Jog, Forrest, jog

I never was an athlete. In elementary school I did cheerleading. I was always the pyramid base, not because I was strong but tall and graceless. I tried out for cheerleading in freshman year, fully aware who my competition was. It wasn’t the popular peppy girls but the skinny awkward girl and chubby awkward girl. We all made the team when the coach didn’t have the heart to cut just one of us. I lasted through basketball season and long enough to overhear someone in the crowd say I looked stoned. I wasn’t, but I finally saw what everyone else did.

The next year I tried volleyball and discovered I was afraid of the ball and had an uncontrollable tendency to swear because it never went where I meant it to.  This worked to my advantage via a killer underhand serve that never landed where anyone expected it to. I once scored ten consecutive points for my team with this serve. I was so proud. (We still lost.)

Walking and bike riding were solo acts and more my speed. I zipped through intersections on my ten speed without stopping and never wore a helmet. I only wiped out that one time when a squirrel ran across my path, but that was in elementary school and happened in front of my crush and the neighborhood bully. He’s probably still imitating me with that horribly exaggerated limp.

I only started to run after I got sober. I was walking a regular route one day and thought ‘this is taking too long’ and ‘how many times am I going to make up stories about why that bunny statue moved from one neighbor’s yard to another’? It was the perfect storm of restless energy and boredom on a seed already planted by runners who were finding challenge and reward.

The thing is I’m a naturally slow runner. Really more of a jogger, except it’s not the 80s anymore. Runners PR and track splits and wear adorable water bottles that attach to your hand like a glove. They join running clubs and collect race bibs and safety pins. They use apps that don’t just remind them they haven’t PR’d in a long while.

I stopped running regularly in spring when I started earlier work hours and a longer commute. I walked during lunch, occasionally jogging back to my car because I’d underestimated how long it would take. I still ran on weekends and called it enough.

Then my oldest daughter joined high school cross country. All those lies I’d told her about running – that you should run for the fun of it, that it doesn’t matter if you’re not the fastest – well, they were exposed. She discovered her genetic predisposition to limited lung capacity or maybe it’s an aversion to competitiveness and shin splints. 

It broke my heart to see her struggle and, worse yet, know what it’s like to be slow. There is no glory in last place, even if all you cheerful types remind us we’re doing laps around those still on the couch. I should add that she toughed it out and rarely complained and set an impressive one-mile PR. And she was glad when the season ended.

Neither one of us have run much since November 8th, though that was my favorite race to date. I know, none of it makes sense.

My favorite race was along the same bridge I ran last year. I wrote about it here. This year my daughter ran it too. That’s what made the run special. At 14, she’s sweet and smart and funny and a delight to spend time with.


We both decided we mostly didn’t  give a rats ass about our time. We jogged and joked and marveled at the bay down below and the 10 year-olds that passed us by. Occasionally we sprinted, though walked a good bit and stopped for selfies at the top. It was a joy.

This is the year I slowed down and stopped running all the time. It’s hardly the end of the world.







26 thoughts on “Jog, Forrest, jog

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  1. “Really more of a jogger, except it’s not the 80s anymore. ”
    That made me laugh right out loud!

    great post, i have a friend who would chide me for “limiting beliefs”…NO.
    We know what we can do, and what we like. We know why we do it.
    I love that you are helping your daughter see that her predisposition to not running well is ok.
    There are a million other sports. My son solved his hatred of running by being a hell of a goalie in hockey.
    I solve my hatred of “jogging” by being reminded that it’s not the 80’s anymore!

    Your hair? fabulous!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Mish! Love what you say about “limiting beliefs”. It’s about trusting ourselves, I think. There are still plenty of things that do appeal, left to explore.


  2. I’m notoriously anti-exercise. I walk, I’m active, I move, but I don’t “work out.” I have enough work-work, thanks. But lately, I can feel my body atrophying, and I feel better if I push it. Running? Dunno. Cycling? More my speed. Staving off mortality? Ah, now I think we’re onto something…
    Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You always hit the nail on the head…Fear of decay. Cycling is great and I wish I didn’t get hip pain when I do it regularly…ah, just managed to make myself feel even older.


  3. God, I hate running. It brings back memories of being forced to do the 12 minute run in high school and dying.
    I look at people who run a lot and they never look like they are having fun. I will assume they are, but I know it’s not for me.
    It’s lovely you can do this with your daughter.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dang dang dang I could just squeeze you right through this screen! 🙂 That sounds silly but I mean it- I get such a kick out of reading something that’s what I’ve been thinking for a couple weeks. I forgot my headphones one day and just ran without changing to the fast song to be faster or not worrying about how slow my miles are. It was grand. So then I made the big pronouncement to myself that I am now a pleasure runner. That my mile time doesn’t matter, that it’s ok to walk or gasp! stop while I’m on a run!!! I always love reading your posts and plus the pictures are great!!! Bring back the jogger- I’m all in. Xxxxoooo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Life is all about moving at your own speed, not trying to set a PR or win a race. I quit mountain biking with people who tried to make every casual ride a race. Life is too short to not stop and enjoy yourself. As long as you’re getting out there, that’s all it takes. And what a great lesson for your daughter to learn at a young age and running is something you two can share!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post was awesome, Kristen. Your timing couldn’t have been any better. Perhaps one of the things I love about running is that you don’t have to be good to enjoy it. I admittedly got tangled up in PRs and all things racey…until my knee cried uncle and I had surgery.
    Since then, I’ve embraced my inner 80s chick (hello. I was the base for the cheerleader squad, too) and I wog wherever and whenever I want.
    Gorgeous pictures of you and your girl. I agree with Mish–love the hair!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It seems like I remember the bunny statue that moved from yard to yard. I guess you either wrote about it or I made up the same stories myself.

    I love the photos–how wonderful to run with your daughter just for the fun of it. My favorite race too was one where I stopped at the top of a mountain I’d just run (jogged) up to take photos. It was a hell of a view, right after sunrise, and you could see for miles and miles and miles, and I felt so tiny and yet, at the same time, so like a god. I missed my “goal” by two minutes and twelve seconds–and I reckon I spent five minutes or so gawking at the view. And in other races, I missed time goals because I was taking pictures of chicken t-shirts and stopping to read names out loud of bombing victims and snapping photos with hot firefighters and and and….and those particulars are ALL moments I’ll remember more than any “official finisher time.”

    We all have different reasons for running (or doing anything). My reasons are to stay sane, to burn off extra calories for extra cookie eating, to listen to loud music and play airdrums, to improve my heart and lung functions, to order cute new running shoes, to encourage others to run for the fun of it, to have time to think creatively and jot crazy random thoughts into my iphone’s notepad, to watch Netflix while I’m on the treadmill, and to stay sober. Not every run is fun, but most of them are. Once you go through a period where you CAN’T run due to injury or time commitment or family crisis, you become much more grateful for the times you CAN and DO run.

    I loved everything about this post. As if you couldn’t tell by my monster comment. And I love you. xo, c-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You, my friend, have an amazing memory (yes, I did give a possible backstory on the bunny). Finish times are bitches, but only if we keep track. I could’ve just as easily not looked it up. I’m a slow learner, but it’s starting to sink in. It’s not about the destination but the Journey 😌

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I always always HATED running until a year and a half ago. I was NOT a sporty kid or adult at all. Now I truly do enjoy it, but I am not fast. I really don’t care. It is a good mental break from life, I enjoy the time out in nature, and I enjoy the challenge. I don’t like the word jog, so I still consider myself a runner even though I am quite slow. I am training for a half marathon with my 16yr old right now. Unlike me, he is a natural runner. So far it takes me literally twice as long as him to cover the same distance. But we both get to the finish line, and that is what matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, you and you’re daughter look so beautiful and happy. I hear you on the running…I like to run but I run about an 11 min mile (I think most people call that walking LOL)…glad you got to enjoy the precious mom-daughter time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I laughed when I saw the title of this piece in my mail box. I loved the pace of this — it felt like a casual jog. I could feel the sun on my face, the peace and comfort of you and your lovely daughter and your shared spirit.

    I briefly took up running so I could participate in the BolderBoulder 10K one year. My problem is not lung capacity as much as it is bad knees. They are anatomically not suited for running. I do love walking, though. And running up and down the stairs in my house. You can’t believe how much pleasure I get from doing that. I’m not sure why.

    Anyway, lovely piece. Lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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