Working that Workaround

I, like most people, love to be included. It doesn't really matter what it is, I just know that I want in! I am sure that this is a product of being one of four kids, and always wanting to make sure that I didn't get left out.  When my older brother joined the swim team, I threw on my water wings and paddled around the shallow end while he practiced, when my little brother and sister had a lemonade stand, I gave them all my coins so that they would have change (I was also a very shrewd investor at a young age), when my dad was splitting wood in the backyard for a fire, I would pick up sticks for kindling. When my mom was making cookies, I would steal as many chocolate chips as I could without being detected. I might not be able to do exactly what they were doing - but I wanted to mirror them in some way.

The fear of being left out hit me hard when my boyfriend began training for the New York City and the Brooklyn half marathons. I need to say that his running these half marathon was my idea.  He had recently quit smoking (AMAZING!) and had always loved running - this was the perfect way to celebrate his new lung capacity. During the months of training he was so excited about all of his workouts, the fantastic people that he had met in the various running clubs he had joined, and that incredible feeling that comes from pushing your body further than you thought it could possibly go. We talked about the process of running, about how strong he felt, and that running had given him a whole new perspective on life. It was beautiful and inspiring, and I was soooooo jealous!

I wanted to be inspired and driven towards a goal, I wanted to start thinking about food as fuel, and to crave the taste of gu (just kidding you guys, I never want that to happen.  Gu is terrifying and gross - it tastes like robtussin flavored fish paste to me), but I couldn't - I was afraid that walking a half marathon would be pushing my body too hard.  But, I had an ephiphany one snowy morning in the gym - I couldn't granny-walk a half marathon, but I could awkwardly ellipitcal a half marathon! It would be so weird, but it would be so awesome.

Later that morning, I found a half marathon training plan online, and I taped it to my fridge. Suddenly my boyfriend and I were both talking about our workouts, and I felt proud and excited about working this workaround. I was trying something that I hadn't ever thought possible before, and it felt great! I followed the training schedule, and on Saturdays while my boyfriend met up with his running group, I strapped on my sneakers and power walked the "long run" distance all over Brooklyn, Manhattan, Hoboken and Jersey City - I would giggle at myself after these long walks, delighted and amazed that I had gone so far without stopping, blown away by how much I had seen in one morning and happy that my body had let me do it.

My boyfriend ran the two half marathons and he was incredible - strong, smart, and just a total badass. Watching him run in both of those races was so fantastic, he had worked so hard and was seeing all of that hard work come to fruition.

I decided to do my elliptical half marathon on Good Friday, it felt like appropriate penance. That morning, I walked myself to the gym, found the row of elliptical machines that was the emptiest, and got ready to fake run, in place, for 13.1 miles. Now, there were no water stations, or screaming crowds, pretty scenery or consumption of gu (because again, you guys - that stuff is horrifying) but it was an unbelievably satisfying experience! I smiled the whole time, listening to my "Katie's Awesome Half Marathon Jams" playlist and kinda sorta watching the Real Housewives of New York City - it was perfect. 

When I finished I looked down at my time and I actually giggled! I had ellipticaled 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 41 minutes. That meant that I averaged 7 minute 45 second splits! I couldn't believe it! I walked back to my apartment, and called my boyfriend, my family and my friends and told them what my badass body had just done! They were as surprised as I was, and just as excited. I smiled so hard on that walk home that I thought I pulled a muscle in my face!

A few weeks later, a package came in the mail from an unknown address. Inside was a half marathon medal, engraved with my name and my time - it was from my boyfriend. When I called him, sobbing, to thank him he said 'You deserved a medal as much as everyone else - just because you did it differently doesn't mean that you should be left out! You need to be celebrated.'  That gesture made me feel even more included than paddling in the shallow end, and somehow, even happier than eating all of those chocolate chips.
Please note the calories I burned: I ate those back in Cadbury eggs about 1 hour later. It was the best.


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