Saturday, February 13, 2010

Running with the Dogs

Running with the dogs in 2007
I started running a few years ago. I decided since I lived near the Pacific Ocean, I should embrace my backyard and get out and run like every other human being within a ten mile radius. I felt like an outsider since I didn’t run, bike or surf. Running was the easiest exercise to pick up. Pick up …. and run. I remembered years ago I used to run one mile a day thinking I was doing something wonderful for myself and my health. My only exercise then was bending my elbow to my mouth. Hungover and barely able to breathe, I would run four laps around my junior high school track in an effort to look like I was physically fit and not wanting to hurl. Now being able to face all my physical challenges with a body toxin free, I decided not to run away from myself anymore and actually put sneaker to the pavement, or sand, and hit the ground running.

I started on my newfound physical venture by walking swiftly two blocks from my apartment heading south onto the PCH towards Swami’s beach. I high kicked my thighs and calves into running mode. I ran with my posture straight and true to form -- heel to toe – heel to toe - as this was how my friend and colleague told me how to run. She was an avid runner who ran fifteen miles per day, weighed 113 pounds and had legs that looked like ceramic molded pillars that balanced a four story condominium complex.

I took special care in my exterior fashion to resemble a bonafide southern California running chick. My dark hair was pulled back into a high ponytail, and my attire consisted of a white tank top, pale blue cotton running shorts, with the word Abercrombie splashed across my pseudo-wide ass, and the newest and hippest Nike running shoes. My outfit made me look like I was ready to enter the San Diego Rock and Roll marathon. Wearing semi-invisible sunglasses along with standard white headphones that wrapped over my ears cradling an i-Pod, I continued on my healthy quest to blend into the landscape of real runners along the California coastline. George Michael’s Freedom blared into my ears as I headed out onto the running path towards Cardiff. My breathing was purposeful and steady initially. The pacific blue ocean dappled with surfers and beach goers was my backdrop. I felt virtuous in my recent health pursuit as I huffed and puffed and maintained a standard pace – not bad for someone who used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day while polishing off a bottle of wine each night. I felt I was doing rather well as, at this point in my life, I had made the wise decision to become entirely alcohol and nicotine free. Did I also need to give up my caffeine and chocolate addiction? Goodness no, where would I derive any pleasure in life if not at the hands of Starbucks and Godiva.

Smearing sweat from my forehead and neckline, I felt light headed. At mile marker three I had slowed to a ventilator pace and gingerly focused on the path ahead of me, while trying not to faint and fall into the oncoming Harley Davidson traffic.

With my breathing restrained, I slowed down my pace and was relieved to see my apartment complex in the distance. As I fiddled with i-Pod and maintained my snail like stride, a woman on my left sprinted past me with effortless stride while pushing her baby stroller, flanked by her yellow Lab, and talking on her cell phone.

Is there no justice for anyone wanting to run and look good doing it? Apparently not.

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