The sun hangs low over Boston College, casting the shadows of trees over the waters of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I am coming around the running path that circles the reservoir, walking toward the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, and I see a sidewalk curving off to the side–according to the helpful voice from my phone, my first session with the Couch to 5K app ended about 30 seconds ago.
To my left, the track continues. That’s where the real runners are, I think, looking at everyone who passed me. To my right, the sidewalk that leads to Beacon Street. Normal people, everyone else. Here I am, trying to decide on which side I belong.
I am not a runner. I have not run since college ended, even then not well or far. I am a fairly average, if a little overweight, 28-year-old (29 next month) dude. Far from athletic, I started a 5-minute cardio app a couple of months ago. I walk a lot–my friends seem to have a different definition of ‘walking distance’ than I do.
Running was a whim, one that I have been considering for a couple of months–but why not today?
The walk/run/walk of the app had brought me about 3/4 of the way around the reservoir. 2.23 miles from my house in a little under a half-hour. Two more steps, and I’ll have to commit to the sidewalk or the running track.
My legs feel strangely normal. I was expecting them to feel like lead–then again, I’m still in motion. I expected to feel worse, excepting that one moment where I thought I was going to feel nauseous. I could feel my lips chapping, but overall, I felt… good. Snarky, even. I pulled out my phone to make a sarcastic tweet:
@epynephrin: Well, I sure picked a lovely day to do something awful to my body. #novicerunner pic.twitter.com/wGR2sQCVkR
The sandy, fine powder of the track is starting to seep into my shoes as the sidewalk fades away. I paid my dues today. Today, at least, I guess I am some kind of a runner.