MARCH 6, 2013
It began as a joke gone too far.
“Hey Hope!” I said to the girl stretching in our desolate high school hallway. “Ready to run with me?”
After school, Hope and the other non-nerds of Barnesville High would run lap after lap through the halls. The inside track beat the alternatives: treadmills and icy sidewalks.
She said, “OK,” and I said, “Psyche!”
She said, “See you tomorrow,” and I said, “Yeah! Right!”
That night, however, I found a raggedy red sweatshirt, a blue, barely used Under Armour shirt, a pair of shorts, two tube socks and my favorite Fruit of the Looms.
I chortled to myself. This would be fun.
MARCH 7, 2013
My world is spinning as darkness starts to suffocate my eyes.
Hope runs on as I keel over near my locker, asking myself what went wrong.
Disclaimer: I’m not as athletic as I think I am. Don’t get me wrong; before that fateful run, I’d pound out miles on my family’s dinosaur of a treadmill. I only trusted that machine at 3 mph, but I still felt the burn at a 10 percent incline (the highest it would raise).
And I biked. And played — nay, started — on my seventh and eighth grade basketball teams.
I shouldn’t be dry-heaving after a mile and a half. Hope is like maybe 5 feet tall — doesn’t physics prove my legs should be working at half the rate hers are or something?
I didn’t throw up; I didn’t pass out; I, saccharinely, would not be deterred.
Spring of 2013
My favorite questions people would ask me were: “You? Run? Why?”
“Golf season is coming up,” I’d respond.
“You’re in golf?” they’d ask.
Alas, my new running routine challenged people’s perceptions of this bona fide band geek. As a 12th grade lifer at Barnesville, people thought they knew me. Ha.
My runs, which were and still are more like robust jogs, became longer and more frequent. I ran through the halls until spring finally arrived, and then I terrorized Barnesville’s city blocks by myself or with a mob of other misfits.
Equipped with an iPod, a yellow bracelet – more on that next week – and a general idea of where I wanted to go, I went.