Late on a Tuesday afternoon, looking forward to an evening with nothing I had to do, I received a text from Terry, or "the devil," as I've come to call him.
I laughed out loud at the thought. We were only a week into the Six Week To Six Pack challenge and I could barely run a mile without stopping or stumbling head first into a parked car. I pondered the daunting task for a while, and with Justin's encouragement, I decided to go for it. After all, what did I have to lose, besides a little flab and and a couple of veneers?
Around six or so, Meredith and her sister, Morgan, trotted down my driveway, all giggles and sports bras, as Justin and I stretched out calves and hamstrings.
"You ready?" Meredith asked with a devilish grin.
"I suppose." I replied unenthusiastically, "I don't suppose someone could ride ahead of me with a dirty martini on their trunk."
Morgan dialed up some music on her iPod, which was held in a fancy little vest that included speakers, available for purchase at liveRightnow, and we set out at a leisurely pace. There was spirited conversation and plenty of encouragement from my running companions as I repeated in my head "You can do this."
As we made our way through the neighborhood, I distracted myself by admiring the varying architecture. At the three-quarter mile mark, I began to focus on my breathing.
"Steady in, steady out." I told myself.
Meredith kept my pace while Morgan and Justin ran ahead of us. I couldn't help but admire how Justin, light on his feet and occasionally throwing his hands in the air, could be so jovial, even while doing something as taxing as running.
Shortly after logging one mile, I started to feel fatigued. My usual routine of reasoning with myself began to play out in my mind. You see, it does me no good to "get mad and power through." Instead, I run through a mental checklist in my head.
"It's not my feet. It's not my legs. It's not my core." I tell myself, "It's not my lungs. It's not my back." I continue, "I want to stop because this is hard. I will not stop because I am fine."
As we hit the mile and a half mark, I slow to a trot and Meredith does the same.
"You see that lamppost up there?" she asks, "We start running again, there." and I agree. This happens a few more times, me not completely stopping and her keeping me focused, until I can see my driveway up ahead. That's when I realized, if I really wanted to, I could be a runner. Now, I'm not saying I decided one way or the other that evening. I'll only say that I flirted with the idea, and that's all that mattered that night.