i thought i was going to die.

I spent all day Saturday preparing for the 5k. I woke up and ran two miles on the treadmill in my apartment’s fitness center then collapsed on my bed and napped for three hours. When I woke up, I decided to take a jog along the lake like I had seen so many people do. Then I got distracted and started taking pictures for Instagram instead. I needed all of my followers to know that I was running at the lake after all. I went home and stretched/watched tv until Preston came over with a pizza and a bottle of wine.

I woke up on Sunday morning at 8:00 with a text from Brady saying that he would see me at 9:00 at the park for the race. 

I replied, “Can’t wait! :-)”

Then I climbed out of bed and discovered that my entire body was sore – especially my legs. I couldn’t figure out why I would possibly be sore until I realized that I had run the day before. How was I supposed to run an entire 5k when my body was aching from the little bit of running I did do? I got up and popped four ibuprofen, washed them down with Red Bull then got ready.

I decided on a pair of black yoga shorts, a gray half-zip, and the pair of Nike Frees I got last year when I went through my weeklong (day and a half) workout phase. Kendra and John dropped me off at the park on their way to church and there were hundreds of people waiting to run. For a moment I panicked, not knowing how Brady and I were going to find each other but after a short walk around the crowd, he appeared.

“Hey,” he said, looking me up and down. “You look cute.”

I beamed. “Thanks. So do you.”

Brady somehow made his shorts and t-shirt look totally sexy. He had sunglasses on and two days of beard growth. I wanted to skip the race and just go back to his immaculate bedroom.

“Have you warmed up or stretched?” he asked.

“Um, no. I just got here,” I answered.

“You might want to. Just for joint and muscle mobility. But if you don’t normally warmup before running then don’t worry about it,” he explained.

I wanted to tell him that I don’t normally run but instead bent over at the waist to stretch. I did what stretches I could remember from high school for about two minutes then told Brady I was finished. We had to go get our numbered race bibs then decide if we wanted to go with the first, second or third heat.

“I usually go with the fastest group but we can with a slower one if you want,” he said. 

I gave him a playful punch in the bicep. “Hey! Who says I’m slow?” 

Brady smiled. “Not saying you’re slow, but I figure it might be nice to take it easy today.”

We agreed to go with the middle group and waited at the start line with the other runners. That’s when I started to get nervous. I told myself if I could run two miles on the treadmill, I could do it again plus one more mile. 

I started off fine. We were at a good pace and even talking and laughing a little bit. Then once we got to the mile and half mark, my side began cramping up. It was so much different than running on a treadmill. There were rocks and potholes to avoid and hills. Once we got to the two mile mark I thought I was going to die. Brady kept talking and all I could do was grunt back because I was so out of breath. I could feel sweat accumulating on my forehead and dripping down my temples. Because I knew I might sweat a little bit, I only wore Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, concealer and mascara but I knew all of that was long gone.

Finally after twenty five minutes of pure hell, the finish line came into view. I was so fucking happy. We crossed the finish line and even though I wanted to collapse to the ground, I didn’t because Brady didn’t.

“Great job, Reese. I’m surprised you kept up,” he said. 

“What’s…that…supposed…to mean?” I gasped. I put my hands on my hips and tried to catch my breath. 

“Carly was over last night and told me you’re not very athletic,” he explained. 

Bitch.

“She has no idea what she’s talking about.”

We went and grabbed complimentary bottles of water then Brady asked where I parked. I told him that I actually don’t have a car and he asked if I wanted a ride home. I obviously said yes. 

He let us into his car and he asked for my address to put into his GPS. 

“You know, I worked up quite an appetite during that run,” Brady said. 

I didn’t realize it, but I did too. I hadn’t eaten beforehand and I really wanted a bacon cheeseburger with chili cheese fries. And a shot of tequila.

“Me too,” I agreed.

“There’s a really good breakfast spot by my place. Do you want to go?” 

“Looking like this? I look disgusting,” I said. 

Brady smiled at me. “You look good.”

I knew that this was a lie and I looked like a melted Barbie but I appreciated his effort so I told him fine. 

The place was on a relatively busy corner, but surprisingly not busy for a Sunday morning. We secured a table on the outdoor patio and opened the menus. I really wanted to order two short stacks of pancakes and sixteen slices of bacon, but ordered an egg white omelette and a Bloody Mary instead.

“You don’t mess around, do you?” Brady asked after I placed my order. 

“I deserve this,” I told him. 

I excused myself to go to the bathroom so I could try to fix the disaster that I knew my face was. But surprisingly, I didn’t look bad. My cheeks were ruddy, but not in a bad way. It looked like I was glowing. I blotted my face with a paper towel, retwisted my topknot and met Brady back at our table. 

I was happy to see that my Bloody Mary had arrived. I took a long gulp. Between this and the fact that I didn’t look like a carcas, I felt good. 

“So what did you, Carly and Chris do last night?” I asked.

“The two of them ordered a pizza and I hung around like a scrounger until they offered me a slice,” he said. 

I giggled (me, giggling? Who had I become?).

“They went into Chris’s room after that and I thought it might be a bit intrusive if I joined them in there,” he went on.

Ew. Why would he want to go into Chris’s bedroom with them? They were obviously hooking up. I sat there judging him for a moment until he peeked up from his glass of water and half-smiled at me. Oh! So he was kidding. He did it with such a straight face and even voice that I couldn’t even tell. He did have a sense of humor after all.

We continued talking while we ate and then for a while after. He told me about how he had gone on a medical mission trip to Guatemala which made me feel super uncultured because the only time I travel abroad is to party.

Brady insisted on treating me to breakfast since I had done so well (which turned out to be good because I left my wallet at home) then drove me to my apartment. He promised to let me know when the next race is. 

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8 thoughts on “i thought i was going to die.

  1. megg says:

    Love this writing. By far a favorite among my weekly reads. The raw unapologetic nature of it has me completely enamored. Well done.

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