Am I The Only Forty-Something Year Old Who Does NOT Want To Run A Marathon?
I never liked to run. I was always the short skinny kid in the back of the pack with the fat kids when it came to running around the track in grade school. I used to sing, tell jokes, do whatever it took to get my mind off the fact that I was supposed to be running laps. And something good came from it (I actually had my grade school “coach” cut me a deal that if I stop showing up to his class and stayed out of trouble for that period each day that he would give me an “A” for the year – deal done) I’m amazed at all the friends I have who seem to find a fondness for running later in their life. Am I the only forty-something year old who does NOT want to run a marathon? – Don’t Get Me Started!
I remember when it all started more than a few years ago. I had a co-worker my age who decided that she was going to run for an AIDs charity. She had a website and you could log on each day to hear about her throwing up, her toenails turning black and falling off, her hitting her “wall” and then having her endolphins (yes, I know, was trying to be witty, kids) kick in and so on. I donated money to her cause, she ran the marathon and while she never ran again, she has the marathon notch of honor on her belt. Through the years there was the marathon someone else ran for breast cancer and most recently a marathon for guess what, just a marathon’s sake that a pal of mine ran, go figure. But through it all, even when I started back at the gym a few years ago I never understood the fascination for running and still don’t.
Most of my pals tell me about the sense of accomplishment it gives them, or that they always wanted to do one but never thought they could, blah, blah, blah. And there must be something to it because everyone from Oprah to people who no one ever heard about it all line up across the country several times a year to run like crazy with the other mostly forty-something year olds. I think it’s all part of the new mid-life “review” (as I call it) where you feel as though your body has started to sag and you can no longer do everything you once did physically (without your body being incredibly sore the next day) so you want to prove to yourself and the world that you can still run like the moron you were at fourteen. So good for all of you on your accomplishment.
But running a marathon isn’t going to make you younger or get out of this life thing alive, kids. I think it’s great that you have no more toenails, drank Gatorade from a cup that was handed to you as you careened by a volunteer at seven miles an hour and that you can feel good about yourself. But if you think it makes you or your breasts (insert pecs for men or ass for either sex) look like they did when you were a teen, you’re mistaken. Yes, good for you that you ticked off something else on your “bucket list” we’re all sufficiently impressed.
I remember recently being at the gym and getting on the treadmill. After walking for the “warm-up” I decided that perhaps I would try this running thing that everyone is so crazy about. I imagined me shopping for my marathon outfit and a number on my chest (that didn’t involve an orange jumpsuit from prison) as I jogged along. I thought I was doing great. I looked around at the people just walking on the treadmills, “Suckers” I thought to myself as I kept my jaunty pace trying to ignore Fox News on the televisions. I saw the serious runners who were so gaunt they looked as though they had just come from the concentration camps to the gym. I could envision myself getting “gay thin” at last! I would be the envy of everyone as I exclaimed, “I don’t get it, my pants just all seem to fall off of me, I don’t know why they don’t make more 28 inch waist pants anymore” as I batted my eyes in mock surprise. Then it started, my left knee started to have a small pain in it. Could it be from the jogging or just that old dance injury? I kept my pace, jogging through the pain – after all, doesn’t everyone say, “No pain, no gain?” I kept my mind off the knee pain by thinking of people doing an intervention because they were afraid I was getting too thin. As I pumped my arms as I ran I felt tightness in the left arm. Was it a heart attack as any Jew thinks of first or was it simply that I hadn’t held my arms in this position in so long that it was like when you carried a bunch of books in high school for a long time and then set them down and felt as though you would never be able to straighten your arms again? Why didn’t the sweat in the crook of my elbow act like some oil for this Tin Man? I decided to take it down a few notches, then I decided it was better to just go ahead and walk for a minute before I started jogging again, after all, it had been years since I’d run and I needed to work up to it, right? When I looked down to slow the treadmill I was amazed at what I saw, I had been running or jogging or whatever the hell you want to call it for exactly a minute and a half! That’s right, all of those thoughts, dreams, pains and eventual submission to walking happened in under two minutes.
I looked at the people just walking and as I held tightly onto the railing acting as if I was getting my heart rate and not desperately holding on for support. I made faces to the other walkers that said, “Look at those morons running? Do you get it cause I don’t! We’re the sane ones people! Good for us!” And as I looked around at the “walkers” it was clear to me that once again I was in the back of the pack with the fat kids, just walking when the fit kids were running. And somehow it didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t care that I was in the back of the pack, I didn’t care that there were people killing themselves to get to “pace” to run a marathon. I realized that it was okay to not like running, to not feel as though I had to run a marathon or not have any interest in it at all. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Am I the only forty-something year old who does NOT want to run a marathon?” – Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com
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