Let me start by saying that way deep down, written in my code, I have incredible athletic ability. Genetically, it’s all there. My double-helix DNA spirals are riddled with words like a-t-h-l-e-t-i-c and h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s and h-u-m-b-l-e like tattoo’s on JR Smith.
The problem is, I don’t know how to take care of anything. If I had a child like my brother just did, I feel confident that I could keep the child alive, but I would eventually starve.
I’ve considered getting a dog a few times over the last couple of years, but realized the house would look like a McDonalds playpen ball pit, except instead of plastic balls infected with every virus in the book, we would be fighting our way through Seamless brown delivery bags. We would drown in trash.
Imagine if King Arthur allowed Excalibur, The Sword in the Stone, The Greatest Sword in all the Land, a sword who’s possessor rules the realm, to become blunt and rusty, all because Arthur decided to eat Cheez-It’s and Ben & Jerry’s while binging Amazon Original Series’ (I recently finished Goliath w/ Billy Bob Thornton and what a gem, Season 2 June 15 on Prime!) instead of sharpening the tool gifted to him by God.
King Arthur wouldn’t be a King, he would just be a guy, albeit handsomer and significantly cooler than most, but he would just be a dude named Arthur.
Well, I am Arthur, and I’ve allowed my Sword to become a rusty kitchen knife with streaks of marshmallow fluff all over it.
Without hesitation, I can confidently declare I’m in the worst shape of my life. I’m a cross between Chris Farley and Shawn Bradley, the powerless version from Space Jam.
So over the last month, I’ve done my best to work out a couple times a week. I’ve taken a half dozen boxing classes, a couple of Orange Theory classes, done a handful of yoga sessions, and struggled through about a million pushups in sets of 7 and a half.
In my quest for a fitness comeback, the one thing I have really avoided is running. I see the appeal for other people, but I despise running. My ADHD goes on max overland red alert like the walls are closing in when my hands aren’t occupied or when I don’t have any visual sensory. That’s why sleeping is difficult for me, because sleeping is just lying still and doing nothing. Tough concept. Anyway, running is easy for me when I’m playing sports, but once you take away the thinking side of it like reading a defense or reacting to an opponent, I struggle massively.
I would never make a plan to go running, but every now and then, spontaneity wins me over and I make an attempt.
Yesterday I had one of those moments, I was too sore to do another boxing class but didn’t want to take the day off. I didn’t have a yoga mat and SoulCycle might stop my heart so I checked the distance home.
When I was hiking, every night before bed I would look at the maps to find out how far I would hike the next day. I used to just pick a comfortable looking spot on the map, do the math, and shut the book. Sometimes it was 26 miles, sometimes 18, and never fewer than 10, so when I saw I was only 3.6 miles, my mind just shrugged it off and I went for it. Here’s the route:
I started strong. The first 30 seconds when all you’re experiencing are the endorphins and wind in your hair are so liberating. Anything is possible, your legs can take you anywhere. Should I hit the farmer’s market? Maybe run to the water and feel the breeze off the water? The possibilities are endless.
One of my big problems when I jog is that I sprint, which I’ll put my hand up admitting that’s a bad strategy, but I want to get the distance covered as fast as humanly possible just to get it over with because running is so mind-numbingly boring. So I burnout early and often.
I maybe covered 4 of those blue dots on the map before my lungs felt like they were filled with boiling water, but I had to keep running because there were people everywhere and I’m a guy so I can’t show weakness in public so I made it another a couple blocks before leaning my whole body weight on a Brooklyn warehouse building covered in 75 years of grime.
I never stretched because like I mentioned earlier, I can’t be bothered to take care of anything, not even my own body, so I stretched for the next 2 songs. I looked down, and despite wearing a long sleeve shirt and a backpack, I hadn’t even run long enough to break a sweat. I couldn’t quit. Once my pulse drop below 275 bpm, I got moving again.
I caught a little second wind and probably ate up another 2 blue dots when Spotify lobbed me Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer, a big time contender for 2018 Song of the Summer. My pace picked up as I paced my strides with the first chorus, and by the second chorus, I was stretching again with lunch threatening to reappear even though I ate it 6 hours ago.
I started and stopped another 3 or 4 times. At this point, I was running on the fumes of pure disappointment in my own athletic demise.
When I saw the Morgan Ave L Train Subway stop magically appear before me like a mirage in the desert, I realized what an asshole I was for thinking I could run a 5k home and plunged into the dumpster that is the NYC Subway without breaking stride. While I waited for the subway, I bent over to stretch my pulsing hamstring and my water bottle fell from the side pocket of my bag down into the bowels of the subway with the rats.
The train came and I sat down next to a guy dressed like ‘Where’s Waldo’ carrying a ferret in a crate on his lap, which has nothing to do with anything but felt worthy of telling you.
I only ate 19 of the 36 blue dots on the map, the saddest game of real life Pac-Man ever.
I made it just over halfway, and now have a new goal.
Hope it doesn’t kill me.