I just run, and not that far.
By Hannah Wallace
I did something kinda mean on Sunday. Totally unintentional, but mean. And at the same time—again, inadvertently—I may have given some people the impression that I’m a…well, shallow, unscrupulous, overly competitive putz.
(Can I just say, on a side note, that I love how thesaurus.com only gives synonyms for “putz” as a verb? That just amuses me.)
Anyway, what happened was, Sunday morning I finally dragged myself out of the house at 11:30 to go jogging. I always run the same 3.5-mile route (consistency discourages me from cutting corners), and this time, not two blocks into it, I rounded a corner near Bay Haven Elementary and headed for Bayshore Road, only to see some people on the corner wearing brightly colored vests. Aaaaand then a little old man jogged by, very very slowly, with a number pinned to his shirt.
Yup: Sarasota Marathon. I’d totally forgotten.
The race course goes right past my Indian Beach house—twice, actually—and it started at 6 a.m. I’d caught the last stragglers on the last leg (and on their last legs, heh). And there I was, not five minutes out of my pajamas, trotting right on by people who’d just run 23 miles. I felt pretty bad shamelessly striding by the little old man—worse still when I reached a checkpoint at Jungle Gardens, having not even broken a sweat, and cheerful volunteers offered me Gatorade and water. I figured I looked pretty suspicious (like, say, someone who would sleep to 11, run the last fraction of a marathon and cross the finish line to take credit among the actual racers), and I didn’t think the hydration team interpreted my shrugging declination as a sign of innocence. So before the next volunteers could greet me with unearned encouragement, I grinned and shouted, “I’m not racing; I’m just…jogging!”
Fortunately, my path soon deviated from the race course, and as I looped around and headed back southward on Bayshore, I looked less like a cheater and more like a lost marathoner (or a reeeeeally slow starter).
I admit, I’m competitive enough that I don’t automatically fawn over marathoners. Don’t get me wrong, I would blow a lung at mile 11, but I like to maintain that such athletic feats are within my ability. Still, on Sunday, as I finished up my jog where I always do—with Indian Beach’s view of Sarasota Bay and the Ringling Bridge beyond (the bridge that, I remind you, I most certainly did not scale—twice—on Saturday morning)—I promised I would give due credit the people who pounded more pavement that morning than I do in a week.
My mother always says, “I’d like to run a marathon, but I’d be one of those people who drops dead halfway through.” As for me, I’ve concluded, best-case scenario: Halfway through I’d get distracted by Kilwin’s and have to stop for ice cream.