Lose Yourself

Why (pant pant) the hell (pant pant) did I take up running?!

Photo by Flickr user Shopping Diva“Exercise” — oh, that dreaded word. It is a scourge on the ears of every woman. No, I amend that: It is a scourge on the ears of every blessed person who is not a fitness fanatic.

For some people, the prospect of exercise would be taken at face value — as a chance to actually get fit, compare pecs, and generally sweat it out without worrying about being nasty or smelly. To the rest of us, it means something far more hazardous. And lethal.

Still, with spring fast approaching, the cover of darkness seemed like the perfect cover to shed that wobble. Which is exactly how I found myself out running at 10 p.m. through howling winds and inky black darkness down some cobweb-filled, dangerously skinny country road somewhere in County Clare, Ireland.

Step 1: It is imperative to choose a running partner who is basically on the same level, fitness-wise, as you are — not as you aspire to be. My running partner happened to be younger and a rugby player, male and more than 6-foot-2-inches tall. I, on the other hand, like chocolate.

Step 2: Start off slow. Enjoy the beautiful sunset and singing birds and the gentle breeze. They won’t last long.

Step 3: Avoid the traffic — and all the gawking eyes that come with it. Like a wasp in the summer is attracted to ice-cream — imagine the opposite. If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is around to hear it and all that. Do not let other people witness that fall from grace.

Step 4: Do not eat pasta prior to the run. At first you will be chuffed to your guts with pride at your body’s performance. However, that proud feeling will be running for the hills when you are chuffing your guts out.

Step 5: Focus on how good you’re going to look and feel. At this point, the beautiful sky will look like someone inhaled charcoal and sneezed it back out. The wind will be gluing the hair onto your sweaty beet-red cheeks, and now you will appreciate the value of Step 3.

Step 6: Do not stop. Not even for a second. The feeling will be worth it, once you’ve won the war with your aching legs and silenced your muttered curses about not having naturally “skinny” bones. Do not be afraid if a high-pitch wailing sound is following you. It will be you.

Step 7: Golden Rule: Go naked-faced. The natural beetroot colour is not flattering on everyone, but it occurs to every skin tone. And though forgoing makeup means risking looking like Steven Segall, with the wickedly small eyes and hair firmly plastered to your skull, it makes it a lot easier to hop into the shower without having to scrape off that awful mixture of makeup and sweat that accumulates when your body is naturally trying to expel toxins from your body.

Step 8: Feel great! Even if you may feel like a chipper with the amount of fat dripping off. Extraordinarily enough, dribbling and frothing at the mouth simply shows that you are a natural multi-tasker.

Step 9: Don’t be afraid to go again. While the initial ordeal of your body excreting so many substances, being vulnerable in your naked face and greasy hair while often having to dodge bats, cobwebs, and all manners of wildlife that come out to run into your face, be proud of the stamina you are building up! And that you survived.

Article © 2013 by Jill Franz