I’m training for the half-marathon. I say “the” half-marathon as though it’s capitalized, like it’s the one that everyone knows about, the one you can’t wait for every year; it’s right up there with getting a random three-day weekend and the birth of Jesus Christ. I’m training through a program called Eat This Whole Bag of Pretzels, Then Go Train For The Half-Marathon.
By eating the whole bag of pretzels, which are basically wheat stalks misted with sea water, I’ll hopefully have time to eat this bag of potato chips, too, which are made out of a vegetable that’s often dusted with finely-ground cheese. Then, and only then, will I dust off my boat-sized running shoes and schlep down the street, plagued by constant, internal whining. I will make it to the end of the block and check in with myself mentally: Can I do this right now, or do I need pizza for motivation? I’ll see Husky Deli on my left and wonder if the ice cream line is too long — ice cream is really just milk with a little added sugar — or if I can do that ‘running in place’ thing that real joggers do. I also wonder how many joggers run in place and wait for ice cream while training for a half-marathon — sorry, the half-marathon — and how many people are motivated to exercise by pizza the size of their torsos.
I am greater than my reasons and excuses — obviously, as they’re weightless, and I’m like the brown Titanic in almost any body of water — but my motivation is more like a developmentally-disabled wish. Exercise is healthful and awesome and rewarding to people who’ve been doing it a while, but for those of us starting over for the 80th time (my hand is raised but I’m holding a jar of pickles, and by that I mean breakfast), it’s uncomfortable and horrifying in numerous ways. Here’s what I’d rather be doing:
1. Running for President. Of anything, really. North Korea, Dollywood, PETA, whatever.
2. A Girl Scout cookie-and-crack binge. The tastiest cookies, the finest crack.
3. Committing fraud, the white-collar kind. Think “Madoff” or “O.J. Simpson”.
4. Training a wild boar the choreography from Lady Gaga’s video, ‘Judas’.
5. Building a Large Hadron Collider. (Instructions by IKEA.)
We signed up for what is now known as The Y. If you’re over 25 years old, you might remember when it was called the YMCA, but I guess they were tired of excluding women and non-Christians from their overall name, so now it’s “The Second-to-Last Letter in the Alphabet”. Having remembered the song, I was pretty disappointed when I went in for the first time. There were zero gay men, no disco balls, nary a cowboy or Indian in sight — and the only police officer I saw was real and trying to Zumba unsuccessfully.
“What the shit is this?” I asked my boyfriend.
“It’s a gym,” he explained patiently, as he’d been doing all day.
“Then why do I have cocaine and glittery platforms in my bag?” I said, raising my voice in the foyer.
“Because you didn’t listen to me when I explained that it’s a gym,” he said, patting me on the head.
When reality hits me, it is swift like justice and gory like a guillotine. CHOP. I want to lose five stone and run a half-marathon. CHOP. I want to feel less like Shrek and more like me. CHOP. I want to buy clothes so amazingly awesome that other women die twice from an all-consuming envy that takes over their brains like Mad Cow disease. CHOP, CHOP, CHOP.
What, you thought I’d say “I can’t wait to embrace my thinner authentic self after this journey of internal awakening”? Fuck that noise. I’m in it for the clothes. Then health, happiness, et cetera, whatever.
So I’m going running on Friday — that’s what this ramble was about. Because I’m training for a half-marathon! The half-marathon.