Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Reader, let us travel back in time... back before nine miles... before eight... even before seven. Let us return to the week before our seven mile run to something that seemed even more daunting to me at the time: a five mile run on a school night. A Wednesday, in fact.

Photo credit: Scott Ableman
Pretty, no?

This was the turnaround point of our five-miler. We were to run from the Connecticut Ave entrance to Rock Creek Park to halfway down the promenade surrounding the Kennedy Center, then turn back. Simple.

Except: Daylight Savings Time was not yet upon us, and by the time we had all gathered that evening, twilight was already falling on Woodley Park. And everything was seeming... much more forbidding than usual.

But! We would forbear. For we were four-strong, and the path well-traveled, and, well, we had five miles to do. I figured that as long as we stayed together we were unlikely to be stabbed (much more likely cause of fatality as it turned out: merciless, zooming bikers! or, fright caused by other runners who for some reason like to dress all in black and then charge at you out of the darkness)

And lo, the ground, it was rough, and the wind, it was windy, and darkness covered the land. We ran under the many echoing bridges and across the many winding streets that feed into the park. Eventually we emerged to run along the banks of the Potomac towards the beacon of the Kennedy Center through the kind of wind that roars in your ears.

And we got there, turned around, ran back, and arrived at the top of a hideously long and steep hill victorious over our five miles! And then we saw the vice president's motorcade, because that's DC, friends-and-neighbors.

The end.

However, I have one smaller, more personal association with that night. And well, it is Spandex.

Before this year I had stubbornly stuck to treadmills, the thought of running outside just too embarrassing to consider. Even after we started running outside, on my part it was with great self-consciousness and a strong dependence on running as part of our group rather than by myself.

As I was getting ready to run that evening, I realized that almost all of that self-consciousness was gone. That I felt like I should wear whatever would optimize the running, regardless of how stupid it looked. Hence, Spandex.

Yesterday after our 3-mile taper run we went to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up our matching shirts for the race (all running teams shall have matching shirts! thus spake the law of running teams!), and I am thrilled to be the owner of a new look-at-me-isn't-this-the-orangest-thing-you-have-ever-seen!, drifit t-shirt (after all, the Foundation's color is orange). I've started to run without my posse in the surprisingly lovely parks of Wheaton, and feel comfortable even in our awkwardly-tiny gym at work.

And yes, on Race Day there will be Spandex.

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