I went running yesterday.
No, not from the cops and not on a dare.
I did it voluntarily. For real.
Why is this? Well, a few days ago I was on Facebook (fantastic invention, that—allows you to easily keep track of just how far behind your peers you really are), and I began chatting with an old friend of mine from high school.
Me: So what’s going on in your life?
OFOMFHS: Oh, not too much… just working and training for my marathon!
OFOMFHS: Yeah, it’s in a couple months! I am having a lot of fun. I ran 19 miles this morning.
OFOMFHS: You still there?
Me: Just dying a little bit inside, OFOMFHS.
OFOMFHS: Haha, why?
Me: Well, the last time I ran was a few weeks ago when I was drunk and thought I was being chased. You are much cooler than me. I am very impressed.
OFOMFHS: Aw, thanks. Well, I’m very impressed at your [RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT OF WHICH I AM ACTUALLY PROUD AND WHICH I WILL WRITE ABOUT TOMORROW ASSUMING ALL GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN].
Me: I guess that is okay. If we’re both impressed with each other, the Circle of Life is complete.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking as you read this little exchange. “Wow, Lady Snark is so insecure that she needs to compare herself to her OFsFHS?”
The answer is, yes. Also jealous. Don’t forget jealous.
This is the ugly side of only-child syndrome (I say that like there’s an attractive side). I like to be number one, the star, the center of attention, the winner. If someone beats me at something, I feel small inside.
And my friend being capable of running twenty six miles in a span of time shorter than, oh, fifteen years—while I am an unequivocal couch potato who used to be semi-active in various sports and now consider intense physical activity to be taking the stairs instead of the elevator to my fifth-floor apartment—definitely qualifies as beating me. Like a cheap piñata.
Don’t get me wrong: I am happy for my friend, as well as deeply impressed. I could not run that far on a death march. It’s very cool that she can run a marathon.
But the very natural, predictable result of this discovery was as follows: Hey, I want to run a marathon!
I crack myself up. Literally. By the time I was done laughing at that one, I’d broken a rib. Me running a marathon? Maybe if they don’t consider driving to be cheating.
However, the basic idea of running for fun wasn’t so crazy. The more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a capital idea. This shows how delusional I can be in the throes of jealousy.
But nonetheless, I decided to give it a shot.
So when I got home from work yesterday, I got right down to business. I knew that if I sat down at my computer or started fixing a snack, it would be all over. The Lazy would set in again, laughing with childlike glee, and by tomorrow I’d have given up on the whole idea.
The timeline of the next half hour was as follows:
6:10 pm: Change out of suit and pull back hair. Gel causes hair to stick straight up behind headband. Looks stupid. Pause long enough to lay out work clothes neatly on couch. Don iPod, the running-girl’s best friend.
6:13 pm: Leave apartment. Wait for elevator.
6:13 pm: Elevator is taking too long. Grow impatient. Remember that I am supposed to be working out. Take stairs.
6:14 pm: Arrive in front of apartment. Contemplate how to run in an unfamiliar neighborhood (yes, I’ve lived here for two years and yes, it’s an unfamiliar neighborhood) without getting hopelessly lost. Decide to run around the block until I get tired.
6:15 pm: Begin run. Yay! This is fun! I like this downward-sloping part!
6:14 pm: Turn corner. Road begins slanting uphill. Oh.
6:18 pm: Still going strong. If by “strong” I mean “I am such a wuss, but it’s been three minutes and I have not yet given up, damn it.”
6:20 pm: Merciful heaven. The road is slanting downhill again. My, this is a big block. I wonder how far it is. Am I going to get lost?
6:21 pm: There’s my apartment! I am not lost! I decide to go around a second time.
6:21 pm: Oh dear, is that a cramp? I continue. No pain, no gain.
6:23 pm: I reach the end of the block. I am in agony. Cramp. Crampcrampcrampcramp. I contemplate walking, then tell myself I am here to RUN and to stop being such a wuss.
6:23 pm: Still running. Upward. Cramp is getting worse. Begin to ponder idea of self-flagellation.
6:23 pm: I begin walking.
6:25 pm: I have reached the corner where the downhill slope starts again. Yippee. I begin running again. My good friend Crampy is still along for the ride, but I have already decided that twice around this long, long block is more than enough for my first day out.
6:27 pm: I turn the last corner… home stretch… I am a MARATHON RUNNER… except not.
6:28 pm: Reach apartment. Hey, that was fun! Check stopwatch (another handy iPod feature). I was running for… wow… okay… a whole 12 minutes! Go me!
6:28 pm: Get in elevator. Sweat bullets. Discover that I do not enjoy sweating.
6:30 pm: Shower time!
So the whole procedure took less than twenty minutes. That was pretty painless. Except for the agonizing cramp. Those will go away once I start doing this more regularly, right?
Oh yes, my friends, I am going again tonight. And the next night. And the night after that. Why? Because, to quote someone who once sang this, it hurt so good! I felt fantastic afterward! My legs hurt and everything! My breathing took an hour to return to normal! Like I had really accomplished something! And darn it, if I only have to work out for twelve minutes a day to get that feeling, then I will part with twelve minutes a day. Imagine how I’d feel after twenty minutes.
I refuse to speculate past that point because I think thirty would more than likely kill me.