A Run

My legs are really short.

I am an endless font of reasons why I am not athletic, and above was my January 2021 entry. My legs are super short. I’m about five-six, and my torso must be the five because none of my height appears to be below my waist.

I don’t run because it takes too long for my little legs to cover all that distance. Yeah, that sounds good, right? Except I’m pretty sure some Olympic runners are short and have short legs—no need to look that up.

If it’s not my tiny legs, then why do I always categorize myself as a non-runner? I believe the answer lies in that institution of valued self-worth and loving acceptance— high school. Specifically, high school P.E.

High school offers different levels in all subjects, from English to Math, based on skill, but we are all thrown into P.E. at the same level. It’s as if we all come from the same athletic background. Children of marathon runners and librarians line up on the chalk and run the mile.

There’s no introduction to P.E. or Basic Stretching. There isn’t even a fun Learn to Run a 5K option to satisfy that P.E. requirement. P.E. and the mile, which quickly sorts us into those who can do it and those who can not.

Shockingly, cute little frizzy-haired Tracy Wildberger walked nearly half of her mile every week. She gave it her best shot, but she’d never learned to run. I mean, she ran as a little person, but no one was timing her then, and before she could decide if she was a runner or not, she was put into the box of “end of the pack.”

Like so many other things in the hell that is high school, there were only yes or no options: those who could run and the rest of us. If you don’t squash that crap as you get older, you stay in the box.

Now might be the time to play the inspirational music, so I can declare that I left all of that behind and became a badass in spandex, but hit pause on that boom box because I didn’t. I stayed in the non-runner box.

Occasionally, I’ll peek out and wonder, but not enough to do more than a brisk trot on the treadmill.

I grew up a sticker trader, and now I get my exercise elsewhere. I wonder if there were students with a five-minute mile who wanted to read a book or play DnD but were forever being asked to sweat.

Damn boxes. All small children play and laugh, use their imagination, draw and run to varying degrees based on their home environment. We are limitless in our tutus and tennies until high school comes along with a clipboard.

But, seriously it’s probably just my short legs.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Quick Nap.

adulthood crazy life exercise judging kids life thoughts

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi Tracy – I was just thinking about this kind of thing because in the last few years, I’ve shrunk a couple inches. I don’t run anymore, but I walk. Still, I can’t walk at nearly the pace my kids walk because their legs are simply a lot longer than mine. Ah well.

  2. I’m the same height and I have the reverse problem. Apparently I’m all legs, the reason why I’ve been the laughing stock when we had to tuck in our uniforms into our pants in secondary school. Totally get you, but in an inverse way, lol. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m sure I must have done some of that in my (very early) childhood – certainly didn’t do ANY in High School – and nowadays I can’t even spell run. My legs aren’t particularly short, but I’m not gonna wear them down trying to move faster than my natural snail’s pace. No.
    But thanks for sharing your history, and for talking about your legs, and for the mention of (ooo-la-la) Spandex.

  4. I joked that even when I could teach a two hour aerobics class without getting restless, old man and dogs would pass me on the running path. I’m OK at a fast sprint. But don’t ask me to do distance. I’ll meet you in the park for some sticker trading, though :-).

  5. We called ourselves the Weaklings, flashing a W with our fingers. It was especially noticeable when we played volleyball. I once hit the volleyball over the net, and I got kicked out of the Weaklings. Alas… nan

  6. I’m with you–maybe we can team up and form some sort of international club for us “non-runners?” PE was definitely my night-mare in both junior and senior high. It didn’t help to have a short-legged, rounded drill-sergeant as the gym teacher so I couldn’t use the “short-legs” as my excuse–at that time, I never thought of it. . . . .

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