Insert Chariots of Fire theme here

I am not a sporty person.

I’ve played sports in my life - about 10 years of soccer, 5 years of basketball and I was once on the school touch football team. But quite frankly, I am one of the laziest people I know. I don’t mind playing a game, but I’m not big on practices where they have you run around fields, do “suicides” or run through cones.

Therefore, I certainly have never enjoyed running for the sake of running. I mean, it’s one thing to run after a ball, it’s another to run in endless circles, right?

Over the last few years, I’ve been watching a lot of my friends and family fall into some sort of exercise routine - whether it’s running or going to the gym or something else. I was jealous of the results they were getting - you look better and you feel better - and I tried my hand at nearly everything. I spent two months going to the gym four times a week before I went to the Dominican four years ago. Unfortunately, I then got food poisoning and quickly stopped working out. I tried running, I made playlists and plans and I even made a running pact with my friend. But none of it ever stuck, and I had decided that me + exercise was just not meant to be.

My friend Chandra is a runner. It’s one of the first things I learned about her when we met back in September. She explored a lot of Newcastle while running in the morning. She also got to order dessert because she was already working off the calories. Tempting.

Finally, right before Christmas, I broke down and asked her if she wanted to train me. Just to see how it went. I wanted to be in better shape for traveling. I wanted to be able to order dessert in all the countries I visited. But most of all, I wanted some consistency to my schedule. As an MArts student, I usually only have class for about 2-4 hours a week. And seldom before 11am. So I spent a lot of time last semester staying up late and sleeping in. To the point where I would spend most of the daytime asleep or “waking up” and I wouldn’t start doing anything until the evening. Which is tricky because in England everything closes by 7 at the latest.

In January, fresh off the plane from Egypt and suffering from a horrible cold, I dragged myself out of bed at 9am for the first time to go running with Chandra. She showed up at my door, all bouncy and chipper, and we ran. For two minutes intervals, five times. And I barely survived it.

We have been running three or four times a week since then. I honestly don’t know how it happened, but I’ve actually become a runner.

Today, I ran 5 kilometers for the first time ever.

I actually sang the Chariots of Fire song as we ran. We’ll be up to 10K by May, and we’re currently looking for a 5k charity run to do this spring. I can’t say I love running, because I’m usually quite miserable as we do it. But I love being outside in the morning with Chandra. I love that I actually feel better and more energetic all the time. And let’s face it… I don’t have a scale, but I love the way it’s changed my body, while I continue to eat whatever the hell I want!

Morta

“People underestimate the value of a good bad experience.” - The Good People by Sarah Conn

I’ve always thought this way - that bad things make us what we are as much as good things. Which is why there are some bad things I’ve always wanted to experience. Some that I put on my list of 100 things, like have my heart broken. Probably inspired by my love of Savage Garden and the line from Affirmation, “I believe you can’t appreciate real love till you’ve been burned.”

I’m not asking for bad things to happen to me (in fact, I’m knocking on wood, lifting my feet and holding my breath right now to prevent it) but I truly think that to understand the enormity of human experience and human emotion, you have experience both the bad and the good. But I’ve been lucky. Nothing truly bad has ever happened to me.

This is the most unbelievable thing that has ever happened to me:

I went to Spain to visit my friend Chris, who was, in turn, visiting her parents. Though I flew into Malaga, we spent the two nights in Algeciras since it was right next to Gibraltar, our plan for Saturday. We were staying in a “hostal” which I think translates to hostel, but was more like a budget hotel. It was ridiculously cold in the room, but we were trying desperately to sleep. Until 2am when we were woken up by extremely loud screaming. At first we thought it was kids outside, drunk or high. It was Carnivale that week in Spain, so it wasn’t terribly surprising that people might be partying too hard. Then we realized that it wasn’t outside, it was only two floors down. They were SCREAMING. I’ve never actually heard someone scream like that before. We had no idea what they were saying, because we don’t speak (much) Spanish. There was a lot of crying, the sounds of someone throwing up and a bunch of different voices, one of which sounded like a child.

The screaming continued for two hours, and finally we got back to sleep around 4am. We didn’t venture out to see what was happening, because we were scared and we wouldn’t have been any help anyway, as we don’t speak the language. But when we went downstairs to the lobby the next morning, we asked the man what had happened. He didn’t speak any English, but we asked via charades what had happened. Chris held up two fingers, then four and did some screaming. He got it and started to explain, with his own charades. We gathered from this and a few key words (like “morta”) that someone had died! Apparently a woman had a heart attack. I don’t think I will ever forget that screaming. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after wards.

The true definition of thoughtful

I am a thoughtful person.

Let me rephrase that…. I am a person full of thoughts. Interesting that Thesaurus.com lists “anxious” as a synonym for thoughtful. That’s my kind of thoughtful. The kind where my head is so full of thoughts that there simply isn’t space to breathe, and my only option for a moment’s peace is watching mind numbing television shows.

I just sent Fae a really long email, to which she replied:

“It’s sort of funny you rambled about overthinking and that was one huge orgasm of overthinking.”

You’re telling me.