Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hitting Rock Bottom

There was a time when I could run a 6:50 mile. I had chiseled legs, a washboard stomach, and arms with more definition than Mount Rushmore.

Now, I have "keep that hemline below the knee caps, thank you" legs, a washtub stomach, and arms that look like I'd rather drink a 64 oz slurpee in the visitor's center at Mount Rushmore than slog across the grueling boardwalk to the observation deck.

At 43, sniffing at 44, I can no longer take long vacations from my life as an active person. But it wasn't until I recently hit rock bottom that I decided to turn things around.

Although I'm not a candidate for the A&E channel show "Intervention," I, like so many other addicts, had to have a moment when I knew my behavior was the lowest of lows. No, I didn't have family and friends sit around me, reading letters of support and ultimatums. I didn't need that. I reached my low point all on my own.

I'm so ashamed.

My addiction, you see, is lethargy. Apathy. Complacency. Knuckle-headedness. The big LACK. Sure, "knuckle-headedness" seems like a stretch, but you try finding a word that begins with K. Anyhow, with a Master's degree in English, I can totally make this work, so here we go--"knuckle-headedness" because I know better. With heart disease running through my family, I am a knucklehead to think I can continue to eat Egg Mc Muffins and PopTarts while curling up for a 24-hour marathon of "America's Next Top Models." Sure, that's great TV, but it doesn't help my cholesterol level. Janice would be appalled.

And so it was that I found myself, last Friday night, huddled under a blanket on my couch, watching "Gilmore Girls" on TV and eating Cheeze Whiz straight out of the can. But that wasn't my epiphanic moment. An hour later I was in the local pizza shop where I ran into a colleague who reminded me that I had agreed to run one of the legs of the 44 mile "Brew-To-Brew" race on April 5 with the relay team she had gathered. "I thought we'd have 10 runners. It's more like six. No big deal--we'll take about eight miles each." When I visibly blanched, she went into protection mode--"Oh, but Parr can take 10 without breaking a sweat, and I'm sure I could do ten, and Scot and Chris, they'll be able to do six to eight, so that means you and Vic only have to run six miles each. You can do that. You're a runner." Yes, once upon a time and twenty-five pounds ago, yes, I was a runner...

Calm down, I told myself. Today is February 2oth. The race is April 5th. That means I have how many weeks to train?

The rocks down here are sharp, my friends. They're sharp, and they're covered with Cheeze Whiz and bacon, normally a great combination, especially with a side of sour cream, which, obviously, I would know something about. Nevertheless, rocks. Down here. In the pit of my neglect and wretchedness.

And so I have an uphill battle before me, which is good because I could use the hill workouts.

I realize I will be the weak link of this team, but since I could technically be the mother of a couple of the younger runners, I'm just going to push myself every day.

My first task--throw away the Cheeze Whiz. Doesn't matter. It's empty, anyhow...

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