"Show me on the doll where the bike touched you."
In late March, after I've blown the dust off some Hal Higdon training Web site and started falling to sleep with the "Eye of The Tiger" theme playing in my head, precisely 12 weeks before one should start training for a mid-June feat of athleticism, I stop running.
Twice in June I'll bust out a couple of 2-miles, until the third Saturday when I bust out a 13.1 miler. Cut to me laying on the couch, chafe marks in the image of Cliff Claven on the inside of both thighs, Chuck asking me in a soothing voice:
"Show me on the doll where the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon touched you."
I'll run a few more times in the summer, but by September it's like I grew a velcro tail that is really attracted to couch material. Until January.
The good news is that this year I haven't seen a single mention of a Couch Potato Tri-anything. Which is good because I've been using my swim suit top as a bra, so now it seems a little sleezy to wear it in a family pool.
Other things have changed, too. My insurance is now paying close to half of my gym membership if I go 12 times a month. So I guess, technically, that makes me a professional worker-outer.
I've set modest goals for myself in stage one of this lifestyle reset. Just go. I actually have to walk past the YMCA every day. And every time I walk past the YMCA, there are a pair of Asics on my person and enough Spandex to bandy myself into a starring role in "Boys Don't Cry." Getting myself to pause in the doorway requires dulling my head of excuses, and praying there isn't a tailwind. Three weeks makes a habit, I've always told myself. So for the past three weeks I've just made myself yank that door open, knock down those precocious tots, barge past the swim team and get thee onto a piece of cardio equipment.
I recently had a conversation with someone who used to run who was lamenting not running anymore. "I don't know why I don't do something that feels so good when I'm done," he said. And I nodded like a dashboard ornament. I should be forced by law to run. The mood shift is as drastic as daylight savings time. Whether that's good, who knows. Do you want to live with a person who leaps around the house singing Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits? Lifting her shirt with her teeth and growling?
I've had to recast myself this year as a person who works out, rather than a runner. I've been using an elliptical machine more than in the past. It no longer gives me vertigo, or even a case of the snobbies at my misguided feelings that it is inferior. It's actually a pleasant ride, and one can really hammer the shit out of an elliptical if she's really feeling the Bonnie Tyler.
Yesterday I fell off a moving treadmill. But that has nothing to do with anything.
I've also started lifting, if twice counts as "started" anything. This is whole new territory involving a bunch of etiquette I'm still learning. And the realization that my most unflattering positions is:
Legs shoulders width apart
Knees slightly bent
Arms up with a weight dangling behind my head,
which I then lift toward the ceiling.
From this particular angle, my arms look like slabs of ham hanging from pointy hooks. The goal is to make it look more like a turkey drumstick, hanging from a pointy hook.
Lifting has also been good for my mood. I came home yesterday just hankering for jars to open. Flexing my muscles, rwwring, and screaming about my 'roid rage. That's only partly true. When I got home, my limbs were palsied from overuse. In my resting position, I looked like I was trying to sketch something in the air.