What Could be Awkward about Training? Everything.

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peace flags to make us feel peaceful while reading this post

Today I went to the track after a nap. The sun made an appearance today and there was no way I was squandering the opportunity to get my sprint on with muscles that weren’t frozen by drizzling or sleeting rain. I don’t have anything against rain, but variety is the spice of life, right? (Also, intermittent sunshine = fewer suicidal zombies wandering around).

Sometimes I get a little self conscious running. I mean, here I am all dressed in tight little shorts and occasionally, in sunny weather, removing my shirt so that my long-ish sports bra is revealing my belly, and I don’t really want anyone to see it; I’m just more comfortable. Most of the time this doesn’t present a big problem because who just chills next to the track unless they are also running? In which case, said individuals would be clothed in a similarly revealing and semi-awkward way, right?

Yes. Except when St. Andrews’ seniors are graduating and participating in one of their many exceedingly normal traditions. In this case, the tradition involves friends of the graduates bringing buckets of water to a predetermined location, where the graduate appears directly after finishing their last final of their undergraduate career, at which point the friends soak them. Today I heard someone tell a story about this happening at Oxford, except the graduate was “soaked” with haggis, mashed potatoes and champagne. To me, this sounds like a fairly expensive and poorly timed food fight. Anyway, moving on.

So I go to the track, not really considering that the soaking is happening all over St. A, and there, outside of the gym and alongside the track, is a crowd of 50 or 60 people, all standing around with buckets of water and intermittently cheering as their friends’ emerge from the gym and get soaked. What I can’t help wondering: who has finals in their gym class during exam week?

This means that while I run 400s, a large crowd seems to be cheering me on at strange points along the track. I got it into my head that actually, it was really nice of them to do that, and so I turned my music up, and ran around half naked, imagining that everyone was cheering for me.

Another awkward thing. St. Andrews’ track is only four lanes. This isn’t usually a big deal — hardly anyone is ever there when I am, and it was the same today. But I decided to run a couple of 200s, you know, just to get wild, and I also decide to run in lane 3 instead of lane 1. For kicks. Obviously. Just as I’m setting up in lane 3, an elderly man emerges from the bushes in running clothes and approaches the track. I imagine that he is planning to run laps or something. It seems logical. And he does come onto the track just as I’m about to begin my 200 meters, and he jogs along in lane 4, weirdly close to where I’m about to go sprinting by. I try not to overthink it, though; the dude just wants some outer lane track time, right? No bigs. So I run my 200 meters, whizzing by him early on, and when I finish, he has entirely disappeared. Literally no sign of him. What? I must have freaked him out. Why else would someone jog along one straight of the track at the only time that another person is on that straight and then just jog away?

Last awkward thing. I’m in a big hurry to get back to my place because I’m meeting my friend Will for coffee, so I rush off the track as soon as I’ve finished my workout, and I go across the fields, away from the gym, as a shortcut. However, I forget that one of the gates that allows and easy exit from the field has been closed, and there’s this stone wall running along edge, with a chain-link fence on top of it. I get to the closed gate and think “shoot,” but promptly see a hole torn in the chain links behind one of the soccer goals and I go right up to it and pop over the wall and through the hole onto the sidewalk. Which would have been totally normal and not weird at all if three people hadn’t been approaching at just that moment so that I sort of popped out in their midst. And even that wouldn’t have been so bad if, in my attempt to escape quickly, I hadn’t stumbled and almost fallen on the curb, which I did do and seemed incredibly funny but also uncomfortable because no one laughed except for me.

Training is awkward.

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4 responses »

  1. Rylee, as always your writings and musings are entertaining and provide a much needed respite from the stresses of daily life! Google Neil Gaiman commencement address when you have a chance (he spoke at the univ of arts in Philly). His writing style and take on life reminded me of you…

    • Ohh, thank you Judi! He looks really interesting — I’ll have to check out that commencement address, and “American Gods” looks interesting too. Thank you!

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