all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Friday, January 21, 2005

running

Let me start off by saying that I am not, in fact, a runner. Yet for the past two-and-a-half weeks, I've begun the somewhat arduous task of getting back into shape after a year spent on my tucchus with precious little aerobic activity. Yes, you can count the basketball once a week, but why should you, really? My gynecologist...let me repeat, my GYNECOLOGIST informed me that I should really be exercising at least 30 minutes everyday. Now I know this. I mean, this 30-minutes-a-day thing is pretty much conventional wisdom by now, plastered on every cereal box, morning show program, and 24-Fitness ad in the world. But I didn't really get it until I started doing it. I mean, I've always thought of myself as pretty athletic. I think it has something to do with being tall and having a fast metabolism. At least, I've heard it said to me many times. "You look very athletic." And amazingly enough, some people think I even do yoga, which always cracks me up since I pretty much despise yoga. Maybe that's too strong of a word. It's more that I feel rather ambivalent toward yoga. I don't think I'm ready for it. I don't think my mind is calm enough to sit down with myself and do the downward dog in earnest. Things are moving a little too fast up there for me, and the times that I HAVE taken a yoga class, I feel so...what's the word...novice. And of course I do, since I never make it past the one yoga class. Maybe if I invested in a semester's worth of yoga I'd feel somewhere along the intermediate path.

But let me get back to running, and the fact that I'm not really a runner. I mean, I can run, but only if there's a ball to chase after or a very big money prize at the end of it. I never understood the way real runners got that "runner's high" thing, how they could just go for miles without stopping, how they got into this zone, how they managed to keep sane with all of that repetitive movement. At least with basketball, there's some spontaneity involved, pacing changes, and maybe a left-hand hook shot to wow the crowd. But running is so...meditative really, which is probably why I never did it for its sake alone. (There was, however, the exception of the junior high track team, when my coach decided that my obscenely long legs were going to be the ringer for the 1-mile and 2-mile events. No dice. I'd sprint the first lap around, feel victorious, and then this very quickly downgraded into complete exhaustion. Every race I was in I can in last - can you believe that? Every fucking race!

Now, however, I am not participating in any races, and I really just need to get my aerobic capacities up to speed, mostly because I just hadn't exercised those aerobic capacities very consistently. So first I started walking (for about 3 weeks) and then I just naturally wanted to pick up the pace a little. I went to Tar-jay and bought a cheapo pair of running shoes, and that afternoon went on my first run, during which I coughed up a gross amount of mucus and generally felt like I'd never, ever had any dose of exercise in my life. But I knew the next day would be better, and it was. I put my little radio on, and the earphones, tried to find any available station that had a little bit of a beat to it, and went off. And now, a couple of weeks later, I'm up to 3 miles. I switched my course to the Kezar Stadium track, where I could count the laps and not worry so much about zoning out during heavy traffic. I pretty much stay in the number 3 lane the whole time. I stop after a mile and stretch, wait for the next song to come on, and then keep going for another mile. It's not that bad, although I suspect without the music it would be interminable. I mean, there's absolutely no entertainment in it for me to run these laps EXCEPT the radio, and trying to time my footsteps to the beat. I don't know how regular runner do it, the ones that enter marathons and run 2 or 3 whole hours with their eyes on the road. BORING!

My routine is this - the run, home for a glass of water, then a long, blissful hot shower, then dinner, then chocolate. And because all this exercise gets me hungry, I've begun to see the run as the vehicle for hot showers and food. I'm like Pavlov's dog. It doesn't really take much apparently. Put chocolate out as a reward and I'm there, jog bra on, out and ready to rock.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll have to keep that in mind english grammar exercise