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Running for Cover

August 31, 2010

No photos of hedges at my parents' house, but better than the Googled images of "bush" turned up...

The house I grew up in is on a relatively busy street for suburban Connecticut—one or two cars pass a minute. I was cognizant of this fact because whenever one would pass, if I was playing in the front yard, I’d hide. One of my favorite games for a while was jumping over the boxwood hedges in front of their house, trying to clear them completely like a hurdler. (Okay, so maybe I wasn’t as much of a bookworm as I remember, now that I think back…) But the moment I heard a car engine, I’d crouch down behind the bushes instead of clearing them in a single leap.

I was reminded of this shy-girl habit last week during a tempo run. My game that day was to warm up for 20 minutes (which included making a detour to a bathroom, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic!), then turn up the dial and crank out six miles at goal half-marathon pace (8:00), and finish up with 20 minutes of cooldown. I was running on the shoulder of a fairly busy street—certainly more cars than my parents’ street sees. Other than having to negotiate pavement-sharing with some bike-commuters, I was fine with the traffic.

I had promised myself I could take a Roctane break halfway through the speedwork. When my new Garmin beeped for a third time, I stopped, unintentionally, behind a row of large arborvitae. As I ripped into the packet, I was about to start walking as I normally do during a gel/drink break. Instead looking at the tall, bushy hedges, I had a flashback to childhood. Suddenly I didn’t want any drivers or cyclists to see me, especially as I lifted my tee to wipe sweat off my face. I was embarrassed for passersby to catch a glimpse of my belly, for them to judge me as a runner.

If the competitive grown-up in me hadn’t eventually spurred me on, the timid child in me might have stood there, behind the bushes, all morning.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 10:55 am

    Its funny how that little girl stays with us over the years….

  2. August 31, 2010 11:30 am

    Yeah, probably not the best idea to Google image “bush” ha ha.

    Nice story. That’s my goal half-marathon pace too, aren’t you running Eugene this weekend? Maybe I’ll be able to say hello… if I can keep up. 🙂

    • bowenshea permalink*
      August 31, 2010 2:29 pm

      Hi Laurie–
      Yes, I’m racing Eugene. It would be great to meet–please look for me in corral. And, better yet, pls. join me for RLAM reading at 4 p.m. at packet pick-up on Saturday. Please: I’m hoping for a bunch of friendly faces looking back at me! -Sarah

  3. August 31, 2010 11:40 am

    OH MY WORD!! I found you from Carly’s blog: Chubby Chicks Run Too, and I want to instantly become your bff’s! Love the site, love everything about it and totally downloading your book onto my nook this evening, it is available for my nook right? If not, I’ll get my hands on it either way. Please consider running: Long Island NY’s all women’s half marathon: http://www.runlikeadiva.com/Divas_Half_Marathon.htm or is a half not enought for you lovely ladies?

  4. bowenshea permalink*
    August 31, 2010 2:32 pm

    Welcome, Deanna! So glad you found us! (I trust you’ve joined us on Facebook as well–Run Like a Mother: The Book.) Alas, we aren’t on Nook yet, only Kindle. But bn.com sells the book, as does amazon, borders, and indy bookstores (which we love!).

    Diva’s Half looks awesome. We -heart- the tribe-vibe at women’s races. Alas, date and location doesn’t work for us. Maybe next year–my parents live in Stamford, CT, so just across the sound!

    • August 31, 2010 8:31 pm

      I will have to go a brick & mortar but that’s just fine still love cracking the binder of a book!! I did join the FB page, love that too! Banging out 8 tomorrow in honor of RunlikeaMother, totally 100% inspired by this bloggity blog … and all those that comment too, I will spend days reading the archives!

      Good ‘Ole Stamford – beautiful place! We can do a tri and meet in the sound! ha!

  5. sharlaelizabeth permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:45 pm

    When I first started running, I really wished there was a way to do it so that no one else could see me. I constantly felt like I was being judged. And some people might have been, but it was mostly me projecting my insecurities. I don’t know when, but somewhere along the way I’ve changed their looks from “Good gawd, she looks like she’s going to die!” to “Wow! She’s working hard!” It’s not a huge difference, but it helps.

  6. August 31, 2010 6:06 pm

    The drivers are sitting behind the wheel; they are not running. If they noticed you, it would be because you are out there, sweating away and showing great determination.

  7. August 31, 2010 7:41 pm

    Love you story! It’s funny what reminds you of childhood, isn’t it?

  8. Julie permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:46 pm

    I am a new runner and plan my route to go through an undeveloped neighborhood so I’m seen by the fewest number of people possible! Glad to hear that a pro also feels like hiding sometimes.

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