As you know if you have been following my blog for at least a couple of weeks, i have made a goal to run a half marathon in October. This morning while running with my new and fabulous running partner Amber I drifted in memory to another time in my life when i took up this fabulously exhausting way of getting into shape. the story that follows is as my husband puts it "really embarrassing" and although yes it is almost humiliating, it is essentially me. And for those grammar queens out there I'm apologizing now for any errors! I hope you enjoy, and don't think less of me after :) ...
When i was a sophomore in high school i joined the track team. It doesn't sound so conspicuous, i mean there are plenty of reasons why a young girl might join the track team, maybe the hurdles seem like a fun challenge, or the 100 yard sprints are just calling her name. However, none of these were the reasons i joined the track team. Lets begin by saying that it was January and as these things happen often in high schools, it seemed that almost all of my friends had attained a boyfriend of at least junior or senior status. I on the other hand had not. Which you might think is no room for panic or dismay, no big deal, right? NO. You see that only the juniors and seniors get to go to prom, and if you are a sophomore the one thing standing in the way of buying the gorgeous dress, having your hair perfectly coiffed and riding in a limousine to the big party was the date. I cannot stress the importance of going to this event, i think i seriously thought about getting the perfect dress multiple times a day, and it didn't help one bit that i actually worked at a prom gown store and had to help other girls try on and choose their dream dress. Now the big day wasn't until May but trust me every sophomore girl was thinking about it, especially me. AND since half of the senior boys were already dating sophomore girls, i was in a hurry to seduce someone into taking me. and THAT is where the track team comes in.
It was like a light bulb went off the January day that i saw a large group of people filing into the anatomy room, i knew it wasn't a class because it was mixed grade and there were SO Many people. As my friend Lauren started to walk in i asked her what the meeting was for, she told me that it was the first track team meeting. I was particularly interested because i had narrowed down my selection of people i could start to flirt with and one of them had just walked into that room.
-NOW, before you start to think that i would let just anyone take me to prom i will have you know that it couldn't be just any boy, i mean there were qualifications here- First and probably most important his friends had to be dating some of my friends, because if not i would get stuck in a limo and at a dinner table without my friends! travesty! Second, he of course had to be cute- i mean i need good pictures too! and of course i was hoping that this might just be the love of my life, like all romantics secretly wish with every crush, however i knew it was probably not going to be my lifetime romance. But, in defense of myself i never really wanted a date and run, c'mon every 16 year old girl wants to find a boyfriend and fall in love- i just had requirements that he be a senior or junior and didn't already have a date to prom.
So i went into the meeting. As it turned out to my extreme advantage, the track team had NO CUTS! no cuts- wow. this was perfect! and the practices were almost every day after school. i mean i couldn't have asked for a more perfect scenario- and as it happened i didn't have a car and needed a ride, hmm... who would i ask to take me home??
The first day of track practice i showed up in a matching tank/shorts/shoes outfit. As it was, everyone that knew me was already questioning the fact that i was coming to track, it really defeated all previous knowledge of who i was. I imagine the hallways were filled with statements such as "Angela is going out for track?! can you believe that?" "She says she is just doing it to get in shape, but i think she is going to humiliate herself" or "Maybe she'll be the next star runner, who knows?" (and yes the last one i can say for fact no one actually thought much less said, but since i'm writing the story i can slip it in) As you can imagine it was quite the scene, everyone was commenting and laughing at how everything i wore, which now included athletic clothes, had to match. ( i was known to add a little flair to the school uniforms as well) Like i said i was on a mission, and when that mission is to attract the attention of someone who vaguely knows that you exist, well lets just say it started to work.
I think in my head i thought i would just run around the track a couple times and maybe fake a few shin splints and sit out, encouraging a certain boy to come make sure i was OK. Although i knew I couldn't do that everyday i had NO idea that sweating was really not my best look. Then came running form, i mean really who knew that you could be that bad at doing something that comes naturally to the human body but after a couple practices the coach, and everyone else on team, realized that there was a problem with my run, it seemed that my hands flailed slightly (well maybe not just slightly) as i ran. So the wonderful coach devised the perfect method to fix the madness, he granted me beautiful golden sticks to run with. Now not only was i the slowest, most ridiculous runner on the field, i now had to run with sticks in my hands. the rest of the season i was called Sticks.
The pinnacle of the track team spring season was the meets. Not one of my family members ever came to a meet, i never told them when they were, and to my dismay if you were on the track team you could NOT sit out a meet. If you came to practice you had to run an event. This idea i found completely proposterous, considering that i was terrible and would drag down the team terribly and then people who actually wanted to compete might start to get mad at me. Something i learned very young in life, don't even try at sports because the crazy good kids just get mad at you for not being as good as them. The meets were torterous, i literally begged Coach Townsend to let me sit out in lieu of making an utter fool myself, but for some reason i think he enjoyed putting me through the humiliation, maybe he had figured out my real motivation. To put the season into a few words: DEAD LAST. every time. Every Single Time. well i think actually once i made it second to last because there was a handicapped girl behind me, but it was close. If it was any consolation i'm pretty sure i always looked the best of anyone out there- i was always the one with the cutest ribbons in my hair and the best makeup.
The track team proved to be very beneficial when it came to getting a date for prom which worked out exactly as how i had pictured it. Maybe even better because that little romance lasted through the summer, to the dismay of my best friend Mike (who at the time was definitely NOT my best friend) and had placed bets on how long after prom it would take me to dump him. To Mike i say: just because you manipulate a situation doesn't mean it's fake, that's my story and i'm sticking to it. :)-- (maybe i wasn't clear here, but Mike was not the date. He just made bets on the relationship, and teased me to no end about it)
As i remember the events of those months in my head i can only laugh at myself for the extreme importance i put on that party- or maybe it was the dress, because as time has told, i still Love a gorgeous dress. I'm not the only one who found the whole thing hilarious, a picture of me in full makeup, ribbons in my hair, and a track uniform even made it into our graduation day via a video speech. (with eruptions of laughter) And i guess all i can do is smile, laugh, and know that i haven't changed that much, I'm still the best dressed runner out on the sidewalks at 7am with a little sparkle in my step!