I haven’t written much about running lately, but it’s not because I haven’t been running. Instead, running has become less of an Event and more commonplace. I’m getting back to my old self. Not totally, but I’m getting there.
The other day I went for a run wearing my running tights. I wore them earlier this winter and didn’t think twice about it. But THIS time was different. THIS time I wasn’t running with the jogging stroller.
It makes a big difference. When I have a baby with me I feel like everyone understands the bags under my eyes, my greasy hair or the spit-up on my sleeve. But when I happen to go to the grocery store in that same condition WITHOUT my baby I feel exposed.
The same goes for running. When I’m pushing the stroller, I imagine passers-by are cheering me on and impressed by my speed and form and ability to get out of the house.
But when I DON’T have the baby I’m just another sweaty girl plodding down the street.
And my tights don’t do me any favors.
When I left the baby with Tom and took off running (in my tights) all I was thinking about was how amazing it felt to run without the stroller. I felt good, fit, strong.
Then it happened: some chick had the nerve to pass me.
I could hear her coming. As the footsteps approached I resisted the urge to turn around and instead spent my energy hoping it was a guy. Guys are allowed to pass me when I’m out for a leisurely evening jog. Girls are not.
Not that I’m incredibly fast or anything. Passing me takes neither bravado nor talent, but who does she think she is? I rationalized that she must be running like a mile as opposed to me, I was running FOUR miles. But I could look at her and tell that wasn’t true.
As she ran around me on the sidewalk, wearing tights as well, I stared at her ponytail and silently willed her to know that I had a BABY at home. I couldn’t just dart out the door like she could and run whenever I wanted. I couldn’t just put on tights on a whim. For me, wearing Spandex was a leap of faith. Plus, I was AWAKE at 4am and have been AWAKE at 4am every single morning since August 16. And do you know what I’m doing at 4am? Breastfeeding! That’s right.
It was impossible for her to know all that. For all she knew I was just another New Year’s Resolution Runner.
HAD she known, she would have probably slowed down and spared me my dignity…maybe even stopped to shake my hand. After all, what I’m doing is pretty darn amazing.
It’s moments like this when I realize how twisted and complex I am, not to mention equal parts imaginative and insecure. Because I will tell you one thing: NO ONE thinks about you as much as you do.
I’m sure as that girl passed me she was not thinking that I was slow, or excessively sweaty, or that they shouldn’t just sell Spandex tights to anyone. She was probably wondering what I was thinking, and hoping she looked O.K. from the back.
Either that or she was just listening to Run It! and counting down the seconds to when she’d be done, just like runners are supposed to.