I was a runner. I ran for the fun of it. I loved to run. Crazy how much a stress reliever it was. I remember way back in 1997 when I first talked to a nurse I worked with about running, I knew I could do it. I taught myself by starting on a treadmill, and pushed myself to run. Anyone who has ever run has their own advice (opinions!), but I can only say what works for me. Every body is different and everybody is different. There is a difference. Ha!
During those years, I played with it, but never gave it up. The last few years of my running, I actually got really good. I had one year where I either won or placed in my age division in every race I completed. Yes..I’m tooting my own horn right now. Toot toot. One could easily look at me today and be like, “You were a runner?” Believe me…I was just a few short years ago. Got the medals to prove it.
Racing was fun. I had memorable moments. I once wore a pair of pants for the first time in a race not knowing they wouldn’t stay up. I was pretty skinny in those days and had no booty. My hunka hunka caught my booty crack on film just as I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t stop to pull my britches up because I was going to have a personal best. Priorities, ya know?! I have raced in rain, snow, and 100+ degree heat index. All of these made for great memories, but nothing was more fun than having themes for racing. My costumes never slowed me down. My fun tutus became an expectation. I had fun.
A Facebook memory popped up the other day for a Jingle Bell Run I did a few years ago. Actually it was the last race I participated in and placed in my division. I hung up my racing shoes after that, but at least I ran in style.
I love A Christmas Story. I mean I LOVE A CHRISTMAS STORY. It’s my favorite Christmas movie of all time. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of touring the house and recreating all the scenes of the movie. My hunka hunka humored me and actually encouraged my actions.
For my final race (which at the time I didn’t know was my final race), I wanted to have some fun. I bought a leg lamp costume and super sexy fishnet hose to truly become the leg lamp. I convinced my friend to do this race with me. I think she cursed me under her breath many times, but showed up with the surprise of all surprises. She was in the pink nightmare costume. I about died and was SO excited. It made for the greatest race ever.
I wanted to capture this leg lamp scene. My hunka hunka was Ralphie and it was the perfect pose. I smile every time I see this picture, especially when it pops up on my memory feed.
Dressing up always made the races more fun. I believe it helped relieve my own anxiety of trying to better my time. I was my biggest competitor.
I completed many races with my BRB (best running buddy). Every runner should have one of those. My dear BRB, Michelle, and I ran many races together. We had so much fun. We loved dressing up and enjoying the little kids looking at us. Even some adults raised eyebrows. We would laugh and carry on. If I wanted to dress up for a race, I could always count on my BRB to join in the fun and be ridiculous together.
I’m a huge Big Ben fan. My hunka hunka asked me what I wanted to do for my big 4-0 birthday. I knew I wanted to see Heinz Stadium. I found a race that finished on the sidelines of the field. Holy cow..sign me up.
I knew I was going to dress in Steelers to the max. I had all my fun gear on and was waiting in the hotel lobby. A few adults walked by and started laughing and talking about me. At that moment, it took me back to my horrible school days when I was relentlessly picked on for being poor or wearing glasses or anything the bullies could find to upset me. My hunka hunka just kept encouraging me to run my race and leave the haters behind. So that’s what I did. I finished way ahead of those LOSERS. I also made it to the Steelers’ promo video for a year that played anytime you went to the site. I must have done something right.
My friend, Robin Lawrence, saw my Steelers get up and asked me to emcee a race and warm up the participants of a run she was hosting just a couple weeks later. She told me tutus were required.
I learned through all those races to embrace the weirdness. It’s okay to laugh at yourself. I shouldn’t change my weirdness just to fit in. And, by golly, make sure you have a BRB who will go along for the ride.
The best part of all the crazy races was the finish line. Not the finish line in a way to depict the race was over, which was good, too. Nope…I’m referring to the finish line knowing my hunka hunka was waiting. In all of the races I ran since we have been together, he never missed one race. He was always at the finish line waiting on me, no matter the weather conditions. I know I praise my hunka hunka a lot, but I catch myself writing my blogs and my thoughts always go to him. He embraces my weirdness. He would shake his head more often than not, but still smile and stay by my side. Dr. Seuss has a fabulous quote that fits us perfectly, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Stay weird, folks! Peace out, trout!