Well, I just did something I haven’t done in a real long time. I ran with some other people. I have turned into a lone runner over the years because I like the time to think, pray, and listen to my I-Pod which I usually listen to sermons or classic rock to take my mind off of running. But this past Friday was different. I was invited to run with Stacey and Tom. In fact, I began feeling like I had to run because Stacey sent me threatening texts about bailing out on them. There was a slight twinge of that when I woke up and discovered that it was a rainy, drizzly Saturday morning. But I was determined to not let my runner buddies down. So I showed up at the Runner’s Spot by the running trail ready to go. Now the nice thing about the local running trail is that it used to be the train path through town. So this is a nice, flat, safe and easy route to run. But we only did a half mile on the bike path until we went off the path and onto the country roads. Here is the big difference: country roads have a lot of ups and downs! Oh the hills! And if that isn’t difficult enough, Stacey would use psychological mind games by saying things like “What goes down, must come up!” And without the I-pod blaring in my ears it was all too easy to concentrate way to much mental energy in thinking about what I was doing. And it is just not a good thing to think too hard about running while you are running. A mental argument starts up where one voice says, “You can do this!” while the other voice is saying, “Oh my gosh, look at this freakin’ hill coming up? Why am I doing this?!? I’m gonna die!”
Now I know that I set some goals in my previous blog but I am going to have to scale back a little bit. I stated the importance of beating Stacey. Well, now that I have run 10 miles with her I think I can say with humble assurance that I will not beat her. Not even close. And Tom, being slightly older than me, I think he too will be way ahead of me. No hope in beating either one of them. So here is my revised goal: Beat everyone from my church except Stacey and Tom. So look out Dave, Scott, and the others of Team Jake! I got you in my sights!
But more interesting things have been happening from my runs. And this is not through the other runners but from girls in my youth group! After running one day I received a text message from one of my Junior High girls. She commented on the fact that she saw what I was wearing when I was running. Now I know that there is a lot of funky clothing available for runners. But I was only wearing a very normal pair of shorts and a loose white t-shirt with a Superman print on the front of it. No big deal. So I texted this teen back and questioned her comment. She told me Superman wasn’t working for me!
And then when I was running by the Whippy Dip I was lost in my I-pod but I did notice a group of girls who were standing close to the sidewalk and when I ran past them there was the sound of laughter. I wasn’t sure what that was about and if it was directed at me so I just kept on going. But I spent a lot of mental energy convincing myself that these random girls were not just laughing at me! Scary thing though is I really think they were, and I can’t figure out why?!?
And if this wasn’t awkward enough, I had another Senior High girl comment on my Facebook that she saw me running the day after my run. And when I entered into the conversation she said I run like a girl! RUN LIKE A GIRL?!?!?! What exactly is that? Running is running! I did not realized there was a “guy way” and a “girl way” of running. So I asked her to clarify what she means. She said I run with my hands out front like a prissy girl! At this point she was excommunicated from the youth group and her eternal salvation seriously questioned. I have no idea where she saw me running so yes going down a hill I might be picking up speed and moving my arms a little more than usual or if I am going up a hill I might be running just fast enough to keep up with a snail. But I can assure the world of one thing: I most certainly DO NOT run like a girl!
What is this?!? A conspiracy against the middle-age youth pastor!? I try to run a race for a great cause, and to take control of my heath and my youth group beats me down! I will have NONE OF THIS! So I decided to buy a full body lycra suit to run in. By doing this I completely erase my identity! No one will recognize me. They will just see the strange green guy running by. And it just might have enough weirdness factor that they will heed the warning to not make fun of their youth pastor when ALL HE IS DOING IS TRYING TO STAY HEALTHY SO I CAN BE YOUR YOUTH PASTOR FOR A VERY LONG TIME! But NOOOOO! Mock my shirt. Laugh at me when I run past you. And worst of all, just say that I run like a girl. This comes from the reality TV junkie of our youth group! She used to be an athlete but now has become and expert in reality TV programs!
So I just want to go on record because I am feeling a little hurt! I am doing something for me for once. I have done a lot for my family and my youth group but now I just want to achieve this one thing: run a half marathon! So if you want to give me some fashion tips on runner apparel, then FINE! You want to run 10 miles with me and see what your arms do when the rest of your body is starting to convulse from the miles you’ve just ran?!? Come on! I dare you! Run with me! No more talk! Let’s see you spectators get off your chair of judgment and join the team of running awesomeness!
Until next week.