Today marks the end of my fourth week of regular working
out. Four weeks does not sound like a lot of working out. In fact, it sounds
like very little working out, which should be followed by a three full years of
working out at least three times a week if I actually want to impress anybody.
And I do. I want everyone to be impressed. I mean, I’m impressed. This is
possibly the longest I’ve ever stuck with an exercise regimen, and that
includes that time in middle school when I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and decided that I must, I
must, I must increase my bust. And believe you me, I was really interested in
increasing my bust. Which I guess worked out okay for me.
Now, I’m doing the Couch to 5K, a program designed, as you may have deduced, to remove your
buttocks from your couch (though I’m sure people on chaises, easy chairs and
hammocks also qualify; check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting)
and put you on the path to Health, Happiness, and Excellent Cardiovascular
Health. I hear runners also have nice asses, but that of course wasn’t ever a
consideration for me except for maybe a little bit.
The nice thing about the Couch to 5K (which I am going to go
ahead and abbreviate as C5K because I am tired of typing out the whole thing)
is that it’s fully customizable, as all the best technology and significant
others are. It is a combination of both
walking (slowly, if necessary) and jogging (even more slowly, if necessary, and
sometimes even backwards), and you advance at your own pace; and if your own pace
is that of a snail, that is okay. And if your own pace means you take a break
after two days of week one and have a nap and a ham and maybe forget your shoes
at home the day you decide to get back into it or catch a cold or you’re too
busy at work or you’re tired or your toenail hurts, that’s okay, too! Because
C5K loves you, and C5K will wait for you, like Ahab’s wife waited for Ahab,
right up until she heard about that whole freaky whale thing.
So what I’m trying to say is that I’ve attempted to do this
jogging thing for awhile now. I started trying back in February, when I
started to feel a little bit more alive and like a human being, and that did
not so much work out as kill me dead. I thought okay, maybe I shall wait until
I am not on the brink of expiration. I can wait. I did not so much mind
waiting, because exercise is no fun at all, no matter what the President and his stupid Fitness Challenge say.
I tried again in March, and that ended similarly, though I
have to admit it was more laziness than deathiness that sent me over the edge.
I wasn’t committed. You have to be committed. You have to make it a priority.
You have to be like: Okay world, this is what I want, and I am going to take
it, and I am going to keep it, and you can’t have it back, world, no matter
what you say. And then, you laugh in the face of the world and you go run like you are being chased by a bear.
That didn’t so much happen. Mostly, I brought my workout
clothes to work (which, luckily for me, is where my gym is) and they stayed
there under the desk, and I put it off and off and off and off and finally I
gave in and said you’re right, workout clothes who have been staring at me
balefully, accusingly, rudely. I’m
not going to work out, I admit it. I might as well bring you home.
A friend suggested that maybe running wasn’t the workout for
me. Maybe my reluctance to go sweat on the treadmill had less to do with the
sweat, and more to do with the treadmill. But I was convinced that this wasn’t
the case at all. I’m still not sure why I kept at it, up to the point where
I’ve actually kept at it. Why did I determine that the only thing in the world
for me to do is make my body learn how to run, and why do I think that it is a
reasonable thing that one of my major, long-term goals is to run a goddamn marathon?
Maybe I’ll start with Bay to Breakers. You can run that one naked! And that is all bonus, as far as
I can tell. Less chafing.
I don’t know why I want to run; I think it’s because I’ve
spent so long not being able to run at all and then that brief, frightening
period where I wasn’t even able to walk very far. It is the only exercise at
the gym that seems practical, to me. Are you going to elliptical train away
from a mugger? Are you going to row really fast to catch a bus? Possibly in Venice,
but I think most of us are not living in canal cities. If you are, though,
please invite me to your house.
Running seems free and beautiful and powerful, somehow, even though I feel a little bit dorky saying that. It doesn’t
need special equipment except for a pair of good sneakers. And it just seems
right. It does not seem easy, right now. Mostly, I want to die when I’m
finished with my 25 minutes. I’m also embarrassed to say that I’m in my
third week of the week two workout, repeating and repeating instead of moving on
to that part where you’re supposed to jog, like, 14 years without
stopping for a walk break. I feel like I’m not ready. I know when I say that, I
mean not ready for it to hurt more, not ready to push myself, not ready to do
anything outside my comfort zone. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable, jogging for
90 seconds every couple of minutes.
But I’ve been going to the gym three times a week for four
weeks now, like clockwork, like steady, like someone who is actually
interested in being healthy, taking care of herself, someone who is kicking ass
and taking names and then setting those names on fire and putting them out with
an axe because that’s how goddamn tough she is. It feels good. I’m going to chase that feeling. For 90 seconds.