Diary of a Newbie Runner: Trying to Impress the Neighbors

{By Ellery Sadler}

runner girl

Feeling slightly disoriented, bleary eyed, and stiff I slipped on my shoes, plugged into my iPod and headed downstairs.

That was when I noticed how lovely it was outside. A beautiful, misty morning, a sunrise painted by my Creator’s hand … and an alarm clock that will set your heart pounding and takes five minutes to recover from. Yes, I was going for an early run (7:00 – I know that isn’t early for most over achieving homeschoolers, but it’s early to me) with my sister and my Dad.

We stepped outside and were instantly attacked by man-eating mosquitoes. Hopping around and frantically flailing the air with our arms, Brittany and I ran back to the house for bug spray. Upon returning, fully coated with the sticky stuff we asked Daddy if he wanted any. His only reply was ‘Do I look like a girl?’

We headed down the road.

I ran briskly along, feeling victorious as I watched mosquitoes the size of Texas (and Texas is huge, y’all) land on Daddy, while Brittany and I remained unharmed. He brushed at the bugs, kicked whatever happened to be in his way, be it a stone, pinecone, or stick and mimicked my apparently odd way of running. He moves his hands in an exaggerated up and down motion. I insist that I’m moving to the beat of my music…but I’m never sure if it is the actual beat or just what seems like the beat to me. My sisters tell me I cannot keep a beat, but I don’t believe them.

I can keep a beat. It just might not be the one everyone else hears.

After a while, my side was killing me so I slowed to a walk while they went up ahead. I looked up at the sun streaming through the trees and dreamily thought about the words to ‘How Great is our God.’ I wondered if it would be weird if I burst into song … I was too cowardly to actually do it, so I just sang softly to myself.

I could see a car coming towards me. I wanted to start running, at least while the car passed, and then I would walk again after it had gone by. I wondered gloomily if that was dishonest. I continued walking, my sensitive conscience keeping me from fulfilling my dream.

My dream is to be sprinting, cool and confident, easily striding across the pavement as cars pass me and the drivers look admiringly out the window and stare as I pass by with a bland, superior smile to them, those sedentary people who aren’t runners … yes, that is a high calling, a deliciously delightful goal.

The car passed and I smiled forlornly to the driver. He didn’t look admiring or envious I noticed when he saw me walking with running shoes on, red-faced, tired and slightly sleepy still. Oh well, there went my dream, and ego, right out the window.

Running has a way of doing that to you, letting mosquitoes eat you, shattering your dreams, hurting your knees, waking you up at what seems like unearthly hours, all because you love the feeling afterwards – of having accomplished something.  Yes, I had failed to impress the neighbors as they drove by. Yes Brittany was easily running 3 miles while I was almost dying. But hey, that’s the beauty and joy of running.

It tries to kill you – but you don’t let it win. And afterwards, you feel amazing.

And remember, always run to the beat you hear. Who cares what the real beat is.