“Why You Not Running?”

My hometown race was yesterday—not my A race but the most important to me, psychologically, of the season. It took place in my neighborhood, with the transition area across the street from my house, in the parking lot of the UNC Wellness Center, where I spend a lot of my time teaching and swimming.

A number of my students and friends did the race, and all finished with big smiles, even though I saw a lot of gritted teeth as they headed up the hill running out of T2. (Sarah L., when I shouted “Looking great!” replied, “And feeling like utter shit!” But she had the biggest grin of all afterward as she headed home to pick up her baby and put away stacks of diner pancakes.) One of my students won his age group—although, as he said he’d have to point out to his grandchildren, as the only man in the 65–69 group, he was also the last in his category. Another, a former collegiate runner, was second masters female, in her very first triathlon—and she rode a crummy old mountain bike. My client Julee took third masters female coming off two weeks of intense kayaking vacation. And my student Julie L., riding her bike for the fourth time this year, handily beat me with her fast run. I can’t take credit for these performances, except maybe Julee’s fast transitions, which put her one second over the next woman, but it was a blast to witness.

My sister-in-law took Lily and Vivi, still in pajamas, up the block to watch the runners pass. Situated at the top of that hill out of T2, they apparently saw a lot of walking as the morning wore on. Vivi shouted to one, “Why you not running?”

So, ladies, with the state’s first women’s-only race on the horizon October 22, I, too, ask, “Why you not running?” If the answer is that you don’t know how, come to the clinic Monette Williams and I are teaching at the Wellness Center. We’ll start on Tuesday, September 12, at 6:30 p.m. and meet for six weeks, ninety minutes per class, discussing and practicing everything you’ll need to earn your own grin of satisfaction. $125 for members, $150 for nonmembers, with child care available. Call the Wellness Center at 966-5500 to register.

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