Tag Archives | running

in which I discover that I am not, in fact, usain bolt

The other night I went running.

I know that for some people, running is a regular task, not worthy of commentary. They just run and then do that whole bounding into brunch thing, all glowy and endorphin-y, and say “great run, dude, up at sunrise and just really cleared my head, hey, yeah, I’d love a wheatgrass juice, thanks.”


Let’s be clear. My body ain’t exactly built for speed.

Of course, it’s not really built for endurance either. It’s built for…cheese, a little tapas, maybe a dry rosé.

But the other night, I was out at the soccer fields football pitch with the boys; it was a beautiful evening; I was wearing my sneakers. There were two empty pitches off where no one could see me as I trotted around and I figured that running on grass would perhaps cushion my increasingly rickety knees.

I stretched, I tied and re-tied my sneakers, I adjusted my walkman ipod to the music I like for exercise: loud.  Loud drowns out the slow thud of my feet and my equally thudding breath.

Off I went around the fields, The Black Keys filling in my ears, trying not to notice the slight floop floop of my tummy as I jogged along.

Okay, I think, I’m runningMy mind should be clearing, I should be feeling my creative juices bubbling up.That’s what’s supposed to happen when you run so any minute now I should be getting an idea – HEY! I could write about running. Yeah. That would be great –  maybe I should stop and write this idea down?

I do not stop. My inner gym teacher keeps yelling at me to move, dammit!  Inner gym teacher looks a bit like Sue Sylvester and a bit like Mrs. Friel, from 9th grade, who seemed to think it her mission on earth to make pre-adolescent girls cry.

I whine to myself in time with the music:  I’m huuunnnngggrrry….I’m thirrrrsssstttyyyy….I’m tirrreeed. I offer bribes to myself – ice cream, cookies, cheese – if I do just two more laps, which I figure would bring me to almost twenty minutes of non-stop running trotting jogging ambling quickly.  I do not believe my own bribes and call myself a liar.

The gym teacher screams at me again to move. I kick The Keys a little louder. Okay this running thing isn’t so bad. Let’s get a little more speed going here, yeah, that’s right, a little faster.

I am flying. I am Usain fucking Bolt here, I am burning up that field, it seems I am built for speed.

Whoosh. See that blur? Yeah. That was me.

In my mind, anyway.

Okay, maybe I was more Usain Bolt’s great-great grandmother than Usain himself, but still. I did it. Twenty minutes of non-stop “running.”

And you know what? I think I want to do it again.


**when I wasn’t pretending to be Usain Bolt (or his elderly relatives), I wrote about the expat workers in Abu Dhabi for the World Mom’s Blog, over here; and published a sort of op-ed about the relative failure of Abu Dhabi’s recycling program (as near as I can tell, the city/country doesn’t have one), over here.




Continue Reading · on May 7, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, exercise, sports

Reverb10: Body

Reverb 10 prompt #12: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

I remember waaay back in the day–high school and early college–when I was a bun-headed dancer. In high school, daily life was pretty miserable but when I walked into the ballet studio, all that misery got swept away by the precision of plié, tendu, plié, relévé. The girl I saw in the mirror controlled her body in a way that she couldn’t control the world outside the studio–and while I was never going to be a prima ballerina, I think having the separate world of the ballet studio helped me survive adolescence.

I’m pushing fifty at this point, so that ballet body ain’t coming back any time soon (okay, ever) and I’ve (sort of) made my peace with that. What I keep searching for, in my exercise life as an adult, is that endorphine-fueled focus, the sweat that puts everything in perspective.  For a while in grad school I ran on a semi-regular basis but ultimately? I run too slowly and it hurts. Knees, back, ankles. Just one big slow ouch.

And now, in this late-mid-forties place where I find myself and my extra five (eight, maybe ten) pounds? I find myself  at the risk of sounding like someone who totally drank the lotus-spiked kool-aid because what I love these days is yoga.  When I’m sweating in the yoga studio (which has no mirrors, a key intervention in the struggle between mind and body), all the crap that I think about all day–  whattocookfordinnerwhoispickingupwhomwhatamIteachingtomorrowdidIcallthedoctordidIcallthebabysitterwhattimeissoccerpracticeareweoutofmilkisthelaundrydone –all that stuff disappears.It’s not the “om-ing” that I like, although I’m getting less cynical about that, it’s the focus on where I’m putting my body, listening to my creaky joints, feeling them de-creak as I stretch, and the distinct pleasure I take in being able to do things now that I couldn’t do two months ago.

So the short answer to this question is, “today, at about 12:40, when for the first time I managed to lift myself for a split second into something that almost resembles crow pose.” Of course, I tipped forward immediately and about cracked my nose on the floor, but I guess that’s all part of it, right?

just for the record – that person in the picture? not me – it’s from dailygoods.wordpress.com

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Continue Reading · on December 15, 2010 in reverb10, Uncategorized

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