The First Step:

I could always walk and would walk at a good pace. Somewhere in the 4+ miles per hour range. It was a good clip and I’d work up a good sweat. I’d walk when I didn’t have time for the gym.

This year, I never seemed to have time to go to the gym unless I was also going to swim practice. Between not having time and the damn Wii, I knew what was coming. I wasn’t happy about it.

The First Step was coming.

I was gonna have to run if I wanted to exercise. If you don’t run and never have, you have no idea how hard it is to take that first step. You know going in that it’s the first step in a descent towards inevitable madness. There’s no avoiding it. Once you start, you can’t stop. I was pained when I thought of taking The First Step. I didn’t want to do it. I knew where it would lead; new shoes, shorts, hats. I’d have to set insane goals, meet them beat them and keep moving onward.

I took The First Step.

I remember the first mile. Out the driveway, hang a left, run to the end of the street, hang a right, run to Port Royal.

1 mile. I felt as if my inner organs had liquefied and reformed into an angry she-beast. My body, heaving and panting, asked me “What the hell was that?”

I walked home.

The next day, I did it again.

It was easier.

Crap.

I was thinking about this today as I put on my $100 sneakers with the $400 inserts (thanks for the bad feet Mon and Dad!), my lame-ass running shirt, new warm-up pants, silly yellow windbreaker, Nike hat (Quick Dry FTW!), running gloves, strapped my BB to my arm and set my pedometer/pulse reading watch.

What have I become?

I’ve become a runner.

Never have I loathed doing something so much. Never have I thanked myself every day for starting something. It has helped. I haven’t weighed this little or been (what I think to be) this fit since a Bush was President (and I mean the old one…not toe goofy one).

I ran a leisurely 3 miles today. It was the 5th day this week I’d run and the shortest distance by a good half-mile. I was just out for a little jaunt.

You see, the Last Step of The First Step happens on Sunday. My first 5K race is Sunday. I have a goal. I’m gonna beat it.

I fear The Next Step. Running is a series of gateways. 5Ks become 10Ks. They become halves. They become wholes.

It’s got to stop. I’ve been told that we’ll only run one race longer than a 5K, and we’ll only do it because the scenery is nice.

I’m not allowed to buy a bike. She knows me well enough. She sees me eyeballing TheKid’s purple bike (the one with the streamers) and just says “No”. Because she knows. Because now she’s hooked too. And fears the madness.

We’ll be taking this Last Step together.

This doesn’t end well.