How do you run a marathon without stopping to pee?

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I often don't feel like I fit in. Okay, I almost never feel like I fit in. I've heard that this is not uncommon, so possibly if I got together with all the people who don't feel like they fit in, I'd fit in with them, but I suspect not. When I was little I was a weird kid who read too much. The one or two times my mother tried sending me to summer camp were not pretty. Usually she would pick one that my sister was the right age for, so I was a little too old, too uncoordinated for sports and too shy for games. On the upside, the counsellors felt comfortable cursing around me since I was the oldest camper. Eventually my mother let me stay home and read.

High school wasn't wretched, but it wasn't great. I was sort of on the fringe of the second-tier popular people, which meant the in-crowd sort of treated us like mascots or pets (upon reflection, total outcast might have been preferable). University was great, actually -- suddenly being a bit flaky and reading a lot was completely acceptable. Near the end of undergrad was when my brain chemicals started really not working and playing well with each other, though, and grad school was a lot of really great people and interesting course work mixed with periods of intense self-loathing and the conviction that everyone everywhere was staring at me with pity and/or disgust. There was also a few months of a staph infection that ate up my face, when people were, in actual fact, staring at me with pity and/or disgust, so that didn't help.

All this is by awkward and lengthy way of saying that I shouldn't be surprised that I seem to be the only one I know that hasn't been able to experience a glorious, breakthrough, middle-aged running epiphany.

Seriously. I thought running had been put back in its proper place -- you know, for scrawny intense fanatics, or for when something's chasing you. Suddenly my best friend, my neighbour, half my book club, it's all stopwatches and microfibres and 10 ks -- what the hell? I went from nice companionable side-by-side treadmill walks with my friend, discussing weighty world affairs while watching Entertainment Tonight to walking in resentful silence while ducking flying sweat drops from her side while she trained for the Run For Something-or-other. Hmmph. So after numerous testimonials -- "It's like discovering a whole new facet of yourself"; "I never thought I could do it and now I can't live without it!"; "I've found that when I run fast, my children can't catch me" -- I thought heck, might as well see what all the fuss is about.

It's a short, boring story. I did like it much more than I expected to (and not just because of the obvious favourable ratio of ass-lard burning to time spent exercising). Then my knee got buggered and it became an experience slightly akin to ramming a rusty spike up my shinbone into my kneecap repeatedly. My husband stuck ice packs on me and sent me back out (I guess figuring I should try to shrink my ass a bit more before possibly being crippled for life). The guy at the Running Room offered this incisive assessment of the situation: "yeah, that's probably not good".
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I rested and gave it a couple more tries. Same thing. So I'm back to lifting my little weights, walking (which feels really slow now), exercise biking and resisting the urge to stick out my foot whenever someone runs by. Not that I'm bitter.


Anonymous said…
blue banana jello
Rosemary said…
You get the bacon, I'll set up the rotisserie. Your neighbor will never know what hit her. :) Btw. I had to look up the spelling of rotisserie (used the swiss chalet website). Guess I shouldn't have spent so much time in the smoking area in high school.
Anonymous said…
All I can say is that I hope you thanked Mr. Running Room for his brilliant analysis. I doubt he even charged you for that pearl of wisdom. ;)

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