Here’s what happens when you get ditched.
You commit to a fitness regimen that obliterates your nightlife plans and makes you breathlessly recite ’80s song lyrics before sunrise on a Saturday morning.
The odd part? You enjoy (almost) every second of it.
Let me back up a bit.
One afternoon in late July, I planned to hang out with a friend. When her schedule changed at the last minute, I had a burning desire to drive aimlessly around Columbus.
During that aimless chain of errands, I not only learned about the inaugural Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon, but also joined a 6 a.m. Saturday running group to train for the half marathon. After a brief cell phone conversation, my boyfriend committed to the process as well.
Don’t get too impressed. There’s a good chance our dinner that night included the phrase “deep-fried.”
Either way, we’re running 13.1 miles on Saturday.
I get a standard question after making the announcement: “Are you ready?”
People ask it with so much intrigue that I’m tempted to say no, we’re not ready — in fact, we maxed out at 2 miles and plan on wearing those cute wheelie shoes for the majority of Saturday’s event.
That’s not entirely the case.
We started our training at summer’s peak, a time when early morning efforts to avoid the heat still yielded intense humidity. Our first long run was 5 miles and we gradually added mileage.
You’d think the early morning oneness with nature would produce all sorts of soul-searching conversations about our relationship’s future.
Unfortunately, thanks to the heat, our emotional chats were often reduced to blister comparisons. With one exception: I could occasionally convince my boyfriend to recite some Cure lyrics — which totally scream “power anthem.” Not.
Meanwhile, I learned to sort through a deluge of advice and superstitions.
I nod enthusiastically when someone swears by the power of a specific energy drink or breakfast food — knowing five minutes later, someone else will tell me the advice is the root of all evil.
Go ahead, seek as much outside motivation as you’d like.
But long-distance running is ultimately a reminder of an individual willingness to defy mental roadblocks.
I lost my social plans that July afternoon, but somehow initiated a 13.1-mile journey toward finding myself. Not a bad deal.
See you at the finish line.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org