May 06, 2015

This Is for the Runners

This one is for all the runners, but especially the fair weather runners.

And I mean literally, the runners who prefer to run when it's fair.

The runners who have spent the brutal winter months exercising indoors, as they rested, recharged, and generally enjoyed feeling their face. The smell of spring has them coming out of the woodwork, out of their yoga pants, from behind their Netflix-blurred computer screens. It has them off their treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, out onto the streets.

The first whiff of spring finds them admiring the promise of their favorite running path, glistening in the 7 AM sunlight. (Or maybe that's just their pasty white thighs.)

Those pasty white thighs of the fair weather runner begin to move, and her heart is filled with joy as she ascends her first hill in months. A real, honest to God hill, not connected to a treadmill's incline button, not next to a sweaty gym-goer grunting beside her.

It's pure bliss.

And then it's pure agony, as her pasty white winter thighs struggle with the movement they've avoided for months. The fair weather runner begins to doubt her decision. Was this necessary? Are ellipticals and love handles really so bad?

She thinks it will get better but it does not; it gets harder. And harder. And eventually, she just wants to quit this god-forsaken, borderline illegal form of self-inflicted physical anguish. To turn around and turn on Grey's.

But she doesn't.

This is for the runner who keeps going, who pushes up those hills because she remembers what she's missed. She remembers the feeling of trained, possibly tanned thighs, meeting that hill with confidence, finishing that interval, crossing that finish line.

Like all runners, the fair weather runner has a love/hate relationship with running, of that brutal, armpit chafing sport that leaves you smelly, tired, and missing toenails. You hate the agony of quarter mile repeats, the feeling of toeing the starting line, knowing you're about to spend minutes or hours in extreme discomfort. The exhaustion and frustration and disappointment. You hate it all.

And you love it.

You love discussing splits, hitting your pace, getting that time. You love finishing a new distance, pushing that last interval, beating your personal record. That feeling of making the impossible, possible.

The running community is a weirdly open yet exclusive group. We welcome anyone, but no one will truly understand us unless you are one of us. Because runners don't always make sense. We wear weird clothes and say weird words and do things that others consider punishment.

We finish our first run in months sweaty, exhausted, in physical pain... and absolutely thrilled. Because that hurt like hell, and we can't get enough.

So this is to you, fair weather runners; keep those pasty thighs moving.