Maybe I need a new hobby
May 21, 2007

I run. It's what I do for fun, it's my hobby--I put one foot in front the the other for as fast and as long as I possibly can. I subscribe to running magazines, chat about running on internet forums, and buy running things from running stores.

Most people tend to shy away from running. They'll only do it when they absolutely have to--like if they're being chased by a rabid bunny at the park, or a pre-menstrual wife with a flat iron, or the cops. Not me, I do it 100% voluntarily.

Maybe I need a new hobby. I would probably like to try speed-eating, or homemade handicrafting, or dating. There could never be any question as to why I participated in those hobbies. They are indisputably fun--for all people.

The straight-up weirdness of my hobby hit me yesterday morning, the day of the North Trail Half Marathon. Let me just sum it up in a few sentences:

I paid $50 to wake up at 5:30 am on a Sunday to run 13.1 miles
I paid $50 to poop in the stank-nastiest port-a-potty of all time--twice.
I paid $5o to get passed by a 75 year old man who had a limp in each leg.
I paid $50 to hope that a road biker would run over at least 3 of my toes at mile 8.
And I paid $50 to hope that a different road biker would run over my torso at mile 11.8.

But as I rounded the turn to the finish at mile 13 and spotted my little boy, all of the effort suddenly seemed worth it. After six months of dedicated practice, James has finally learned how to get a little bit of air when he jumps. And there he was--working so very hard to jump up and down as he cheered for his beloved running mommy. His little voice was straining, too. "Yay Mommy! Mommy wunnin' a wace! MOM MA!"

As I ran that last .1 mile I pondered the blessings of motherhood, and large tears welled up in my eyes. Upon crossing the finish line, I veered to the left, sat on the ground, rested my face on the raised sidewalk curb and began to gasp and heave--I even had some tears. A giant, sweaty, shirtless good samaritan came over and helped me off the ground. The moment we made eye contact, my pseudo-crying ceased.

Good Samaritan: Are you okay?

Me: Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks.

Good Samaritan: Are you sure? You were crying for a second.

Me: I know. I started crying because my two year old was cheering for me and it was pretty touching. Then I really started crying because I realized that I could have crouched down behind that bread truck for two hours, popped out, run the the last quarter mile and he would have been just as excited. And I think I'm a little dehydrated.

So that's the new plan. From now on, I'm going to start the race, find a comfortable hiding place, watch a few shows on my pocket TV, and then finish strong. In my opinion, that is a much, much wiser way to spend fifty bucks on a Sunday morning.


patti said...

Amy you crack me up!!! You were awesome out there you speed demon! You definitely do NOT need to take up speed eating or something else!! But I am with you on hiding behind the bread truck!!

picoides said...

Hilarious! Let's forget all this training business and just run from behind the bread truck! Love it! Love it! Love it!!!

Amy said...

Mostly I run because it's way cheaper than therapy.

Chelle said...

Amy you are so funny! I thought about that, too, when my girls were cheering for doesn't matter what you do, you're a hero to your kids! Isn't it great???

Michemily said...

I just read this article by Ann Cannon and thought you might like it.,1249,660221932,00.html

Anonymous said...

When I left CNG it took me almost a year to find a new job (it was the year of 9/11 and the dot com implosion). We did everything to keep life “normal” from the perspective of our pre school daughters and cut back on things they would not notice.

One day I suggested to Holly who was 5 that she and I go to a local sandwich shop for lunch. She looked at me very upset and said “But Dad, we should not eat out because you don’t have a job and we don’t have any money” I got down on my knees so she could look her in the eyes and explained that she need not worry, we had savings to live on and I would find a new job.

She then said. “Yesterday when we were coming back from Noank, Mommy wanted to get some milk and you said you didn’t have any money”. Feeling awful I explained that what I meant was I did not have any in my wallet. “Oh” she said, I was so worried I could not sleep last night”.

The honest and unfiltered adsorption of information

All 6.2” and 275 lbs of me welled up with tears.

January said...

Oh my gosh...I was cracking up reading this and then BAM I'm crying. You are awesome!

Michemily said...

Sorry that link didn't work. You asked for it, so here's the article (long I know):

Running with a purpose — not a bad idea
By Ann Cannon, Deseret News
It started with a pair of shoes.
Women's Nikes. White and silvery blue. Size 7 1/2. My dad dropped them off on his way home from work one spring evening in 1981.
These shoes, which bore NO resemblance to the canvas sneakers I'd always worn in Miss Ercanbrack's gym class, were a revelation. Who knew a shoe could have so much padding? When I slipped them on (just like Cinderella), I felt like I was walking on clouds (also just like Cinderella). Dude! I felt just like ... Cinderella! Except for the wicked stepmother part! And the fairy godmother part! And also the annoying little singing mice part!
Anyhow. I looked down at my feet, all snug in my comfy new shoes, and thought maybe a person could actually enjoy running in these things ... .
So I gave it a whirl. I put those shoes on one morning when my husband, Ken, was home watching our baby, and I ran around the block. Sort of. If you consider "stopping a lot" and also "panting my brains out" as running.
Who knows why, but something happened to me on that maiden voyage around the block. By the time I got home, I was hooked — not unlike those people they tell you about in junior high health classes who knock back one drink and promptly turn into addicts. Yup. That was me. Addicted to running.
Soon I discovered that I could run a mile or two (or even three!) without stopping, and soon after that, I discovered that ordinary, non-jock, non-high-school-attending people like me could sign up for organized races and compete. Hey, lookee there! How cool is that?
So I started running in local races, and sometimes I even placed first. Yea for me! And also who's your daddy? Who cares if I was the only person running in my division? Other than that, I just ran to improve my time. Which I did for a lot of years.
And then one day I got older. That's when the stopwatch starting going backwards — and not in a good way. That's when I got slower.
How slow did I get? I was so slow that even if the Slowskis were the only people (or turtles) running in my division, I didn't win. I was so slow that even if I was the only person running in my division, I didn't win, either.
So. Here I am now — being beaten by imaginary turtles from TV commercials. How then to motivate myself to keep moving? Maybe I could take a line from Reebok's new "Run Easy" ad campaign, which promotes a noncompetitive approach. (Sample slogans: "Run at the Speed of Chat." "Run Easy" or "Why Hit the Wall? It hurts. Run easy." To which I could add: "Run like you're standing still. If you're me, you already are. Run easy.")
Or better yet, maybe I could start running for a cause like my friend Tim Moore, who runs to raise money for cancer research. This is a great idea, really — running for something that matters to YOU, whether it's racing for the cure or walking to create awareness about mental health issues (go NAMI!).
Finding an event isn't hard. On Saturday, June 9, for example, you could participate in the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial 5K run to raise money for a memorial honoring police officers killed in the line of duty (for information go to
Other worthy races fill out the summer schedule.
Running with a purpose — not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. Not a bad way to help yourself and other people, too.