Why I Will Never Be “Athletic People”

I’ve been watching my mother run races and triathlons for years now.  I arrive with my dad and sister, crusty-eyed and cold in the early morning.  I almost always feel self-conscious amongst all of the “athletic people.”  They flex in their spandex and their calves ripple.  They pinch their bike tires, calloused fingers feeling the subtle swell and fall of the air inside, like a rubber heart beat.  They laugh and smile with their families, but soon, they are determined, and they are focused.  They do not pause, and they only smile again to encourage a fellow racer, and at the moment of their final stride under the balloon-marked finish line.

But this morning, albeit still bleary-eyed and chilled, I ran amongst them.  I ran an entire 5k, with a little bit of walking because I was stupid and ate half of a Lara Bar this morning, and then had to throw it up in the tunnel along the route.  That was gross.  It also made me feel slightly tough.  As in, my stomach is pretending to be Shawn Johnson right now, so I’m simply going to toss my cookies in a corner of a public pathway and continue on my merry way.

Despite the pause, and despite the attained toughness, the last mile was hard.  There were hills, and there were 85-year-old men passing me (humbling and awe-inspiring), and I was sweaty inside my oven of an Under Armour shirt.  But as I rounded the last bend, behind the grocery store, behind the dentist I switched from because he was a little drill happy for my taste, behind the car wash, the crowd came into view.  It was parted, and a narrow path — the path I was on — lay in the middle.  Let me tell you something I learned today: it is difficult to stop and walk when your mother is holding a camera, when people you know are cheering your name and people you don’t are simply cheering.  It is difficult, also, to pick up your pace and hurtle toward the finish with the best form you can muster.  But that’s what I did, because I have a — often deeply-buried — competitive streak.  I also just wanted to finish quickly so that I could stop running.

And so it’s over, and my legs are sore, and my running tights are streaked with vomit, but my friends, I ran a 5K.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for bleach and for legs that can carry me farther than I ever thought possible.  And for pie, of which I partook with a relish that surely further deepened the gorge between me and “athletic people.”

Warning Letter

Dear Friends,

I know that Friday night is coming.  I know that it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and that having gorged yourself on cranberries still in their can-like form, turkey smothered in gravy and abutted by mounds of stuffing and potatoes, and a few rolls thatjustbalanced on the edge of your plate, you’ll be lethargic.

I know that you’ll wake up on Friday morning still woozy from that last “sliver” of pie.  And yet, and yet, you will still trek to Target before the sun is up, if only to elbow your hair stylist’s elderly mother out of the way, that you might claim the last Nikon.

I know that Friday night, after sandwiches bulging with leftovers, you will seek entertainment.  Something light, something out of the house (away from the dishes), something the entire family can enjoy.

But friends, I implore you: do not go see Breaking Dawn Part 2.  If you do, you will laugh at first, then you will furrow your eyebrows in dubious mockery, and then you will be overwhelmed by waves of revulsion and worry for the future of popular filmmaking.  You will find yourself snatching your neighbor’s Milkduds to throw at the screen. You will sob the entire way home, because how can any movie that people pay to see be that bad?

Trust me.  I’m still emotionally shattered from my own viewing last night.

Wishing you happy Thanksgiving travels,

Holly

Drafting

Senior seminar seven page draft complete!  I emailed it to my professor, who will be reading it over tonight and talking about it with me tomorrow at our meeting.  I can’t wait.  I know it’s dopey, but I cannot wait.  This draft is the first time this professor will get to see what I can do as a writer and as a researcher, and I am obnoxiously proud of it.  Christmas comes twice a year, folks.

Additionally, my room is clean and my laundry done.

All that’s left to do is to workshop two peer papers, read The Waves, and do the pile of dishes that I (clearly not of sane mind) volunteered to wash.

I apologize about the study-centric posts, but you see, studying is all I seem to do these days.  That will change, of course, come Thursday, when I will be running a 5K, and promptly gorging myself on all sorts of delightful Thanksgiving foods.

Event Planning

More Mental Health Awareness Week events going on today.  At 6:45 the big World Cafe event my committee has been planning will actually take place.  It’s actually happening.  Actual people will show up and eat actual pizza and talk about actual campus issues.  Seems strange.  I think we’re ready, though; I made a game plan for the event this morning, and it has made me feel infinitely more prepared.  I always love a hard copy plan.

In other news, have I told you that I’m running my first 5K in November?  On Thanksgiving Day, to be exact.  I’ve been training with a friend for the past three weeks, and having run a few (relatively) easy two-milers, I think it’s safe to say that we may finish this thing in one piece.  And promptly head home to stuff ourselves with all manner of healthful foods, of course.

Sadly, I must now leave this quiet corner of the library to do more event plotting in the MCSA office.  Talk to you tomorrow!