I pretty much suck at running.
You'd think someone with knees that are virtually fresh out of the box (having avoided jogging since high school gym class), and someone who can swim laps of Shadow Cliffs Reservoir would at least be an average runner. But today, at lovely Lake Merritt in the heart of downtown Oakland (cue sirens, helicopters, and distant gunfire), I saw my shadow and it wasn't pretty.
Oh yes, I can pass all the people walking, but getting passed by really slow runners is a little depressing. I do have small triumphs, as when I am able to overtake elderly Chinese men wearing Dockers. But today an elderly Chinese man wearing denim shorts and crew socks blew by me like I was in a lane next to Michael Phelps. But at least I passed the guy doing tai chi.
I run because I'm so bad at it that it's a great way for me to lose weight. Swimming is so easy for me that I have to train really hard for a really long time to burn any calories, and there aren't many days that I have the time to do that. But a lap around the lake, even with periods of walking, is an easy way to get things done. It's just . . . I hate to look so bad.
I'm working on an idea for a t-shirt that says something like "I look much better when I'm swimming." That would empower me, I think.
I try to always wear swimming t-shirts (of which I have like 1.5 million), so that people can infer that I'm really an awesome athlete that is doing something else with her free time. I can only run on dry days because then I'd have to wear a rain jacket that would cover up my swimming t-shirt. And I can't run on really hot or cold days because wearing dryfit-type clothing would say to the world that I buy this kind of gear because I run in all conditions -- which is so far from the truth I just pulled my hammy.
The alternative is to throw sartorial caution to the wind (not that I feel much of a breeze), and hop on the treadmill at home. Overcoming the George Jetson vision of looping around and around till my husband arrives home from work to turn it off, I manage to climb aboard occasionally. But, dang, it's boring. I know people actually say that about swimming -- but they're just so wrong.
Swimming is the real deal. And it's what I look good at. Trust me.