Greenhorn Fettuccine

1 October 2007

At least Andrea didn’t do this.
Image Courtesy National Broadcasting Company

People know I’m a runner. I jaw about it constantly. Most are probably bored by my addiction. Some however, dive right in. And so I’ve discovered an unexpected benefit of running: witnessing friends and family take their first pronated or supinated steps toward physical fitness.

Perhaps understandably, some feel self-conscious when talking to me about their personal benchmarks. They consider me too advanced to appreciate their comparatively “modest” achievements. Never mind that, in the pantheon of running, I’m far, far closer to Oprah Winfrey than Meb Keflezighi. They still think that somehow I’m too fleet of foot to regard their accomplishments with awe.

But I’m unashamedly energized by new runners. Whether they’ve finally broken the 10 minute mile barrier, or have built up the stamina to run for more than 3 days week. Seasoned runners understand the immensely hard work, dedication, and discipline required to go from coach potato to 5k.

I remember that first mile, and nearly throwing up after my first 10 miler. I recall the elation I felt after my first race. Today, I feel the latent energy coursing through my body; the undeniably agreeable feeling that I can run 20 miles at the drop of a hat, or an ultra marathon without first putting my affairs in order. Put simply, I know the pleasure of running “just because I can.”

I want others to experience the same thing. I’d like to think that love and affection prompt me. But perhaps I’m merely reliving my initial foray into the vicissitudes of running. Let the psychoanalysts decide. Regardless, if you’re a new runner making real progress, you’re motivating me.

This being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to get started on this whole running thing. Or rather, there is a right way, a wrong way, and my sister-in-law Andrea’s way.

Recently, she ran her first 5k; a worthy feat. It’s even more remarkable when you consider she started her running odyssey not through a measured work-up to race readiness, but at the actual starting line. Call it the Michael Scott plan. At least she didn’t carbo-load Fettuccine Alfredo moments before the race.

Andrea has written an amazing, “you have to read it to believe it” post describing her adventure. It’s pure hilarity; no summary will do it justice. YOU SIMPLY MUST READ IT.

Just because I utterly respect newbie runners doesn’t mean I can’t fall on the floor laughing at them.

Just be sure to tell Andrea I’m laughing with her.

- Dean

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