So last night, I gave my first attempt at running. Jogging.
My big brother, Todd (proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce) , has been a pseudo runner for quite some time now. For the past 2 years, he has been trying to get me to take a night jog with him. And until last night, I always declined. But something deep within my dieter self snapped, and I realized that I wanted to run. I wanted to hurt, to push, to give birth to a new way of life.
So I causally mentioned I was going to go for a jog/walk last night while listening to his latest track of the song “Some Other Year” from his band, FP.
And I saw that light in his eyes that I have seen so many times in my 33 years of life.
It was the light of “friendly competition.”
When Todd and Jason and I were growing up, we were usually cooking up some form of chaos. My mother once got a phone call saying “Do you know where your children are?” to which Margaret the Saint replied “They are upstairs.” To which the friendly neighbor replied “Yes, up on your roof.”
We went through babysitters like they were toilet paper. After 1 night of watching the Reynolds Rascals, one babysitter left us high and dry and chaperone free. Looking back, I can’t blame her. As she was tucking me into bed, like a good babysitter should, my brothers popped out of the attic doors in my room, wearing Halloween masks shouting they were going to steal the babysitter’s soul. The babysitter ran out of my room and right out our front door. We never saw her again. We perfected our swearing techniques, practicing all the foul words we had ever learned on cable, while we had rubber band gun fights in the living room while Margaret the Saint went to the store. We had sockball fights late in the night, which were not limited to wet-then frozen- sockballs. Many spankings and groundings occurred while I was growing up along side my brothers.
Now that we are older, our shenanigans are much more mature and well planned. We went on a family trip to Lake Shelbyville, and all the boys were sleeping in a tent right outside our cabin. About midnight, with the blessing of my dear Gma Bush (who had planted the idea in my head, mind you), I snuck outside and stood next to their tent with a large piece of aluminum foil. I shook the foil and started screaming. The “men” including my brother, my husband and my nephews, started screaming like little girls and jumping out of the tent. I couldn’t do a thing except stand outside in the crisp cool night next to the tent- peeing right there on the ground full force because I was laughing so hard.
So when the light of “friendly competition” began blazing anew, who was I to turn it down?
You all know that I jogged a little bit on Monday night with Tricky Nikki. And while it was a little more spread out, I did OK. But when Todd asked how far I thought I could go, I had no idea what to say. And finding me speechless is a miracle in itself. So Todd had me exactly where he wanted me.
“I’ll go with you. I’ll go slow, cause I haven’t run for about 3 weeks.”
“Sure, why not!” I replied. If I had turned him down, he would have called me a chicken.
Leaving their house to go change my clothes and mentally prepare for running, I told Julia (Todd’s wife and my BFF) what the plan was. And she got HER look. The look I have seen several times in our 20 year friendship. The look of “You have no idea what you are getting yourself into, but for the sake of humor I’m gonna let this thing play out.” She gives me that look long and often.
Then I went home and told Matt what the plan was. “I’m going to go run a mile with my brother.”
Matt kept watching the TV and just snickered.
Exactly ½ hour later, I was standing back at my brother’s door, praying for every ounce of grace and mercy sweet baby Jesus could spare. My bladder was empty, my mind was overly optimistic, and I was ready to run.
Now, my brother is a little over 6 feet tall. He has more legs than a bucket of chicken. I am a mere 5’4” while wearing shoes. I am short armed, short legged, and big boobed. Nature was on his side, not mine. But we chit chatted as we walked 4 blocks to warm up. Then we came to the Woodlawn Hill. The hill we lived on as kids growing up. The hill that I hated going up on my bike as a pudgy child.
“You ready? Once we get to the top of the hill, it gets easier.”
G U L P
And my big brother, who I was sure was going to laugh at me while running, did something wonderful. He turned into the caring big brother who had my back.
“You can do this. Let’s go.”
And we jogged up that hill. We jogged and jogged and just about the time we hit the crest of Woodlawn Hill, I switched to a power walk. I had no choice. But my brother didn’t laugh.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah, just need to catch my breath.” But I didn’t stop moving.
And pretty soon, I figured I better start jogging again. Todd was trying to help me learn to control my breathing, but at that moment I was unable to control anything. It HURT. But I kept going, because I wasn’t alone.
Everytime I thought we were going to finally head back towards the house, Todd kept turning. In the wrong direction. Of course, it was exactly where he wanted to go, as he has a 1 mile running course set, but as my side was searing in pain, I ignored my homeward bound bearings and followed the big guy. He would not have a reason to make fun of me that night.
Every few minutes, I had to power-walk to keep from collapsing, but other than that, I pushed myself. I pushed and pushed. And pretty soon, Todd asked “Do you want to know where the mile ends?”
“Nope, I just want to get there.”
And as it turned out, we were 3 blocks away from the stop sign that ended our jog. And about ½ block away from it, I had to finish the mile in a swift walk. But ultimately, we did a 12 minute mile.
Todd is used to his little pain in the rumpus sister playing the victim card and giving up when things are hard. It’s what I usually do. I fill the air with excuses and bullcrap that makes me feel better about quitting.
But last night, I didn’t. I kept thinking about all those people on the biggest loser that weigh a lot more than I do and learn to run. I thought about my friend Shannon, who perseveres through hard times by running until she can’t feel her legs anymore. And I wanted to be like them. I wanted to know that I achieved something I thought I could never do. RUN away, but end up at the finish line where you belong.
And as we walked (I was limping) back home, with a hot poker stabbing me in the side and legs asking “WTFreak just happened?” I felt pretty good. Eventually the muscles screaming in revolt stopped, and I was able to enjoy the fact that I had run a 12 minute mile with my big brother by my side.
And even better was knowing the fact that I had just earned some SERIOUS bragging rights.
I ran a 12 minute mile. And that's no bull.