Friday, March 26, 2010

Grandma almost got run over by a diva in pink Reeboks

As I was lacing up my running shoes, I was already thinking about being finished and getting back home for my chef-inspired dinner of Special K. (Chocolatey Delight is quite possibly the world’s most perfect food.) I opened the door to a rush of warm spring air, and I made a mental note to be a little more thankful and a little less surly. The weather was ridiculously beautiful, and I have a body that allows me to run and a great neighborhood in which to do it. I should be ashamed of myself for complaining. Who am I kidding, though? I can’t help that I’m not Suzy Sunshine, and I found myself muttering under my breath any way as I headed down the road. “They can invent a pill for a 90 year old man to get his freak on, but there is still no pill to keep Doublestuff Oreos off my thighs? The injustice is staggering.”

I made a firm decision that I wasn’t going to push myself at all today. Maybe I could just run at a slower pace and take in the blue sky, the blooming trees and sweet smells. You know…because I’m such a reflective, easy-going kind of hippie chick…right? Unfortunately for me, my running route includes some really steep hills, so unless I get into my car and drive to a flatter part of town, I have no choice but to man up and climb them. And by that, I mean run them quickly, because the evil, sinister, demonic Nike+ is on my shoe today, mocking me as usual.

As I was recovering from my first pitiful pass over Mt. Everest, I spotted another runner off in the distance. I screamed to myself, “Oh, no, not today! I CAN NOT race today!” (Yes, I understand this is not a normal thought process.) I had a sinking feeling that this runner was none other than the perky teenager that I see from time to time. I don’t know her name, so I just call her Track Team Bitch. She’s beautiful, has a great body, and runs with the ease of a Kenyan. I hate her. Luckily, we have always been running in different directions, so I have never had to assert my middle-aged athletic prowess against her Umm-Like-I-Have-Never-Even-Heard-Of-Bananarama ass. It will be a cruel summer indeed if you mess with me, my pretty.

As the gap between us was closing, I had a decision to make: slow down a little in order to keep a comfortable distance behind her, or suck in a giant gulp of the heavily pollinated air and completely dog her. A little voice that seemed to be coming from my shoe and was not unlike that of Lance Armstrong made the decision for me: Dog her.

I feverishly clicked through my iPod to find the perfect soundtrack for the teenager trouncing that was about to commence. Beck? Too slow. The Cure? I want to run faster, not slit my wrists. Tone-Loc? How did THAT one find its way to my playlist? Then, I heard an unmistakable guitar riff and the very motivational “Kick it!”, and I was on my way with the Beastie Boys. I guess I had to “fight for my right” not to be completely humiliated by someone young enough to be my daughter. (Okay, okay, that was cheesy, I know.)

I stared her down, my pony-tailed opponent, and I was beginning to notice how much she looked like a brunette Tinkerbell in a ball cap. She was all of five feet tall with legs as big around as toothpicks. I suspected wings were beneath her pink tee shirt, but I couldn’t be certain. I glanced around quickly just to be sure Peter Pan wasn’t hiding behind a bush with a baseball bat, just waiting to take me out of the race with a blow to the shin.

I was surprised yet exhilarated by how quickly I was gaining on her. "She must be having an off day, poor baby." I jockeyed for position, moving into the middle of the road so that I could easily pass her and then zip right back in front so that she could slowly digest her defeat. As I was nearly shoulder to shoulder with her, she must have heard me coming because she turned to look at me. I had already prepared a look of snarky satisfaction on my face and was just waiting for the right moment to deliver it.

I locked eyes with the brown-haired fairy and realized, much to my surprise, that this was not Track Team Bitch. This was someone’s grandmother! She was a bona fide senior citizen who had to be at least seventy years old. She was the AARP version of Tinkerbell, and she flashed me a friendly smile, as any grandma would do.

I dogged her any way. I blew Granny's Buick-driving doors off, so to speak. Was this a hollow victory? Probably. Am I still a rock star in my own mind? Absolutely.


  1. Ha! Thanks for this. What is it about the competitive in a runner that always kicks in like some sort of sleeper syndrome - even when we promise ourselves a mellow day? It's like a disease.

    Once when I was racing a 10K, I was coming around the final corner and hurting good and I gave everything I had to get past the person in front of me, including sneaking into the inside of the corner, and possibly nudging him with my elbow. I finished a half step ahead of him and when I turned to shake his hand, I realized he was a geriatric Prefontaine. He called it though, took one look at my smug face, and said "You can't take pride in beating someone forty years older than you." Thanks Gramps. Go drink some Ovaltine and maybe you can keep up next time.

  2. Don't beat yourself up. Save that for when you can't pass her any more! Hahahahaha!

  3. Ammi, that's hilarious!! I follow your running exploits on your FB page and blog, so I KNOW you get it. And that Grandpa is wrong...I take pride in EVERY person I beat! :-)


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