Long ago I decided running would not be my sport. I tried it. I didn't like it. Bad outfits. Too much sweat. Too much jiggle. So running joined my long list of Never-Agains, with the likes of tequila, Jägermeister, Marlboro reds, eating Taco Bell while driving, and Alberto VO5.
As my friends hit the big 4-0, one by one, they started to run 5Ks, do tough mudders, and train for mini-triathlons. "Join us" they'd say. Yeah, right, sure wish I could, but I must get started on the hazelnut gelato in my fridge. Promised myself I'd finish it by tomorrow. I always follow through.
Actually I had loads of excuses:
"My boobs are too big for running. You wouldn't understand. You barely have boobs. Is that from running? I don't want these girls to droop to my muffin top prematurely."
"I don't want my nipples to scab up and fall off like frozen warts."
"Listen, you gals can run all you like, but I've got grave concerns about leaving my uterus (splat!) in the cul-de-sac. Wouldn't be neighborly. I've gotta take care of these lady parts. At some point they may see action again."
"When I'm 65, I want my butt in a hammock, not my bladder."
"Hey, I'm divorced. If I ran, I don't even know what would fall out of my vagina. It hasn't been used in so long, it'd be like a mini antiques roadshow."
Eventually my friends stopped bugging me, and I gained 20 pounds from divorce comfort food in peace. If they asked me today, I couldn't run if I wanted. I wouldn't need a funny excuse. I could be honest. "Hey girls, would love to run, but I'm just too fat."
But over the last two years, I've watched a good friend lose over 100 pounds through diet and exercise. She ran a lot and still does. So as I looked over my spring wardrobe and remembered none of it even fit last year, I decided it was time for shopping change. Inspired by my friend, I invited her to lunch (she: salad, me: not). She insisted that running hadn't caused anything embarrassing to fall out of her vagina in public. And since I like to eat, she convinced me to give running another try.
A week later, I was "outfitted." I had the shoes, the tights, the bra, the headband. I was set. And then Thursday passed... and I didn't run. And then Friday... And of course, the weekend is never a good time to start anything new.
Monday was THE day. I put on my gear and I ran. I felt empowered from having the courage to take those steps. Try something new. Risk looking stupid. Risk feeling old. But in all aspects, the run energized me.
My industrial steel bra, with its nine hook and eye closures, was so damn tight, my boobs didn't bob. My tights, like sausage casings, secured my lady parts. All bodily fluids and organs stayed put. I left no trail of urine. My nipples didn't chafe.
I ran. I survived. I was safe. I felt alive.
And then I turned on the news.
I heard news of the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I was stunned and then the irony hit me. I begrudgingly began my running journey the exact day others were prematurely forced to end theirs. Deaths. Amputations. Brain injuries. Burns. Who could imagine getting blown up or losing a leg while out for a run? Such evil acts can't even be anticipated. As good people, we don't have the capacity to imagine such horror.
I'll never be a marathon runner. In truth, I'll never even be a runner. Yet each day I'm grateful for still having the ability to chafe my nipples and leave a trail of urine through my neighborhood.