Going for a run. Everybody likes to say it. No one likes to do it. Well, there are a few. I’ll admit I’ve become one of them. At first it was embarrassing. My junior year when I began running on a regular basis, for perfectly legitimate reasons of my own, I hid it from the world. Self-respecting juniors at Boston University do not get exercise. Getting a healthy look is the task of sunless tanners and soccer moms and I wasn’t about to be confused for one of those. Girls in my circle of friends wanted to be confused for naturally waif-ish, romanticizing the cigarettes or other less mentionable substances that have made for loud parties and beautiful people since 1970. Skinny black jeans, however do not exempt a person from the symptoms of stir-crazy.
So I started running in secret, but this has its difficulties. There was nowhere I could run in Allston without being seen. The Allston streets don’t really call for athleticism. A person running is usually drunk, or running from something. Sure you could say we are all running from something but this isn’t that kind of column. The answer is to run in Brookline.
A trip up Beacon Street offers an avenue paved with running supply stores and talk therapists. Perfect. People in Brookline haven’t gotten the memo. They think it’s all right to be fit, to drink responsibly enough so that running on Saturday or Sunday is a conceivable activity. They think it’s OK to own running shoes. This is a further issue for the committed BU hipster. These girls would never own a pair of shoes that couldn’t also have belonged to Grace Kelly. Fortunately I am guilty not only of running but of a past of recreational soccer and I have sneakers in my closet as well as the hugely unsexy integral item – the sports bra.
Once I got over the initial embarrassment of muscle mass, bought a new pair of running shoes and established a route, I was hooked. I now gaze at running apparel as though it were American Apparel. I have favorite houses. The Brookline Ballet School that I pass has opened its doors to girls young enough to think that if Barbie is always on tippy toes, they should be also. At the cost of presenting a moral stance &- about as uncool as running &- I will suggest that these girls will never really grow out of this tippy toe phase.
I’ve vowed to learn to skateboard this summer. In my quest to become a Later-Life-Californian (a L.L.C.) I figured it’s a necessary step. Perhaps someday I’ll fit into a welcoming community of 30-something boarders, who, pre and post-children, still take their boards to the corner store to pick up milk and toilet paper. In this case I’ll of course have to rustle up a whole different uniform. No doubt my running shoes will still be there in the closet, somewhere.