Friday, February 27, 2015

The Rocky Story

Ever since Lauren and I decided we would be moving to Philadelphia, people have been telling us all about Rocky and how cool it was going to be, living in Rocky's famous city. Less than a year ago there was a commercial showing scenes from Rocky when he was running through the Italian neighborhoods of Philadelphia; I'm not even sure what the point of the advertisement was. I've never actually watched the Rocky movie, but I've heard quite a bit about him and his Philadelphia excursion.
Back in May when my mom, Leti, and Lauren visited the city to look at housing options, we even took pictures with a Rocky statue in the Independence Hall Visitors' Center. When we moved back East in September, our families even raced up and down the real Rocky steps. In October when I made it a goal to run at least a mile each day, I even ran the Rocky steps for real, like a true runner. Up until this week, I figured those experiences would be the closest I ever came to Rocky.

That all changed on Tuesday though. Monday evening, Lauren was studying for a big epidemiology midterm and she was constantly reminding herself and me that she needed to bring her calculator to class the next day. I've been known to have a pretty good memory, so I didn't think reminding Lauren to pack her calculator would be an issue at all.

Well, Tuesday morning, 14 minutes before her class started, I received a text followed by a call from Lauren, saying that she forgot her calculator. I started panicking for her. I quickly answered the phone call, asked her where the calculator was, and told her I'm on my way. I was still in my pajamas with unbrushed teeth, and without contacts in. Without thinking, I tossed on a pair of jeans, grabbed the calculator, and zipped my heavy jacket on. There was no time to waste; I would have to wear my glasses in public. I quickly contemplated leaving sans glasses and contacts, but thankfully realized how much worse this would make the situation. I wouldn't be able to see the stop lights and would likely get hit by a car. Glasses it was. I picked up my keys and gloves, and scanned the several pairs of shoes I had sitting by the front door. Old running shoes would have to do. I didn't even have time to grab a pair of socks, so sockless it was going to have to be.

As I was walking down the hallway of our apartment building, I was getting myself mentally prepared, "okay, I got this. I can walk super fast". But then it struck me, why not just run?

So I ran. And I ran, sprinting my way down the busy streets of Philadelphia, scattered with students walking to class. I'm certain I looked very silly in jeans, running shoes, glasses, and a heavy jacket as I made my way through traffic. A red traffic light? No problem. One of the best things about big-city living is that no one truly follows the traffic signals. And then my shoes came untied. I knew I should've double-knotted them. If I kept running in untied shoes, eventually my shoes would start falling off, causing me to run much slower. Luckily I was at the largest, busiest intersection of my journey and I approached a red light that I actually had to stop at. Perfect timing, I'd say. I peeled my gloves off and retied my shoes. Right as I finished, the red hand changed to the walking pedestrian symbol and I booked it across the street. Without any other incidents, I made my way to the building where Lauren's class was held. She was waiting outside for me, and in the midst of giving it my all to get that calculator to her, I almost ran right past her. I handed her the calculator and off she went. I looked at my phone, it was exactly 10 o'clock, the the time her class starts.

I walked home very slowly after that. My jaunt back to the apartment got me thinking though. The initial text was sent literally 14 minutes before my arrival. I was able to answer Lauren's phone call, make myself look publicly appropriate-ish, walk from one end of the apartment building to the other, walk down two flights of stairs, and run over 1.1 miles in under 14 minutes, all the while having to stop and retire my shoes. I cursed myself for not wearing my watch to record my run, then reminded myself that I was in a big time crunch. I was pretty impressed with myself to say the least, so much so that I considered skipping that evening's workout, but I quickly tossed that crazy thought aside.

Then I had the biggest realization. While it was all happening I was so concentrated on getting Lauren her calculator that I wasn't thinking about anything else. Now that everything was solved and good again, I began to process what just happened. I was Rocky, the girl version of course though. Even though I never watched the movie, I've seen clips of him (in black and white) running across the city, crossing one street then the next. From what I can gather, he finally made it all the way up the steps where he reached his finally destination, and he was victorious. He felt on top of the world, lifting his arms in the air. Well, that's exactly (sort of) what I just did. I weaved my way in and out of crowds, through the busy streets of Philadelphia. I encountered some issues along the way, but I too eventually reached my destination. I successfully delivered Lauren's calculator, just in the nick of time, and I felt accomplished. I could see myself running with excellent form and perfect stride, with the Rocky theme song playing in the background.

Now that it's all over, Lauren and I freely joke about what happened. We laugh about how funny I must've looked, and at my thought process at the time. But really what we truly both agree on, is the fact that I was Rocky Balboa that morning.