I ran today. I donned athletic-ish wear, displaced myself to a burnt sienna rubbery circle and I attempted to mobilize myself around it. I was sweating like a heroin junkie and breathing like a woman in labor. Breech. My legs felt like little hands were ripping the muscles in sixteen different directions, and I had cramps that could cripple Russia (yes, the whole country). I ran around the track four times. Though I guess “run” isn’t a subjective verb, so I suppose I performed a jog-gallop-crawl-cry-trotting seizure thing that allowed me to complete four loops around the terrifying trajectory. Then I contemplated suicide.
I assure you that this recent interest in running has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I’m going with the BF to his hometown this weekend. It’s not like 97% of his maternal relatives reside there, and that the town in question is by the sea a.k.a. what better way to meet your boyfriend’s ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY by putting on a bathing suit in a beach town? It’s not like going on vacation with a bunch of city slickers; these are people that expose large quantities of skin on a daily basis, year round.
But it’s his family! You may be thinking. They pose no threat.
Have you people picked up any Latin American literature lately?? La Tumba, Jose Agustin: Young boy fucks his aunt. Batallas en el desierto, Jose Emilio Pacheco: Young boy fucks his best friend’s mom. Tajimara, Juan Garcia Ponce: Siblings in love. Pedro Paramo, Juan Rulfo: Siblings married. 100 anos de soledad, Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Almost every single character commits incest. Art imitates life! There are no rules down here, people! Just like traffic lights and laws in general, family ties are suggestions! I am terrified!
So what’s a girl to do? Spend the rest of the week eating bonbons and being lethargic until Saturday, at which point a few beers and a glimspe of my potbelly will lead the love of my life into the bedroom of his cousin? I think not. Action, it would seem, is neccessary.
I have gained, since September, 1.2 pounds; in other words, I am the same as when I left New York. Exercise is key. Since I’m running on empty, fiscally speaking, gyms and classes were not an option. I could use the gym at school, but I’d probably end up hurting myself worse than I did in the car accident. There remained one free, easy option: Run for my (love) life.
I’m not anti-exercise. I love yoga. I get a natural high riding my bike in Manhattan, cutting through traffic and whipping through lights. I enjoyed softball back in high school and was a decent pitcher for a couple of years. I scored HHS’ first field hockey goal in 20 something years. I’m no Marion Jones, but I’m decent at sports.
Additionally, I’m a proponent of mind over matter. I set ludicrous writing goals for myself and I achieve them. After 9 years of smoking I quit cold turkey. I came to Mexico with a three month course of Hunter College Continuing Ed as my only formal Spanish instruction and I’m way better than everyone else (don’t bother getting uppity, kids, it’s true and you know it).
I’m all about individuality, lack of groups, and existentialism put into reality. I like sweating, I like being satisfied, I like hobbies, I like adrenaline. Based on logic – not just rational thinking but legit If P Then Q logic – I should run. I should WANT to run. I should LOVE the idea of running. I should yearn rise at the crack of dawn, to tear past early morning taxis with an intense song thumping along with the blood in my body. I should have yellow and blue liquid pouring out of my cells like in those crazy ass Gatorade commercials. I should tighten my laces and breathe in victory in the most epic challenge of all: the challenge against myself. I should wake up in the mornings and say: I. AM. RUNNER.
Should, but just can’t.
As far as I’m concerned, there are certain times in life when running is appropriate:
1) Anything involving your period (stain on pants, imminent tampon fail, etc.)
2) If it’s 6:45 and Happy Hour ends at 7
3) If you’re about to miss your mode of transportation and you have a date. (If you have class, slow down. Arrive late, say you missed the bus/train/chauffer called out/whatever)
4) Sample sales
5) Anything involving extreme danger: fires, earthquakes, babies in traffic, etc.
Other than that, I just can’t understand why anyone would choose to do it. If you want to feel zen and balanced, read the Bhagavadghita. If you want to prove your individuality and lack of reliance on teams, book a solo vacation. If you want to exercise on a daily basis, sell your car and have more sex. Go dancing and do yoga. (Grown-ups who play on non-professional sports teams depress the hell out of me; I do not advocate for that.)
It’s just so Waiting for Godot. Where are you going? What’s going to happen when you get there? Nothing. Running on a track is a form of socially acceptable psychosis, as the latter condition indicates someone doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over. (Hey, doesn’t that describe my blog?) You could give your running a purpose, a destination: Run to friend’s house, run to movies. But then you’re sweaty at the event, and wearing an awkward outfit. Plus, isn’t the point that you’re just running for the sake of running? That you don’t need to go somewhere, you are always there? Maybe I want to go somewhere. I’m not secure enough in my unadulterated existence to just be.
Additionally, I feel like a lot of runners refuse to admit they don’t want to be fat. They’re running because they can’t not run. Because they need to run. The fact that it’s April and summer is approaching is clearly not a factor in the 7 miles before breakfast. There’s this bizarre purist superiority complex adopted by those who run that doesn’t jive with the alleged devil-may-care spirit of the sport. Which brings me to my next point: The Gear.
People start running because it’s cheap, practical, and universal. However, once they do more than two miles on any given day, they start to go for the gear. It starts out simple with better sneakers, a more supportive sports bra, or a sweatband. It escalates with micropyrotechnic fibers that prevent you from bursting into flames if you get too hot. You can tell the running has become out of control when you see a person wearing gloves on her feet or alimenting himself with nothing but gels. In no state of human existence should shoes even hint to the public that toes exist within, nor should gel be used for anything but hairstyles or genital lubrication. In spending the cost of a Upper West Side security deposit on a pedometer/GPS that will allow people to know where you are when you ‘re struck by anaphalactic shock from exercise anorexia, you are negating all the transcendent powers of THE RUN.
I suppose I could give it another chance. According to weather.com, the mercury hit 83ºF with blazing sun when I was puffing around the track. Maybe the first go should be done earlier or later, when the golden bastard is at a less aggressive angle. Also, my headphones are broken, so I was only getting the treble notes out of the left earpiece, which is only 25% of a given song and thus kind of distracting. Conditions could be improved; I could like it a little more.
I just don’t see it happening, though. I’ll go every day this week because I promised myself I would, maybe do pilates moves on my floor and eat my goddamn veggies. I’m secure enough in my relationship that I don’t think a few extra pounds will send a horny homeboy to the bedroom of his great aunt. Really, I want to do it for Me. But I think Me can wait until I get back to New York, where I can rip my bike through Central Park, go to Yoga to the People for a dollar a day, and use Groupon discounts for Zumba classes in all five boroughs.