Hey, remember when I told you about that swim test I was a little hand-wringy over? And then for the last month and a half you’ve been dying — DYING — to know how it went?

(Oh, what’s that you say? You neither remember it nor do you give two shits? Eh, to each his own, I suppose. I mean, if I can’t be bothered to post regularly, I probably can’t really expect you to wait with bated breath, can I?)

Anyway, it happened and … well, it was good. I kind of set two goals, as I usually do for a race, the first being what I’d be perfectly happy with, but not elated over, and the second being my true, shoot-for-the-stars goal. And I kind of blew them both out of the water (get it? swimming and water? har, har, har)

I’m still really, really enjoying my swim classes, and honestly miss hitting the pool when I’m unable to go. But the fact that my swim test went well got me thinking that, if I can improve rapidly and do that well in the pool, maybe I should look into getting some coaching in the other individual sport I spend a lot of time on — running. Since the guy teaching swim class had just won a triathlon (like, as in, won the whole damn thing. Yeah, I know.), I thought I’d ask him if he’d be interested in helping me out with some running. So, for the last three weeks, I’ve been getting lessons on how to run.

Oh, you guys. You think running is just something that, like, you go out and do, right? I assure you it is not. The first lesson, we completely changed my form. The way I land, the way I kick back, the way I hold my arms … all changed. I have to think about all this stuff, all the time. Since then, he’s been doing drills with me in an attempt to make running a little more interesting and — dare I say it? — fun.

(Except for last week, when we did hills, and the first thing he said was, “You know, it’s okay if you puke.” Umm, okay with him, maybe …)

((There was no puking, but I might’ve said a few words that probably would’ve made the fellas hanging around my dad’s bait shop blush.))

(((Sorry, Mom. And yes Dad, I’ll teach you those words next time I see you.)))

Here’s the thing with me and running. I’ve done a lot of it. I’ve run for basketball and I’ve run fairly long distances and I’ve run lots and lots of short distances. And, for the most part, you can just about set a watch by the time it takes me to run a mile. (You know, if you don’t mind your watch being off by 30 seconds or so.) I’m a 10-minute miler, and while I don’t think that’s anything to feel bad about, I definitely feel like, for the amount of time I’ve put into running, I should probably be able to pick up the pace, you know?

I don’t have any delusions of winning a half marathon or anything; I truly don’t. But, when I run 5ks, especially the little local ones, I want to be closer to the front than to the back. I don’t want to come in behind the middle of the pack. I want to finish with a time that I’m not only not embarrassed by, but a time that I want to shout from the rooftops. I want to go out to brunch afterward and have to hold myself back from telling the server how I did.

I just signed up for a four-mile race on October 1. It’s an evening race (I’m far better in the evenings than in the early mornings) with a beer festival afterward, which seems like a nice thing to run toward. My coach will be running, and since he’ll probably finish in about half the time it’ll take me (seriously, I’m probably only exaggerating the tiniest amount) as well as another pal who runs at a good clip (hi, Kevin), I’ll have at least a couple of people cheering for me at the finish line, hopefully with a nice Belgian wheat beer ready for me.

So, the goal — I feel very … naked putting this out in public, but I think I need the accountability — the first goal is to keep a 9:30 pace, which would bring me in at 38 minutes. The shoot-for-the-stars goal is to keep it at 9 minutes, meaning a finish at 36 minutes. It’s absolutely NUTS to me that it’s going to mean pushing myself so much harder just to win those two or four minutes, but those of you who’ve shot for a time in a race will understand. And those of you who haven’t, well, I hope you’ll at least have a beer with me that night, in spirit!

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