I’m training to run a half-marathon in October and it’s changed my life. The magazines tell me so in their colour-filled, glossy pages.
My heart rate is improved. My self-esteem and confidence are at a new high. Coffee tastes better, people smile at me on the street, and I’m no longer racist. My parallel parking has improved, I can use a urinal even with other people around, and I’ve just about cured cancer.
And happy?! People in running mags are so happy, just like me. They always have great teeth they show off as they run, keeping them white and clean through constant wind exposure.
It’s because these people have taken control of their lives.
That’s what the mags say. Taking control is always stated as an intrinsic positive, even though deciding to eat Big Macs every day or committing to a daily regime of smack would qualify as taking control, too.
As you have perhaps surmised, I’m a little less gung-ho than your average running mag model, the sort who treat running as a full-fledged religion complete with conversion and redemption. Join us.
I enjoy running, but I’m not that far gone, partially because I’m not very good. I have never smiled when running — the look on my face ranges from passing a gallstone to passing out to passing on.
Running is supposed to offer a sort of endorphin-fuelled pain relief, but I mostly find that my lazy pains have shifted into new locations for active-people pain, kind of like a cartoon character who throws a hot potato between his left hand and his right hand.
I’m also about as light on my feet as those AT-AT walkers from The Empire Strikes Back. If you were just listening to my footfalls you’d swear I was wearing flippers.
No, I take different lessons from running than, “Things are super now!”
Here’s my inspirational running story: I run. I don’t really go anywhere, I end up back where I started, but I’m happy to have gone. Pointless, yes, but better than just sitting there, right?
If I can’t find the symbolism in that, my Grade 10 English teacher would be very upset with me.
It’s better for me to do almost anything than lie stagnant on my couch.
Unless The Empire Strikes Back is on. That’s different. It changed my life.