You crazy runners. You’ve done it. You’ve sucked me in to your vortex of insanity.
I have sworn my entire life that running is something I’d never do. No matter how popular it got. No matter how much fun it looks in the pictures of women covered in paint or mud or dressed in matching outfits, smiling from ear to ear. That will never be me, man. Those bitches are crazy. Running sucks and no matter how many people on Facebook pretend to like it, I’ll never be snowed into doing it... I thought.
And then a new breed of pictures cropped up. Pictures of women I knew IN REAL LIFE that were chubby like me, then weren’t any more. What the heck? What happened to solidarity, you traitors? What’s with getting all skinny on me?
Still. Those women must have some attributes that I don’t have because running is suffering. Plain and simple. That ‘high’ everybody talks about must be a lie. Only high I ever felt was that black, starry feeling you get right before you pass out. No. Not doing it.
Then, life kicked me in the stomach.
When I got back up and looked around, I realized my priorities had amplified and come into razor sharp focus. Health and human connection. There they were. My priorities. Big and bold and full of color. Everything else got a little smaller. Some things I thought were so important before, kind of shriveled up and blew away.
Health. Serious problems that I’ve been dismissing for a good year, suddenly developed flashing red lights and a siren. My first instinct was to dive back into the murky waters of weight loss dogma. The relentless swirl of points and writing everything down and weigh-ins and carbs and YOU CAN’T EAT THAT!
I’ve had enough taken away from me for right now. I’m not willing to give up anything else for a while.
But, I am willing to add something. When I looked around for something to add, I saw the smiling faces, the camaraderie, the swag, the fun, the graphs, the maps with routes, the looks of accomplishment. The runners. And I thought, I want that.
Here’s the thing, though. I’m one hell of a starter. I’ve got a good 25 years worth of before pictures to back me up on this one. So, before I stepped foot on the treadmill with an intent to be a runner, I decided I am not letting myself off the hook until I’ve completed at least one 5K. Even if I hate it. Even if it never gets better. Even if my initial thought that you runners are freaks is completely accurate.
That said, I just finished week three of Couch to 5K and I’m still wondering what kind of fairy dust is supposed to waft out of my phone over the next six weeks that is going to make me capable of running 3 miles when running for 3 minutes feels like my lungs are being scraped over a cheese grater. How can you people claim to enjoy this agony?
The week before last, I made the bonehead decision to run in my forest. My forest is on the side of a hill. Hills are evil. Hills are like satan is reaching into your chest and calves and burning them with hell fire. At one point, I passed a couple walking their dog and they looked at me as if they wanted to call an ambulance. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I was, for them, one of those things you wish you could unsee that ruins the rest of your day.
Shortly after I passed them, my phone died. My no good, lying, cheating, worthless phone that said I had 56% battery went dead. Mid run! I wanted to throw it against a tree, fall to my knees, raise my hands to the sky and scream, “NO!” How was I supposed to finish my timed walk/run cycles? How was I supposed to function without music blaring in my ears? It was a freaking tragedy, I tell you.
(I get it. First World Problem. So is obesity. I live in the first world. That’s where all of my problems are.)
Whatever. I totally regrouped. Unwilling to relent and give up the day’s worth of C25K progress, I started counting. One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi… up to 90 Mississippi. Then walked. Then started counting again. One Mississippi, two Mississippi… Three times.
That terrible experience may have been the first inkling that I might have a chance of actually doing this thing. I’m not. *huff huff* Effing. *huff huff* Quitting. *full blown panting*
Of course, that’s why I’m posting my commitment here. I’m counting on you guys to be a source of public shame if I quit. Mind you, I’m not looking for you to throw rotten fruit at me. Your silent knowing is enough. I expect to feel utterly defeated if I quit. Again. In front of everybody. I think that would feel terrible. Like, even more terrible than running feels.
Last week, I didn’t want to run on the treadmill and I didn’t have enough time before sunset to drive to a trail so I just ran on my road (also on a hill). My neighbor drove by slowly, I believe trying to figure out who might be chasing me and whether to call 911 or go home and get his gun.
So, if you see me out in the world, please don’t call an ambulance if I’m still vertical. Also, please don’t try to talk to me because, honestly, I don’t have the spare oxygen for that. And, before you offer, cause I know how you psycho runners operate, no, I’m not ready to run with you. I’d rather suffer alone for now, thanks.
If I do manage to keep going, though, I’m expecting y’all to be lined up next to me one day, with your (possibly fake) *I love to run* smiles and matching outfits, getting a picture for MY Facebook wall.
*I do not represent nor did I receive compensation from C25K or Panera for mentioning their products. I just like them. One more than the other.
I like to throw things.