dreams are a wish your heart makes

That Couch to 5K plan, they
are not kidding around with their whole "5K" thing. Fuckers want you
up, off your ass, and sprinting across the goddamn finish line, or you’ll know
from trouble, is what. They are trying to kill me.

I didn’t decide to do it because I thought it would be easy, that is
true, but maybe that’s a little bit why I decided to do it. It looked kind of
easy! You walk a little, you jog a little, walk walk walk, jog jog jog, 15
minutes and you’re done and all virtuous and worked-out-imified,
cardiovascularly fit, weight-burningly awesome. And then you can go eat a stick
of butter
wrapped in bacon with virtually no guilt!

Well, of course you can’t.  Because there are children starving in
Africa who don’t have bacon or butter, and you are a
terrible person for eating both so blithely and uncaringly. But also,
if you
have walk, walk, walked and jog, jog, jogged for 20 minutes, you want
those 20 minutes of your life to count. Otherwise, what is the point?
Even though
it was so easy it practically wasn’t even exercise, and you could
totally do
this with both feet tied behind your head while dunked in a tank of
Kool-Aid and
enjoying a pap smear.

The point that the Couch to 5K people would like to make is that you think
it is easy now, but they are going to grind you down into a paste, and you are
going to suffer, and they will laugh in your face while it happens. They ground
me into a paste, today, and I am only on week four. This is the week where you
are doing less walk, run, walk, run and more run, run, run, run, run, run, run, die. I didn’t die, however! I am still here, and
not typing to you from beyond the grave, ooh, I’m a spooky lady. I did it, and
while those last five minutes of jogging nearly killed me, I killed them in
return, and finished triumphantly to the strains of "I’m Bringing Sexy Back." And
I totally was, the way I draped myself over the treadmill’s control panel and wept
quietly into my towel.

This does not bode especially well for me and my future plans for world
domination. Or world-of-exercise domination. I have had these fantasies all my life, at every size and shape and
level of physical fitness–that I would someday be an Athlete with a Capital A,
a superstar of physical prowess, someone who, just walking down the street,
will make heads turn and people murmur, man,
she is the most nimble and fit human being the world has ever seen!
I never
wanted to be a rock star or a movie star or beautiful enough to be a model
(except for when I’m watching  America’s
Next Top Model
and I want to show those clueless little idiots how Tyra’s
game is done); I wanted to be a
gymnast triathlete ballet dancer who kicks
some serious ass in the boxing ring and fences in her spare time.

I was going to say, "I don’t know where my weird fantasies come from," but it
turns out I totally do, if I stop being embarrassed and just go ahead and admit
that I have spent my whole life being Klutzy McKlutzerson with two left feet
and the absolute inability to walk in a straight line. Really. I have been
laughed at. I have been challenged to pick a crack in the sidewalk and follow
it without drifting off to the left or the right and when I concentrate–mostly
I can make it. Usually I end up in Cleveland.

Every year my mother listened to my begging and signed me up for the
after-school recreation programs I wanted. She put me in gymnastics
class and ballet
class and basketball and I fell off the balance beam and fell over in
first position and hit myself in the face with the basketball. And then
she put me in
guitar, and I only ever learned what I recall now as "squishy A," which
be right at all. But I never learned to actually play the chord,
because when
one hand is doing something as complex as a squishy A, there is no way
my other
hand is going to function. So I dropped out of guitar, and she put me
sewing, and I sewed my hand into the hem of a skirt and that was enough
after-school recreation for me.

I was not built for physical activity. I was built for sitting at home on a
velvet cushion, wearing diaphanous dressing gowns and being fed bon bons by
suitors who fan me with peacock feathers and praise my soft, pillow-like
contours. And yet, I kept running, and I
continue my fantasies–not just running, but running a 5K. And after I run a 5K,
I’m going to run a 10K, and a half-marathon, and maybe a marathon. And in the
meantime, I will also be going to yoga. And not just yoga–Bikram Yoga. I will sweat like a motherfucker,
and you will be amazed by my endurance and fortitude and a little bit grossed
out by how damp I am, and the way I smell a little bit like an old towel.

I am not built for any of this, and I still fall over a lot and trip on
things and occasionally when I sit down, I miss my chair and find myself on the
carpet, and that is very professional of me; but the thing that keeps me going
is that this has nothing at all to do with my size. I was a clumsy ham-handed
bobblehead when I weighed 300 lbs., I am a trip-happy, inelegant
clown at 200 lbs., and when I weigh 130 lbs., I
shall continue to be an ungainly, lumbering tumble-monkey, and that is okay.

I would prefer to dandayamana the hell out of the dhanurasana, instead of
extending my leg and then going timber like a tree, but it feels good anyway.
It feels good, great, amazing that I
am finally letting myself try all the things I’ve wanted to try, without
worrying what the hell I look like in the gym, both fat and clumsy, and how
good I am at it–very not good, I am assuming. I bet I run like a head-wounded
rabbit. I will just have to run like a head-wounded rabbit in my first 5K.

7 Replies to “dreams are a wish your heart makes”

  1. I used to be fat. I used to be klutzy and ungraceful and I failed at every single recreational or exercise related activity I tried.

    I am no longer fat. I am still klutzy and ungraceful but the one thing I found I can do is run. I may not run elegantly (“head-wounded rabbit”–that’s hilarious) but I don’t care.

    I run because I can and I may look like an idiot but I feel great. In the beginning, I couldn’t run a mile. I have now completed a marathon. Go me.

    And go you, too :-)

  2. I also used to be fat. I am not anymore. But I’m still really really clumsy. It just hurts less when I fall over!

    If it’s yoga you want, I would recommend Ashtanga Yoga. I did a beginners course, and now practice about 4 times a week – it’s brilliant! The beauty of it is you can’t be naturally good at it, all those yoga gurus, they were once as rubbish as I was when I started! The only way to get better at it is to practice, and practicing shouldn’t hurt at all, you just gradually get better, whilst getting a flatter tummy. In short, it rocks!

    Totally sympathise with the running thing. I am going to start doing that again soon, and I hate it! Although my knees complain a lot less now I’m not lugging the excess lard around!

  3. I have always wanted to be an Athlete, too. Like, I watch movies like Million Dollar Baby and want to start boxing, like, immediately. Working out makes me feel so tough, and it’s one of the only things (aside from wearing exquisitely fitting pants and boots) that does. It’s some awesome to be able to turn to something that ACTUALLY makes you feel better (like running), instead of something you PRETEND will make you feel better (like a burrito).

  4. Running + Hot Yoga = Size 6.
    At least that is what it did for me. You go, girl. I know it’s weird to say you are proud of someone you’ve never met, but I feel proud when I read your entries. Maybe your writing is just reminding me to be proud of myself. Thank you for everything you are brave enough to say.

  5. Ah, the burden of “built for comfort, not for speed”!
    My brother got the athletic genes – and jeans – in the family. He’s the Iron Man champion – invited not once, but twice, to the international championships, whilst I stayed comfortably air-conditioned. I hate sweat. This is why I work out in water – I can’t tell which drips are mine and which are chlorinated. I smell like I invented Clorox or have an unnaturally close, possibly intimate, realtionship with Tilex.

    So I swim and I walk. I’ll probably even bike. Once Fred is gone, I’ll even lift weights. But, by gumbo, I refuse to run unless somebody ugly is chasing me. Twas good enough for granddad, and is a good enough rule for me.

    For non-aerobic exercise, I do daily “boob origami”, which I’m trying to get introduced into some sort of olympics, possibly under the name of “Orioppai” –

  6. hi, i have now read all your archives and such, and WOW, congratulations…

    i did notice that you have made several references to how cool triathletes are (i’m paraphrasing here). have you ever thought about training for a try-a-tri?

    seriously…i’m a runner (i run w/ a track club in ottawa (the capital of canada)), and a lot of my friends are triathletes. and while many of them are hard core athletes, lots more are soft core athletes–training for the fun of it, trying out the races and having fun…

    it would be a great goal for you!

    i remember, at the beginning of your weight loss blog, you jokingly said that maybe you would one day go for a run…well, you’ve accomplished that already…so, to me, it would be very conceivable that you would be able to become a triathlete!

    just my thoughts…wilma

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