As a sheltered kid growing up on the mean streets (not really) of Teaneck, New Jersey, my overprotective mother would allow very few activities where she couldn’t keep a vigilant eye on us. That left us with precisely two play areas – the backyard and the short stretch of pavement at the end of our dead-end street.
Back when kids still played in the street, my sisters, cousins and I spent hours racing down to the end of that dead-end. In my memory, I was fast. Really fast. I would also say I won all the races. And while my memory of my win/loss record is sure to be called into question, (see I’d forgotten about that for more on my awful memory), one thing I do know for sure is that I loved the way I felt when I was running. Unfortunately, I wasn’t confident enough at the time to transform that love into joining the track team or even taking running up as a hobby.
Fast forward 25 plus years and I still love the feeling of running.
When I imagine doing it.
In my mind.
Because when I’ve actually tried to do it, the feeling I get is not the same as the one I got years ago.
Running down that dead end street as a kid I felt fast, carefree and like I could run like that forever.
Now when I run I feel…my right hip, my left knee and the chafing of my construction grade sports bra against my back. *Sighs*
A younger cousin ran for a while and wrote about the hip pain she felt that led her to give up running. I now understand. And the truth is, no matter how much I want to run, me, on all fours (crying) on the corner of “bless her heart” and “she just wouldn’t listen” is not a good look. And not good to look at. And hollering at the local hotties while sweating in the fetal position on the sidewalk is no way to meet a man. Not one with teeth anyway. Trust me.
This is not to say that women runners in their 40s and beyond aren’t tearing it up on the side streets of America. I know they are – the bright light of their fitness glory blinds me each and every time they whiz by me on my WALKS. Kudos to them and those aerodynamic baby pusher things that have them navigating through the streets of Oakhurst like they’re training for decathlons.
As for me, I’ll keep watching the runners enviably from the sidelines. In the meantime I’ve got my walking and I’ve found a new workout muse – Michael Jackson The Experience. Michael Jackson and I have been tearing it up on my Wii. If enough of you ask I’ll even video a session so you can get a good ab workout from laughing with me while you watch. No, not really. Image: Not me running – Source:Flickr: Emanuel Leanza “Eleanza”
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