Earth Day 5k: Fake it Until You Make it

The Fleet T-Shirt from REI. Perfect for long runs on the beach. Or anywhere, really.

While it’s been my motto for many things throughout my life, it never occurred to me to fake it until I made it with exercise. Aside from going through a phase of wearing ballet clothing in the ‘80s—leg warmers, wrap sweaters and leotards—when I was really into Fame, the original, it never occurred to me that dressing the part could help in acting the part as an actual athletic person.

This week was shaping up to be somewhat of a maddening dud on the training front because I left my shoes in Portland over the weekend and was wallowing a bit in self-doubt. My sweet coworkers commiserated with me, assuring me that I don’t have to actually run the whole thing, I could walk some of it (screw that) and talking about the third leg, which is always the hardest apparently.

After a brief fight with myself this morning over whether to get up out of bed and run or just forget the whole freaking deal, I got dressed and went for it (thank goodness for small victories). After returning a friendly wave from a woman passing me on the path who looked like she’d been running for years, I realized that we were wearing almost exactly the same outfit and that to her, I probably looked like I’d been running for year too. Admittedly, my plump physique might have given me away as a newbie, but the point is I felt like I was part of the club, and that felt amazing.

My outfit consisted of: my trusty Brooks shoes, overnighted by my brother from Portland; my black Fleet capri pants and Fleet T-Shirt in coral, both from REI; my grey Icebreaker hoodie made with the miracle material, Merino wool; my ace in the hole, fluorescent yellow knee-high compression socks, also from Brooks; and a La Veste from local designer Elizabeth Roberts, which is waterproof, wind repellant and has convenient pockets for necessities, one with a Smartshield lining to protect the wearer against the electromagnetic frequencies and microwaves emitted by cellphones. Which is a good thing, since I don’t know how I could manage this whole deal if I didn’t have my This American Life app to listen to.

Bouyant, I ran on and as if by magic, I completed my whole route, pushing myself farther than I ever have before. At one point, after laughing out loud like a crazy person at something Starlee Kine said on This American Life, I had to laugh again, filled with the joyous realization that I’m actually going to be able to run this mother.