Friday, October 30, 2009

Running as a Metaphor

It finally happened. I had that day. The day all twenty somethings (and I guess maybe a few thirty somethings) have where they realize their bodies are not what they used to be. You find yourself thinking things like, "Remember that one time in Germany when Ashley and I totally took out that whole bottle of Jager in one night and it may as well have been water?" or "Gee, there was that one time in college I finished a whole pint of Oreo fluff in like 2 minutes, after lunch, and I was still hungry." But now you find yourself looking at a single shot of Jager and thinking, "man, I will probably regret this in the morning" or you finish off that Oreo fluff and not only are you stuffed but you also know the Oreo fluff will add to that mysterious fluff that has been sneaking over the waistline of the designer jeans you bought about a year ago. This is all clearly hypothetical of course. Yes my friends, those days are gone. Those beautiful days when all your calories were eaten away by the mere fact that you were young, busy, and going off an average of 5 hours of sleep a night, maybe. Which brings me to the heart of this post.

As a person that has always believed in prevention and nipping things in the bud I thought, well, I have two options. I could start dieting and counting things like carbs or calories or fat grams or whatever but my sincere love of food and my lack of basic math skills ruled that out immediately. That left option two. I need to become one of those people that work out and like,
really work out. As in not the way I have been working out for the past, oh, ever. Traditionally, I have been about as good at working out as a cat is at opening a screw top jar. I'll bat it around with my paw and knock it over. I may even bite the jar a few times, but the end result is always the same. I get bored, find a blanket, and take the world's most awesome nap.

So Nick and I have started running. Why running? I really don't know if I can answer that. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that it is free, or because it is solitary activity that prevents me from having to elliptical race the guy next to me in the gym, or because its the cool thing to do (all the celebs are running marathons now), or maybe it is because I have this uncanny knack to choose the hardest possible option and then beat myself up when I don't kick ass the first day as I have always hated running (the term every fiber of my being comes to mind) and I have always sucked at it.

(Ok this is a total non sequitur but it needs to be mentioned immediately. For the past two weeks my darling husband has been playing some really awful "Star Wars" game for PS3 obsessively. Just now he hit pause, sighs deeply and throws his head in his hands. I asked him what was wrong. He throws his fist down on the coffee table and says, "There is no way they could have that many storm troopers in reserve. It's just not realistic." There. It needed to be shared with the internet.)

So, running. In true Type A form the first thing I do is go online and find running nutrition information and a whole program for beginners to build a running base. "It's great to learn, cause knowledge is power!" So we started on week 3 of the program, which puts me at about the same skill level that I was when I was in 5th grade. And it should be noted that I was a really slow 5th grader. (I was the kid that stomped everyone in the flexibility portion of the presidential fitness test but virtually failed at everything else.) Thus far we have completed two runs successfully. I say successfully because with the first run we tried to start on week 4 of the program which was, evidently, more than I could handle. It was bad. There were tears. It was one of those really great moments where the running simply becomes symbolic for everything that could be wrong in your life at that very moment. It quickly spiraled from "I can't even run a full mile" to "I don't have a job" to "I have no direction" to "We are back in Charleston and not Italy or Japan or Hawaii" and I can't be sure but I think "I never got a pony for Christmas" probably ended up in there too. Nick, in his totally unconscious quest for sainthood, talked me back from the metaphorical edge and reminded me that all the embarrassment and the feeling of failure just comes with the territory of doing something new. Then he made me dinner.

So what have we learned? This move still blows and I am still dealing with that in my own repressed sort of way. And being all motivated about the move was great when I wasn't in the trenches. But all that motivation is pretty hard to find when you are "in the shit" so to speak. But like running, I think the key is getting over that first hump where you are convinced all the neighbors coming home from work are watching you run and thinking about how pathetic you look. After that, it is all downhill and I may not get my college metabolism back but I'll probably end up a better person for it.

1 comment:

  1. Running makes me cry, too. When I'm driving and see a runner I'm usually cheering for them. (Because I've been there, and because they're doing something awesome for themselves). So next run, imagine every person in every car you meet is chanting "Erika! Erika!"