Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Run, Forrest, Run!

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!

Me: …

OFOMFHS: Yeah, it’s in a couple months! I am having a lot of fun. I ran 19 miles this morning.

Me: …

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.


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 piƱata.

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.


Mommy bird said...

Quit whining about being an only child. It means I have endless amounts of time to spend only on you. If you were one of 8, I wouldn't even be able to remember your name.:) I love that you are exercising. I am trying to be an exercising fool. I have walked 3-5 miles per day about 4-5 days per week for a few weeks now. Today I was walking up a killer hill near the house and when I got onto the back trail I saw: a baby deer leg. That's it, just the leg. Did I run screaming, No. I did look into the trees to make sure there was no mountain lions waiting to pounce. After my initial :(, I continued on my walk, cause when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Now you probably won't be finding random deer parts where you live, but possibly other body parts. Be strong. Call the police and continue your jog(perhaps a bit faster in case murderer still in area). PS You also have NO excuse for not knowing that neighborhood. I took you for a walk around your place specifically so you would know what city you were in. love mommy bird

No-omi said...

It must be a youngest child thing, too. Nothing gets me going like knowing a peer is doing something More Important or Cooler than what I am doing.

Do be careful running. I hate giving and receiving unsolicited advice, but I'm making an exception this time. Honestly, the best way to start is to do a full 30 minutes, but to alternate between running and walking for a few minutes at a time. You feel like an idiot at first because people can see that you're taking like three strides and then stopping to walk, but it's worth not injuring yourself.

Lady Snark said...

Mom... That is one terrific story. Maybe tomorrow I'll find a dead baby in the trash bags they dump on the street like party favors. And of course I know the neighborhood... when you're around to navigate for me :-)

no-omi... I definitely want to work my way up to 30 minutes. I just can't handle the start-and-stop thing. It's really tough to get my momentum back, plus I feel like merely walking is wasting my time. But I will give the 30-minute thing a try this weekend and see how it goes. I also need to buy a pedometer so I can see how far I'm actually going.

Kittycow said...

I'd second the 30 minute walk/run thing. I did exercise (last summer, who's counting?) and that approach got me far better results than my old one of "10 minute run followed by a week of shin splints".

Failing that, walk briskly up and down the stairs to your apartment for 30 minutes. Then try to walk the next day. I dare you. :)

tamie said...

kiddo, you are hilarious. somehow i had your old blog address for forever, and now that i have the new one, i'm definitely going to be checking in on a daily basis!!

Lady Snark said...

kittycow... I've been running for almost two weeks now and... drumroll please... I'm almost up to a half hour. In the sense that I am now running for 20 minutes instead of 12. Well, 18 actually. I'm rounding a little.

I'll get there!

tamie... thanks! I was hoping you'd stop by eventually, but I guess it's my own fault for not telling you the dang address. By the way, I can't access your blog anymore :-( Can you put me on the list so I can catch up on your life?

tamie said...

hey babe. try accessing my blog now and see if you can. if not let me know. i think i took off all need for password....see if it works.