to you?” she asked.
First, I was so impressed with how much she just said while running. Second, I thought, “Well, I run in intervals – run, walk, run, walk – so she can certainly run with me as long as I’m running, but then I’m walking. I’m not gonna run just ‘cause she needs me to run next to her. I’ll die.”
I got out, “Sure. Intervals.”
She understood enough to laugh, then stay next to me.
We ran next to each other for a bit. She explained how she had “been running for a few months, training for a half marathon that is coming up in November.” Did I know about it? Did I always run in the afternoons? Had I been running long? Do I have a bad knee? “Guess you do ‘cause you’re wearing a brace.”
I would nod or shake my head accordingly, while trying not to appear without breath because I’m a “runner” now, too. Seriously, how was she talking so much and running all at the same time?
Then, my app bonged and said the thing I love most, “Slow down and walk.”
I pointed to my ear and gasped out, “Time to walk.”
She smiled and said, “No problem. Thank you so much.” Then, sped off.
And by “sped off,” I mean continued at the same pace I was at moments before. Only now I was walking, so she looked like Speedy Gonzalez.
I went back to All Thoughts – which is how I run now – free thinking with a soft soundtrack playing in my ear. It suits me. I think all the things…makes me forget I’m moving my body.
I began my last interval, which meant my last running lap, when she appeared next to me again, still running. This is both the problem with and the awesomeness of the All Thoughts Running Technique – you are completely unaware of your surroundings.
Her mouth was moving again. Again, I heard no words.
I removed one ear bud.
“So, do you know if there’s a juice bar near here?” She inquired.
First, what is it with runners and juice bars? Did I not get this memo? Second, I thought, “I know every coffee shop and bar within a five-mile radius, but that’s not what she asked. Think, Molly, think. Juice bars…within a short distance…so she can get a juice.”
I managed to get out, “Whole Foods.”
She nodded, “Oh…that’s right!!!!!! They have a juice bar!!!!!!” (No, really, there were that many exclamation points in her response.) “Awesome!!!!!” She exclaimed. “I forgot all about them!!!!”
That’s a lot of exclamation for a drink with kale in it.
As soon as she was done she was going to go over there for a juice, then take the rest of the day to “get some things done.” She had today off. The first day she’d had off in a while. Did I have the day of, too, because I was clearly in no hurry to get back to an office? Is my office around here? Is this where I always run? Do I always run in the afternoons? Did I already ask you that?
Again, nodding or shaking my head when appropriate, I started trying to use my powers of telepathy (or telekenisis…whatever) to get the app to bong….NOW. Or…NOW. Ok…NOW. Then, finally it bonged, “You have completed your run. Slow down and walk for a five-minute cool down.”
I pointed at my ear, again, and said, “I’m done. Sorry.”
She began walking with me, as I turned to walk home.
“Wanna go for a juice?” She asked.
“Umm…no. I don’t…really…drink…juices. Unless it’s in a box…or a pouch,” I replied.
She laughed. Too much. On occasion, I’m funny. Not that funny.
“So,” I said, trying to disconnect, “have fun at Whole Foods.”
“You sure you don’t want to come with me? After a long run, it’s good to keep your metabolism up by drinking or eating something. You can get something with banana in it.”
I don’t know what was happening. Why would I wanna drink a banana?
“Nope. Thanks,” I said as nicely as possible.
Then it happened…
“Look. I’m trying to ask you out,” she said.
What??!?! I live in South Texas. In a rather conservative neighborhood. You don’t just ask a girl out, after co-opting her run. Ask her out for juice, no less.
“Umm…thank you. But…”
“But you’re seeing someone?”
I can’t lie. I’m a great liar, but only in dire situations.
“No. I’m just not interested,” I said, but quickly added, “In juice.” I’m not mean…just not a liar. “And I’m exhausted from running. But thank you.”
“OK…well, I could get your number. We could meet here again.”
“Oh,” I said, “I run alone.”
And with that I took off running home, which means, I’m on the hunt for a new running route. Awesome.