By nature, I don’t like exercise. I got a little winded just watching my nephew run the bases at his Little League game last week. I don’t care much for the outdoors. We have a nice pool in our backyard that I like to watch everyone else swim in, but you couldn’t pay me enough to stuff myself in a bathing suit and dive in. I’m pretty sure the neighbors would invest in a taller fence after witnessing me in wet spandex. I don’t like to eat right. I order a salad at a restaurant only to eat the bacon bits and bleu cheese dressing and leave the waitress a bowl full of lettuce and picked-over veggies. I went nuts last week at Publix when they had a BOGO on Ben & Jerry’s. I bought eight pints. Yes, eight. I have eight (well, four now) pints of ice cream in my freezer. It’s an addiction. It’s an embarrassing, disgusting, yet delicious addiction. As hard as it is for me to enjoy anything that isn’t processed, I try to teach my children healthy eating habits. My husband and I cook pretty healthy, well-balanced meals. We buy tons of fresh fruit and veggies and they are served with every meal. I try desperately to lead by example and choke down asparagus spears and cauliflower at dinnertime with a smile on my face while my inner sloth gags. Little do those daughters o’ mine know that when they go to bed, Momma breaks out the B & J’s and downs it like it’s the night before the Apocalypse and I am responsible for consuming the rest of the world’s calories before the four horsemen arrive. If that were a real job, by the way, I would be awesome at it.
I say all this because it is a contradiction to what I have done…and what I’m about to do. I am a runner. I ran track in high school and then quit running altogether once track season was over. It wasn’t until five years ago I picked it up again and ran my first 5K. Then in January 2011, my close friend asked me to train for the Chicago Marathon with her. Neither one of us had ever attempted such a feat. So, like an idiot, I said, “Sure!” I figured if I could give birth four times, I could endure 26.2 miles. We trained for about nine months, made our way to Chicago, crossed the finish line, and got the medal. Finishing a marathon was one of my greatest accomplishments, but it is not like giving birth. You do not have people tending to your every need during a marathon. You do not get to lie in a bed while a nurse pumps you full of pain medication during a marathon. You do not get to bring home a cute, chubby baby from a marathon. Not legally, at least. Once I crossed the finish line and had the medal draped over my neck, I made a promise to myself,
“I’m never running again. Never. I finished the marathon and now I’m done. I have nothing else to prove.”
When I got home from Chicago, I threw my well-traveled Asics in the back of my closet while laughing maniacally and saying, “Peace out, suckas!!” I truly had no intention of ever lacing-up again, that is, until a few weeks ago.
My oldest daughter has taken up running and has decided that cross-country will be her sport of choice when she starts her freshman year of high school in the fall. After she had gone on several runs, she said she wanted to talk to me. When your teenage daughter says those words, it’s never a good sign. She took a deep breath and said,
“Mom, I want you to run a half-marathon with me.” The look in her eyes said she was afraid of me at that moment, as if she thought I was going to spank her or something. I have to admit, I sort of wanted to put her over my knee. Then I remembered she’s 14 and taller than I am. That would make spanking a little difficult. Anyhow, upon this request, my sarcastic inner sloth began to whisper,
“Yeah, go for it, Princess Jiggley-Thighs. Take your big lazy self running through the streets of Huntsville with your fit and toned teenage daughter. Everyone will think you look like a world-class athlete as they drive by, pointing and laughing and wondering what is chasing that beached whale waddling down the sidewalk.”
I decided this was it. I couldn’t let my inner sloth win again. She’d won every battle for the last 18 months. I agreed to run the Huntsville Half-Marathon with my daughter this November. Hearing my daughter excitedly tell people, “My mom and I are going to run the Huntsville Half!” makes my impending misery worth it. Lindsey-1, Sarcastic Inner Sloth-0. Besides, it’s only a half-marathon, which only makes me half-crazy, right?
Keep an eye out for more articles from Lindsey as she continues to chronicle her training to the Huntsville half-marathon.