an update on the whole marathon idea

I’ve started telling everyone, even random strangers I’m never likely to see again, about my secret desire to run a marathon. I recognize that this effectively nulls the secret aspect of it, but having a secret desire just sounds so exciting and mysterious, even if mine results in me being extremely smelly and slightly crippled.

This, telling everyone about it, is step one in my plan for getting things done. Now other people will expect me to run a marathon and I will feel like a guilty failure if I don’t. See how I’m making the guilt work FOR me? I’m that awesome.

Step two involves harassing somebody until they agree to run it with me—partly for accountability reasons similar to those in step one, and partly because the long training runs will be EXTREMELY boring if I have to do them by myself. I’m well into step two of the process; I’ve already selected my victim. His name is Josh, and he is an architect. He has the misfortune of sitting near me at work. (Don’t ask me how a technical writer ended up in the architecture department, but things got a bit mixed up when we moved offices, and I’m not complaining because I get to sit near the windows.)

Poor Josh made the mistake of hesitating for just a moment when I burst out with the (always unexpected), “Do you want to run a marathon with me this fall?”

“I haven’t really been running much since my kids were born, but I’ve always kind of wanted to do one.”

That was all I needed. Since that moment, the poor man has been barraged with a continuous stream of reminders about how much fun running a marathon would be and how we would feel like rock stars afterward. I display much more surety about these ideas in his presence than I actually feel. Really, I’m fairly certain that running it will be more torturous than fun and that, if I feel like a rock star after said torture, it would be a very crippled, uncomfortable rock star. I’m a bit of a masochist, whatever. Once I get him to agree and then sign up for the dang thing (not that I even have one in mind yet), he will have invested too much time and money to back out when he realizes I’ve been spouting lies and blasphemy.

Of course, since it’s midwinter, I have a while to work my persuasive magic. That means that I also have yet to actually drag my victim out for a run with me. We simply run separately at odd and inconsistent intervals and then update each other on how out of shape we feel the next day. So he may turn out to be a terrible running buddy for all I know. I was extraordinarily spoiled by the loveliness of my PA running buddy, and I’m trying not to hold my expectations too high, but I think Josh will turn out alright.

Reasons why Josh makes a good victim for this endeavor:

1. He is easy to talk to. This is quite important for someone whose company you will eventually be in (at least occasionally) for several hours at a time.

2. He is pretty easy going, so he may not mind that I run at a ridiculously slow pace.

3. He is hardworking and likes setting goals. AKA he will be unlikely to bail on the torture once he’s realized how torturous it is going to be. I just have to get him to actually agree.

4. He is happily married. Thus, there is no risk that he will ask me out, get turned down because I don’t really do the whole dating thing, and suddenly become a terribly awkward person to run with. (In case you couldn’t tell, this has happened before.)

Reasons why choosing Josh as a victim may turn out to be a mistake:

1. He is not a woman. Now, this may seem like unfair discrimination, but men almost always run faster than women, and other women almost always run faster than me. Therefore, although he claims to run slowly, he may turn out to be the greyhound to my dachshund. We shall see.

2. He is always composed and put together. You know, one of those people who never seems to get frazzled and who always looks nice. Now, this is generally a good thing, so congrats to Josh. But let me explain my side of the story.

I am not one of those people. I often behave in a completely inappropriate manner anyway, but it’s practically required when I’m running. About five minutes into every run is exactly when my body decides it needs to visit a bathroom for one of several reasons. Since bathrooms are not always available, this sometimes translates into sudden forays into the woods. Also, when I run, my stomach often likes to make the most peculiar roaring/gurgling noises, which I’ve been told sound quite a lot like an alligator.

I’m a pretty sweaty person when standing still, so you can only imagine how it pours off of me when running at even the most leisurely pace. But I’m always left with at least one or two dry spots on my shirt, just to make sure nobody can actually mistake my sweat-soaked clothing for dry clothing of a darker shade.

And lastly, (well, last thing I’m going to confess to here anyway) running seems to have some sort of de-filtering effect on my brain, wherein I feel that anything I say on a run will 1) never be repeated and 2) receive no judgment. I also swear a lot. Especially when I’m running up hills.

I worry that I will frighten Josh away with the grossness/inappropriateness that is me when I run. There’s really not a whole lot I can do about that though. And anyway, I have faith in him; I think he’ll stick it out if I can only get him to agree in the first place. 


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