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Coffee+Crumbs: The Accidental Jogger

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I went for a light jog and accidentally ended up in a 15K race, which I discovered when a group of women tried to offer me water. This confirms all my fears about running.

I was jogging along at my usual pace, which is half a beat slower than if I was just walking, and I passed the water station. Soon after that, actual runners started streaming past me, decked out in fancy socks and leggings, their official numbers pinned to their sweat-wicking shirts. I had to get out of there, so I diverted across a bridge, did a loop around a little park, and re-entered the race going against the flow of traffic. The water ladies started laughing at me as I passed them again and waved and, and the official race guy telling people which way to go yelled that I was going the wrong direction. I probably ran faster than usual simply trying to extricate myself from the situation.

I made it back to the car and as I panted there in the drizzly rain, I took stock of what led to this debacle. I am not athletic. I’m actually known for my not running. I have a shirt I call my sitting shirt, because it’s a running shirt that I repurposed exclusively for sitting, because I am a sitter. Imagine the shirt’s surprise when I donned it to jog that morning and it ended up in a 15K. It was probably thinking, Finally! Today’s the day I won’t be covered in popcorn. I am finally achieving my destiny!

How did I get to this place? This race place? I blame my kids.

A little over a year ago, a friend invited me to a Zumba class. I’ve always loved dancing, so I said yes and had a blast learning all the moves. I was out of breath and ridiculously sore the next day, but it didn’t feel like exercise because I was just dancing.

I started going to the class every so often and shaking my booty. If you’re wondering what I look like doing Zumba, just picture a dancing skeleton. A white, bony skeleton flailing its long arms. My viola teacher in fourth grade called me Long Arms because I could hold a full-size viola while all my peers got cute little kid-sized instruments. These pale, very disproportionately long arms swing in all directions to Latin music. I’m pretty decent at learning the moves, but the question is should I? I thought probably I looked like Shakira but then I tried a class at a gym with mirrors everywhere and saw the awkward, skeletal truth. I bring less Shakira and more Monica Geller energy to the class. READ MORE

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