For a third Saturday, I joined the running group. In my defense, I thought two other girls would be there that I like and that run at my pace from the first weekend I went but they didn’t show up and I didn’t realize this until I had backed myself into a corner from which I couldn’t escape.
I knew I was in trouble when we were supposed to start at 9 and by 8:58 no one else had shown up. I thought I’d be late when what I thought was a 3 mile run to the park from my apartment ended up being more like a 4 mile run. All under 10 minutes so I was feeling good about this 6 miler.If no one came by 9 I figured I’d just run back and finish up my 9 miles.
Two guys showed up. I knew I was in trouble–they had twig legs.
You know the twig legged people or you are one. Bunch of god damn gazelles. When I realized no one else was showing up I had one of those, “oh shit” moments, which came front and center when one of them asked, “so what pace do you two usually run?” The bearded man said the last time he ran with them he was about 30 seconds behind. So my immediate thought was, “Oh great, they’re not even giving me a number to work with.”
Then gazelle legs turns to me and says, “what about you?” I froze, like a deer in the headlights only without a deer’s nimble legs, and said, “Um, I’m pretty slow.” He doesn’t even push it so he must’ve been looking at me and thinking, Clydesdale the same way I thought gazelle. But now I’m stuck and I’m not going to back out and look like a total wuss so I head off with them only to realize that I have no idea where I am and the neighborhood I’m in is not particularly conducive to just running alone. It’s empty parking lots and someone creepily singing the national anthem to an empty baseball stadium.
Nothing makes you run like the terror of being left behind on a vacant lot, murdered, mugged, and forgotten until someone finds your body and you become the girl with the thick thighs who was tragically struck down the first time she tried to run… I mean, I wouldn’t believe I’d run before if I were the news. Then they got to a bridge, with me trailing behind, and I kept thinking, “please don’t go over the bridge… please don’t go over the bridge…” and of course they went over it. And somehow I ended up somewhere in Maryland running underneath highway overpasses with no idea where the f$ck I was.
When all was said and done, they finished about 1-2 minutes ahead of me and I labored along East Capitol to catch up. When I finally saw the front of gazelle guy again, he said “great run! You didn’t do too bad!” I smiled, and nodded because I felt like I was going to puke, and said, “thanks…for…going…so….slow…” and he says, “Oh, no problem, I injured myself this week so I needed it.” I couldn’t keep up with the injured gazelle. I guess I know where I’d fall in the circle of life out on the Savannah.
But now I know I can market myself as kind of a reverse pacer–looking to slow yourself down after an injury? Just call the Clydesdale! She’ll keep you moving slow for many, many miles. No pace too slow.