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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Little Shapiro, Big World

Ariel embraces spring with a run on the bike path

Aaaah, springtime. Everything is in bloom, nobody cares about school and Cinco de Mifflin is close on the horizon. It is a truly glorious time of year. However, April does not just bring out the flowers or adorable baby critters, but something else much more nefarious: runners.

They are everywhere. Zooming by me on my way to class, making me feel inadequate when I stumble home on a Thursday night and living with me in my own apartment. I used to be able to ignore these running folks and brush them off with some mix of disdain and jealousy, but this year, my apartment faces the commuter bike path. All day long—and throughout most of the night—it is flooded with runners and bikers and outdoor enthusiasts who mock my laziness as if my “Hey Arnold!” marathoning is somehow of lesser value.

On top of that, everyone I know is training for a half marathon or a race to cure every disease ever or something. Even here at The Daily Cardinal, we have a team for Crazylegs. When my esteemed colleague asked me if I would participate I mumbled something about tendonitis while I walked away with my face buried in my gin and tonic. An 8k? That is asking way too much of this Little Shapiro’s little legs.

Maybe it is the peer pressure, or maybe it is the fact that if I were in “The Hunger Games,” I would totally be that little boy with the fro who gets sliced less than a minute into the competition, but I realized that I should probably get off my ass and go for a run. Running culture is a big part of campus life, and it is probably something I should try and fail at before graduating in a month.

So I strapped on my sadly underused sneakers and stood on the bike path contemplating how humiliating this experience was going to be, especially seeing as I was about to be surrounded by people who were much, much better at this than I am. One girl jogged by wearing a T-shirt from some race she participated in. It was not enough for her to just run, but she had to show she, you know, really runs. Then there was the disconcertingly fit dude who had to be older than my dad, checking his pulse as he ran to make sure he was reaching optimal cardio. I, on the other hand, spent an inordinate amount of time tying my left shoelace because I just really freaking hate to run.

Luckily, I am not really running in the technical sense. I found this fitness regime online that works you up to running a 5K over the course of eight weeks, and it might as well be called “The Derek Zoolander Routine for People Who Can’t Run Good.” The first week is excruciatingly easy, even for me, the girl who never failed to come in second-to-last place during the mile run in middle school. The regime calls for three half-hour “runs” over the course of the week, each bookended by five minutes of walking. So that is 10 minutes off right there. Then for 20 minutes you alternate a minute of jogging with a minute and a half of running. That is, like, only eight minutes spent actually running. Maybe it is less, I do not know; history majors cannot count.

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So I am on my baby-bitch run: I am feeling pretty good. I can sense my animosity toward the fit subsiding with every stride. They are not so bad.

They just want to be healthy and hang out in the sunshine. Hell, look at me go! Maybe I am even becoming one of them. I hold on to this sweet sentiment until I am beasted by a kid who cannot be older than 12. And I am right back to my middle school self, hoping I do not fall on my face and cut up the inside of my mouth with my periwinkle braces.

Despite my momentary bout of post-traumatic stress, I emerged from the run unscathed. I still have two more runs to do this week with two days to do them in. Will I accomplish such a feat? Will I cease glaring at my more athletic peers? Will I ever not be embarrassed by the fact that I thought purple braces were a good idea when I was 13? Probably not, but here’s hoping.

Want to go for a run with Ariel? She will push over the smug joggers with you! Tweet her an invitation at @arshapiro90.

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