Recently, I’ve started running. I’ve never thought of myself as an athletic person at all — my parents tell stories about me, age 3 and 4, hiding behind the gymnastic mats in the gym of my nursery school, reading books. Although I’ve joined more than one health club in the last 15 years, it’s never really stuck.

But now it has. In January, I started going to the gym. At the outset, I could only run 20 minutes on a treadmill, barely 2 miles, without getting winded. Within 6 weeks, I was able to run nearly 6 miles at the gym, and if boredom hadn’t gotten me (not to mention the MTV show America’s Next Dance Crew ending), I could’ve kept going. Now I’m running outside. Princeton has a gorgeous tow path along the Delaware and Raritan Canal. It’s scenic and car free, the crew team on the left, angry geese protecting their nests on the right. Today was a lovely 72 degree evening, one of the first truly gorgeous spring days. I ran (and for about a mile, walked) 4.36 miles. I’m not particularly fast and that’s fine. That’ll come in time. Running makes me realize that Sleater-Kinney, the Doves, New Order, the
Pretenders and My Bloody Valentine are great running music, right at my
pace, and the Happy Mondays are great for lifting spirits when I start feeling tired.

Running started out feeling like a solo activity, me against myself. Now, running feels like an entity separate from me. I need it and it also needs me. It doesn’t ask all that much of me, just that I go and do it. It gives back to me. It boosts my spirits. Not sure how this happened to me: I’m the last person in the world who expected to become a runner.