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Shoes! (and cupcakes)

Apr 11, 2010

I haven't updated in a while because the job got crazy busy, and also that one, 10-minute jog just about ruined my right shin muscle. (Is that what you refer to it as?  Real runners feel free to correct me.)  My lovely chiropractor gave me a Runner's Stick to massage my shin.  Watching the video on how it works kind of makes me want to throw up, but it's not as painful as it looks. 

The next order of business was to get the shoes.  I found a store much closer than Georgetown in Adams Morgan called Fleet Feet.  Since it was a nice day, I threw on my new DKNY satchel bag and rode my bike over there.  It was only a mile away, but most of the ride was up a hill and by the time I got to the store I was seriously out of breath, and also painfully reminded of how out of shape I am.  This is especially depressing because I have been going to the gym regularly in the past three months.  Is 20 minutes on the elliptical not enough?  I even drip sweat sometimes, gross!  Well anyway, Phillip at Fleet Feet was very helpful and fitted me with several pairs of shoes.  I eventually settled on a pair of Nikes (not neon orange, thank goodness -- although most girls prefer pink to red, just a little tip, Nike people who aren't reading my blog so I don't know why I'm bothering pointing this out).  Phillip also gave me a runner's journal to get started (well, he didn't give it to me, he's not quite as generous as my chiropractor.  But when the lady rang it up I was too embarrassed to say, "Twenty dollars!  No thank you!" for fear that everyone in there had already noticed how out of shape I was and would snicker and think, She should really invest in the book.) 

Sooooo that was, um, two weeks ago I think?  And I haven't begun training yet.  And worse, my birthday was the week after that and I ate a lot of cupcakes.  And the week after I was traveling for work and I ate junk every day (including carrot cake, which could be my new demise since giving up donuts).  At any moment I am going to put on five pounds, get depressed, and gorge myself with more cupcakes to drown the fat sorrows.

Yesterday was the last day of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so Margaret and I rode our bikes down to the Tidal Basin to see what was left of the blossoms (we could only find one tree still in bloom).  She was supposed to be taking it easy because today she ran a 10-mile race that she got pulled into at the last minute (some friends were running together and one dropped out).  The day was perfect and on the way home we passed Justin Guarini on the street! 

I yelled after Margaret when we passed him, "Margaret!  Stop!  That was Justin Guarini!"

Margaret turned her bike around, and as she passed me on her way back to him she said, "Who's that?"  But before I could give her a decent explanation she called out, "Justin!" 

Sure enough, it was him, big curly hair and all!  I focused on keeping my breathing steady and tried to talk to him in a conversational, normal way, but I was fumbling with my bike and it fell over, and then I got nervous that we were making a scene and he would get annoyed. 

"It's okay, it's part of the job," he said when I began apologizing.  And then I realized, there were tons of people out, and we -- okay just me -- were the only ones excited to see him. 

"Now who was that?" Margaret asked me again after we got our pictures with him. 

"American Idol runner up with Kelly Clarkson!" 

"Oh yeah!  I knew he looked familiar."

And, wow, I am way too into reality TV.  Although Margaret watches a lot more "Real Housewives" than I do.  (Dirty Little Secret: I plan to Netflix "From Justin to Kelly" next week.) 

When we got back Margaret announced she needed to eats lots of carbs in preparation for the race, and I gladly supported her.  The next morning I biked down 14th St to the finish line by the Monument.  But biking seemed quite difficult.

Is the air low in my tires? I wondered.  Yes, that must be it.

With every turn of the pedal, my quads locked up more.  I began to slow and realized I was pedaling up a hill, and I use the term "hill" extremely loosely.  By the time I reached the race, my legs were all Jello-ey.  I scowled at the runners who had finished the race and were silently judging my inability to ride a bike on a flat surface.  (Okay they were probably just annoyed that I was attempting to ride a bike through a crowd of people who had just run 10 miles and were in no mood to dodge a moving vehicle.)

I made my way to the finish line and waited for Margaret.  I found a spot near the medical station, which seemed unnecessary as everyone was a rock star and no one needed medical attention.  After about 20 minutes, however, one pale girl hobbled over, and the medical staff grabbed a wheelchair and a bottle of Gatorade and got her settled.  Her cheeks flushed when she sat down, and she stayed there for a while.  I watched her in horror, realizing that would be me.  Or worse, I would keel over on mile four and they'd have to wheel me across the finish line.  Or worse, I'd have to get on the dreaded bus.  I began having flashbacks to 10th grade soccer tryouts and those horrid sprints we had to do, and I was always the one who had to "take a breather" and then I'd make up excuses, like I was anemic or hypoglycemic.  I tried out for just about every sport in high school and never made one team.  And I had no medical conditions.  I was just a wimp. 

When Margaret crossed the finish line I felt a surge of inspiration.  Why can't I do this?  I've spent my whole life making excuses, and I'm not getting any younger.  When the rest of our friends showed up, we all took a picture together, and they told me next time I won't be on the sidelines, I'll be running with them.

So I'm thinking this is the week when I begin training for reals.  This is the race Margaret has proposed, and I have all the tools I need -- shoes, journal, The Stick, and lots of encouragement.  Plus I'm really looking forward to eating all those guilt-free carbs the night before.  And a week of cupcakes afterwards!


  1. I'm all about excuses to not work out. I have an excuse today, even! Which is lame because I have a treadmill in my house.
    Glad you found some new running shoes. Now is the time, Mary El! Just do it! :)

  2. Hey, I've never been a runner either, in fact, I have always hated it with a passion. Yet, I am also not getting any younger, and my metabolism is not getting any faster, so I am also giving running a try. So far 1.5 miles is all I can muster before I have to go back down to a pathetically slow jog. I would totally train with you if you didn't live on the other end of the country!