No green interrupts my “spring” day except the envious color I turn when the Taylor University track teams — women and men — run through my neighborhood.
They wear long tights, hoodies and woolly hats. Snow confetti may greet them. Still, their effortless, long-legged strides defy winter, as do their fresh young faces.
They talk as they run. They laugh.
Running and laughter? An oxymoron. Even decades ago, when I ran routinely, I don’t recall laughing once.
My new husband had talked me into running with him. It’ll be fun, he said. Relaxing, he said.
His legs measure six inches longer than mine.
Newly married couples, do not try this at home. Or anywhere else.
Watching these track teams run now, I find their togetherness friendlier. Definitely more fun.
Even as a solo runner, I lacked the fun factor.
Fellow joggers encouraged, “You’ll grow accustomed to exercise and hit a zone when you’re comfortable, even serene.”
Pony-sized canines nipping at my heels increased my pace. Even with their help, I never achieved that blissful nirvana.
Instead, my knees hurt, ankles ached, and I developed giant stitches in my side that reappeared when I played ring-around-the-rosy with my toddlers.
I told Hubby, “I’ll soon be so healthy that I’ll need a wheelchair.”
Even he finally switched to bicycling when a blown-out knee dissolved his dreams of running the Chicago Marathon.
Instead, we cycled and watched our children run. At our son’s junior high coed cross-country meets, the order of returning runners never varied. First, a pigtailed girl appeared ten minutes before anyone else. Next, the boys manfully pounded to the finish line, embarrassed at being beaten by a girl. Then the other girls finished.
Those guy runners needn’t have felt shame. That girl, Morgan Uceny, ran the fastest 1500-meter race in the world during 2011. Morgan often smiled while running.
Still, she hasn’t inspired me to run.
I’ll let others enjoy that privilege. Some find unique ways to do so.
J.D. Arney reported on enthusiasts who ran the five-mile Raleigh, North Carolina, Krispy Kreme Challenge. Each ran halfway, consumed a dozen glazed doughnuts, then ran back. At least, they smiled during the last part.
Arney also described the Filthy 5K Run in Fargo, North Dakota, where joggers slogged through acres of gunk. Participators in the Green Bay, Wisconsin, Beer Belly Run, with beer stops every half mile, might have ran the happiest race — if they remember it.
Some psychos even pay $17,900 to run the annual Antarctic Ice Marathon.
Me? I’ll cheer track teams from my window each spring. It doesn’t get more serene than that.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you run — and smile?