i always feel like a bit of a fraud when i work out. and i’ve been working out (dance, weight lifting, aerobics, jogging, yoga, walking, biking, pilates) off and on since ninth grade when us non-sporty hippie kids were lucky enough to be able to take yoga for p.e. at west campus. before that, i was a dedicated bookworm who had to be pried out of the rocking chair and forced on family hikes in tilden park. in my mind a runner is someone who has excess energy to burn and manages to effortlessly fit in substantial mileage daily. the run adds to their rich and varied day, the running outfit is fresh and flattering, the workout just one of the many things the runner accomplishes with ease. for me, running was always a bumpy thing. it never invigorated; it was an activity that i could parcel out some my best energy for, during that small daily window of optimum vim and vigor. the satisfying feeling of accomplishment was the reward, not a recharged body. and then there was always the clean up and recovery time demands that cut into the rest of the day.
i gave up running over a dozen years ago when my sister’s last baby boy was born. it was my job to watch our latest sturdily built bundle of joy and toting him around gave me some lower back trouble. this last baby has ruined my back, i declared. excuse you, my sister said, i don’t think you gave birth to him.
many years later i attempted to run aground a couple of young shoplifters. the girls, the police, old boyfriends, and myself all converged at the top of a steep hill. i tried really hard to disguise the fact that the hill had almost killed me. and i reintroduced cardio to my yoga/pilates workouts the next day. my back no longer minded when i ran on treadmills and i pretended that the other gym members didn’t mind my now bright red after-workout face. but then my knees started to complain. seems they got old when i wasn’t looking. so it is only very recently that i find myself trying once again to run. and it is going very well! going about it slowly & carefully and the knees are staying quiet. i just love running on the track way up at the top of derby street with its magnificent view of berkeley, the bay, and on clear days a postcard-perfect view of san francisco.
i’m pretty close to my favorite peet’s when i’m done at the track but the timing isn’t quite right for a coffee shop visit. plus, the face is pretty red still and i wouldn’t want to alarm folks. still haven’t found the ultimate coffee shop with the Best Coffee and the Best Goodies but i have found good neighbors: peet’s is right next door to the bread garden bakery, fourth street peet’s is across the street from bette’s diner which has a scrumptious espresso eclair, and at the farmers’ market we have the blue bottle coffee cart right next to the most amazing ginger scones from pt. reyes’ brickmaiden breads. but when i do find the ‘just right’ coffee shop and if i get chased like goldilocks, i’ll be able to run.