I went for a run today.
If you can call it that.
I have gained 10 pounds that I cannot seem to shed. I've tried everything: thinking about it really hard, making lists, looking at TMZ, baking pies, reading books. Nothing will do the trick! Weird I know.
This weekend I decided I was going to get serious about working out. So I told Chris that I was taking up running because how hard can it be? I was a gym rat in a former life: I've worked out with a personal trainer, I've kickboxed, I've spun, I've been down to 19% body fat. Surely I can run.
I showed up at the gym the next morning wearing two sports bra, a bad attitude, and my iPod filled with women-objectifying songs. Could I be more ready?
I gave the front desk hottie my gym card to scan, made a joke about how proud he must be to see me back at the gym again, ignored his COMPLETELY BLANK expression, and was on my way to the treadmills.
Tragically the only treadmill available was wedged between a blonde hard body and a prolific sweater. (Not the kind you wear. Although that visual is making me laugh. The sweater is all "I got to get into shape. I used to be a mitten.")
ANYWAY. I told myself that it didn't matter who I was next to, this was my journey, and no one cared that much about my undulating ass cheeks anyway.
So I stepped up, started off with a nice brisk walk, stepped it up to a brisker walk/run, and then waited for my favorite part of "Golddigger" before I broke out into what felt like a cheetah sprint, but when verified in the mirror looked more like maybe I was lightly jogging back to my car after returning my shopping cart.
I shrugged (mentally; I'm not that coordinated) and told myself this was the first of many runs upon which I would improve.
Then the burning started.
First in my lungs, then my chest. Then I swear my moles started hurting.
It must be time for a break, my brain screamed.
I checked the clock.
I became frantic.
My eyes darted around for an escape, an excuse. I have a muscle cramp! doctor appointment! hammer toes! job interview! diarrhea!
You can do this, Lena. You're a winner. A big winner.
I imagined the parked car directly out the window in front of me carried Savannah. I was chasing the car! I am a mother! Mothers have superhuman powers! I will tap into my fierce maternal reserve! I can lift a car off a burning building or something how does it go oh God my face hurts!
I pawed at the speed down arrow and slowed to a fast walk. Interval training, y'all.
My pounding heart encouraged me to take my heart rate.
Clearly, I was dying.
I sipped some water, took a few deep breaths, and walked two minutes more. Surely I can manage to run for two minutes without dying. Who am I anymore?
I glanced in the mirror at Gym Bunny on my right. She ran effortlessly, her feet like butterflies landing on flowers. Her body was tight, her face firm and focused on her own reflection.
Did that used to be me?
I looked at my loose sweats, my beet red face. I winced at how my belly shuddered with each step, how my face jiggled up and down.
Who am I?
How did I let myself get this out of shape? How did I lose complete control like this? I've been deluding myself into thinking I was fit and I'm not. I fail at staying hot.
I just wasn't very offended by it all.
Believe me, I tried. I waited for the familiar feeling of shame to well up in my chest. I waited for the embarrassment, the humiliation, to grip me.
It just...didn't come.
I'm 32. I look 32. I still think I'm beautiful. And if I can feel beautiful like this - out of shape, overweight, puffing, exhausted from my three minute run - then it can only get better.
So I started to run again. I found "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall in my iPod and blasted it through my ear buds.
And I ran. Fast.
Her face is a map of the world, a map of the world.
I pumped my fists.
You can see she's a beautiful girl, a beautiful girl.
My feet pounded the belt.
Suddenly I see.
I felt the chilly rush of adrenaline and I was flying.
This is what I want to be.
I wanted to cry with pride.
Suddenly I see why the hell it means so much to me.
I was doing it!
Like a complete on-my-ass fall at full tilt.
As luck would have it, one of my crazy possessed-by-joy hands (which I had clenched into tight fists like hooves for precisely this reason) came down on my iPod wire and flung the damn thing right onto the whizzing treadmill belt. This caused me to do a very cool backward trip hop jump before finally landing at the bottom of the treadmill.
Gym Bunny glanced at me alarmed and then returned to gazing at herself smugly in the mirror.
I stood up, brushed off my sweats, got back onto the treadmill, walked for a respectable one minute, and then raced to my car to catch that very pressing doctor interview. I mean job appointment. Whatever.
Then I did what any self respecting adult would do after pitching over on a treadmill in a crowded gym. I got a McGriddle and sat with my laptop.
I'm happy to report that I've never felt fitter.