I am not, nor have I ever been a runner. I find the whole activity confusing. When I see people running, I immediately look behind them to see what the monster chasing them looks like. Why else would they be running if not because a monster was chasing them?

Well lately, I have been running. I KNOW! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER. Why do I run? I run for this reason: BEAT DASRO.

Physical activity. Sports. Yeah... not so much. Good at Volleyball and Archery (which will look good on my applications over at SD6 and IMF I am SURE) - had bronchitis when we learned Lacrosse, so it still terrifies me, and am a top notch graceless spaz at anything where you need to kick a ball or catch something. Hello! --president of the drama club, contributor to the literary magazine, horoscope writer for the school paper, acapella group and the first recipient of the Frank Neopold Arts Award. Will you take me into your college please? Please?

I used to be Hard Core Gym Girl. However, I don't neccesarily think that being *that* kind of person is wired into my personality. I think it has more to do with certain patterns in my life of identifying something I like and jagging on it for a while. Currently I am making myself the same thing for lunch every day - a chicken or pork carnita quesadilla with my magic black beans, home made salsa, (which is more like bruschetta) and a cheese blend - all on a whole wheat quesadilla. Yeah dogs, you can look all cute and furry but you ain't gettin' NONE of this shit. HOT CHA CHA.

It's the same way with physical exercise. I was going to the gym a lot back then because I found a class and a teacher that I liked. The teacher and I became friends, and so, I started going to most of her classes during the week. I started making friends with people who also liked her class (one class was always full of Broadway "Cats"), and so - It was more social than anything -- not to mention her classes were *amazing*. They were very dance oriented and structured in such a way that no time was wasted - you burned a massive amount of calories in a short amount of time. You could eat *anything*. Which was another good reason for me to keep going. At one point I was in such amazing form that not only could I do the Russian splits, but one day, while crossing 42nd street to get to work at the theatres, I LEAPT over the hood of a car that didn't quite see me in the crosswalk and tried to drive into me. (No, I didn't say, "I'm WALKING here!!" -- I chose instead to scream, "WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM YOU FUCKING IDIOT?" over my shoulder as I KEPT WALKING. I was probably late to work. Or, you know, just too young and cool 0_o)

Two things happened which ended the HCGG era. Number one: I pulled a muscle in my thigh. It slowed me down but I thought - eh, I'll just work through it - 'cause it didn't hurt once my muscles were warm. Number Two: I had to plan a wedding. Unlike most brides who up their gym time before the wedding - I actually slowed down and went LESS. Too much shit to take care of, and I am not the girliest of girls - didn't do all that childhood "On my wedding day there will be..." crap. I was shocked, SHOCKED at all the things I had to think about!

But the thing that really put the nail in the HCGG coffin was... OH SHUT UP I KNOW I SAID TWO - TWO KINDS: FRANKINSCENSE! MYRRH! THREE! THREE THINGS HAPPENED!! ...was The Toe Problem (TM). I had an ingrown toenail that turned into a granuloma and hurt something TERRIBLE. At one point, my hobbling got so bad that the bus driver on the M16 LOWERED THE BUS FOR ME. Gah. Every fibre of my being screaming NOOOOOO DON'T. LOWER. THE. BUS. FOR. ME!!! And my gym friends didn't get the extent of The Toe Problem (TM). "Just do the elliptical!!", they'd say. Oh sure - I WOULD if I could wear SHOES.

Then, for a while, I found yoga. Ashtanga Yoga. I liked it because it was the SAME series of poses every class. No flaky ass yoga teacher standing in front of you deciding that today you are going to do "tree" pose or whatever she feels like doing that day. It is always the same series of poses, and I grew to love discovering how different my body was within that same series of poses every class. Some days I could do postures with no problem, then on other days it was as though my body would softly whisper "Oh fuck no." It made no sense and it was fantastic. Another thing I discovered is that it's important to get pedicures when you do Ashtanga. You spend a lot of time with your feet in your face.

Oh yeah and I dig singing the chant before you commence.

I was going on a regular basis - even -- YES -- GETTING UP EARLY to go. MAKING TIME FOR IT. I know. I know.

And then my grandmother had a stroke and slipped into a coma. I flew down to be with "her" for as long as I could, she hung on longer than anyone thought she would, and I had to get back to NY and you know, press play again. I didn't have the heart to do anything when I got back. It was hard enough just getting up in the morning. A friend of mine, bless her British heart, did her best to cheer me up - suggested we meet at a new yoga studio that had opened in midtown early one morning. They asked if I was a beginner and I said "yes", since I don't know the series by heart - you know - I just do what I'm told. So I stood with the beginners in the group that was being led through the series, and we closed our eyes and started chanting. I sang the chant, and you know what? Something about the feeling of it resonating through my body made me feel so much better, like everything was going to be okay... someday.

I opened my eyes to find everyone staring at me.

"You ain't no BEGINNER", the teacher said.

um. I just know the chant and like to sing it. uh.... loud I guess.

My grandmother died on August 24th, 2001.

I guess I don't need to tell you why I ended up not going back to yoga class in the weeks that followed. On August 25th that same friend took me shopping on Canal Street. Wanted to get me out of the house and get my mind off it, ya know. At one point, she made me stop in the middle of a crosswalk to snap a photo with the WTC in the background. oh FUCK OFF I said - HURRY UP AND TAKE THE SNAP ALREADY -- you are making me look like a goddamn TOURIST! But I stood there and smiled.

A little more than two weeks later we were running for our lives. Which brings me back to - why run unless your life is in danger? Why run unless a monster is chasing you?

Of course, as I type this, it *does* occur to me that if you PRACTICE running from monsters, then, when the monster *does* show up - you can outrun it. Hmmm...