I am an exercise type of person. In my head, I am running marathons, climbing slippery walls military style and kicking Tony Horton’s ass in push up competitions. My identity has always been that of a person who is in shape. I can continue to fool myself as I work out alone or with my dog (I just conveniently ignore the fact that Oso does not seem to break a walk as I take her on my “jog”). However, this week forced me to come face to face with reality after I signed up for a run with my local running club.
I did some research on the club before I signed up for the run. The friendly director assured me that the club attracts all kinds of runners, from hard core competitors to leisurely recreational runners training for their first 5K. I felt assured that I would perform solidly in the middle of the pack, quickly working my way up to one of the lead runners.
I arrived at the run to find over 200 young, thin, in shape runners. That was ok, because that is how I picture myself. I was excited about starting the run, confident that the run would be a breeze. The run began exactly on time and I settled at the back of the pack. I always like starting out slow and passing people as the run progresses and I felt smug as I imagined the 100+ runners that I would be saying hi to as I easily ran by them. Maybe I could give them some tips or exchange some race stories.
However, a funny thing happened. The runner in front me got further away. Within 15 minutes, I could not see one single person from the club. What is this, I asked myself? Did I happen upon an Olympic marathon training group by mistake? Was this really the leisurely group I signed up for? Then I looked down at my pace app and faced the sad reality, I was barely running 15 minute miles. I am far from the runner that I used to be.
As I dejectedly ran back to my car, alone, I faced the reality that I am officially out of shape. I know that it won’t be for long.