The first run (is the most unkindest run of all)


The Shoes

Yesterday was my first run. As anyone who knows me might expect, I hated it. But once The Bitch has an idea stuck in her craw, it’s only a matter of time until she starts to piss me off with it. In this case, she opted for sooner, rather than later.

First of all, knowing that past runs have left me with pain in my back and knees, I took some precautions this time around. I went out and bought running shoes at a cost of $48 before tax. For someone who never buys shoes, that’s a fortune. I gasp when I have to pay $20 for my kids’. My own footwear consists of several pairs of frequently re-corked and re-soled Birkenstocks mixed in with a couple of pairs of sneakers that cost under five bucks each.

I also got ugly knee supports. They claim to be great for high impact activities. I must assume running is high impact. They suck. They are ugly black neoprene and Velcro, and they still work better than the breast band I improvised out of an Ace bandage. At least they didn’t fall off.

I determined via the extremely scientific method of driving around and paying vague attention to my odometer that it’s roughly one and a half times around my block to get to a mile. SO I decided that three times around the block was two miles. (I later found out I was wrong. That was only 1.35 miles, and you know what? Why would I want to run two miles anyway. The Bitch can have her two miles when I can get to 1.35 without wanting to vomit in the neighbor’s Crepe Myrtle.)

I took Sam and his tricycle and headed out.

On a normal day, my kids can lap me on their wheeled vehicles. Just last week, I read them the riot act for failure to return to my shouting voice. (The garage door keypad died. I had to grab a remote. They did not wait. They could not understand why I was angry.)

But for whatever reason, Sam was going slowly. I passed him and shouted “Catch up,” about a dozen times. At one point, I looked back, and there he was doing the Dawdle Duckling with his trike, zig-zagging around. “You can’t catch me!” I tried. He pedaled faster. For a minute. But then he went  back to zig-zagging.

By the end of the first quarter mile, the insides of my lungs felt icy and thin, while the rest of my body felt strained and hot. I paced at the crossing near the middle of our first lap, waiting for Sam to catch up and trying not to revel in his semi-panicked “Wait for meee”s.

“I AM waiting,” I called back twice. But then, I stopped saying it. Because he wasn’t listening. And if he couldn’t be bothered to pay attention, then let him be on the wondering end for once.

When he caught up, I started pushing the trike, and suddenly I found my motivator. Well, his motivator. I haven’t got one. I don’t want to run, I’m doing it anyway, and I can’t stand gasping for breath while I jiggle down the road.  He said, “No pushing!”

“Good. Go faster. If I catch up, I push.”Of course, he kept forgetting, zig-zagging again, then getting caught short when I seized his handle (yes, his tricycle has a Mommy-handle) and shoving him straight for a few feet.

And then the breast band popped off. The Ace grip didn’t let go. Rather, the whole affair jiggled so hard that it just dropped under the boobs it was supposed to be stilling. I stopped right there in the middle of the neighborhood to hike up my shirt and jerk the damned bandage back into place. (Hey – I had on a sports bra. As pointless as the bloody thing is for its original purpose, it did protect any neighbors who might have been looking from an eyeful) But that left one breast (the right one, actually) wedged into a position of semi-stillness and the other pinched so the nipple and a surrounding collection of fat stuck through a gap in the bandage. I felt like a badly put-together mummy.

And that was just the first lap.

By the time I got home, and yes, I did walk the last quarter lap, I was gasping instead of breathing, and the triker had finally hit his damned stride. He dashed into the house telling Daddy, “I winned sometimes, and Mommy winned the other times.”

Fuck competition. Who the hell competes? But I know he loved it. Competition is anxiety for me. And it’s an anxiety I can dodge and live without. But Sam? Oh Sam the Man cackled when I was chasing him. He loved it. I was furious. I was choking-mad, because I just wanted the damned run to be over with, and here was this little runt treating it like a competition.

And then he came inside all proud and happy, like we’d just done something worthwhile together because winning was involved.

I wanted to say right there, “I am never doing this again.”

But instead, I vowed, “It will be at least a week before I do this again with him.”

I ran again today, this time in an old too-small bra. (It didn’t work either, even layered with the useless sports bra.) I will be out there again tomorrow. And the day after. Until my upper back gives out or the knee braces prove as useless as I fear. I will keep up the running for as long  as I can, because I did not buy forty eight dollar shoes to fucking walk.

______________

Madame Syntax wants her say about the title. She wants you to know that the quotation is not, “The first cut is the most unkindest cut of all”. Rather, it is:

For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel.
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar lov’d him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all
— Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, 3.2, 181-83.

I’m sure you can all breathe easier for knowing that little tidbit. I did have to Google the act, scene, and line numbers. But that was just because Madame Syntax is a citation freak even for works in the public domain.

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