Running is Ugly

Hi, this is a short story I came up with awhile ago but only just jotted down. Thanks for reading.

There’s nothing good about running. Oh sure, doctors say that it’s good cardio. So is hiking or biking or just about any sport that really gets you moving. But running is ugly. You dress in ugly outfits, sweat profusely, and pant like a dog. In my opinion, no one looks good running. That includes scantily clad women in yoga pants and especially topless men in short shorts.

However, my job requires me to run. Sometimes. But when it does, I have to be ready. After all, I can’t let a murderer or thief get away just because I hate running. And I can’t necessarily leave all the running up to my partner. It used to be that my partner and I would train together. We’d run the trails and parks around the city to keep us in shape. We’d meet up before work or after a paperwork laden shift, run a few miles, and eventually huff and puff our way home. Being the gentleman that I am, I always ran her home, even on mornings when we went before work. You can never be too careful. And in our line of work, you lose a lot of trust in humanity.

One of those days where I struggled with my view of humanity, happened last summer. We were working a bank robbery, where a\the thief killed the teller simply because she wasn’t fast enough under the pressure of a large rifle pointed at her face. During the gunfight between police and criminals, my partner jumped in front of a bullet meant for me. And I am exceedingly grateful. The bullet that landed in her hip, was aimed at my head. Now, we barely run together anymore. That’s more my fault than hers. You see, my partner now runs with a hitch. She has a specific lilt in her step that slows her down. Some people call it a limp. Others call it a disability; she laughs at those people. Regardless of what you call it, I use the reduction in her pace as an excuse to run by myself more often than not. But it’s really just that, an excuse. And that aggravates me. I know I should be able to run at her slowed pace in penance for her saving my rear end, I still can’t do it. I fight with myself day after day over this seeming disloyalty and ungratefulness. I want to be a better man than that.

But, what it really comes down to, is what I don’t tell her. I hide behind an arrogant mask of speed records and lap times to keep her from knowing that she’s changed me. The real reason I can’t run with my partner anymore is literally because of that limp in her step. When she walks, you barely notice it. But running makes it much more apparent. And despite the fact that running is ugly, when my partner runs, it’s beautiful.


Author: breakthisleap (Jamie Elias)

I am a physics graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. I am married to an army vet computer scientist and have four kitty cat dependents. I hold on to a mixed bag of interests ranging from reading and writing fiction to action sports and sports cars. And, of course, everything in between.

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