======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
My breathing was heavy. Muscles weren’t working the way they used to. Everything I wanted—shit, everything I needed- was just out of reach. Gasping, pushing, pulling, using every ounce of strength left in me, I attempted to hoist myself forward, only to fall back onto the couch.
It took two more tries to actually get off the couch that Sunday afternoon. Lila sat next to me nursing a glass of ice water and nibbling on a chicken nugget, freshly ordered from McDonald’s. She laughed at my struggles and I smiled sheepishly as I left the living room to pick up another beer from the fridge. I bent over into the fridge to jostle another PBR free from the stacks of two liters and to go boxes. As I stood up, I realized that I was slightly out of breath. On my way back to the couch, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had an important realization.
I have relationship gut.
It’s a phenomenon that I haven’t experienced before, at least not to this extent. Looking back at the ghosts of relationships past, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have time to work out. In fairness, that was in college, and so I had more enough free time on my hands because I didn’t have a full time job. Now, I can say for certain that 40-50 hours of my week are down the drain. I try to balance the rest of my time between spending time with my girlfriend, watching TV, writing, eating, and drinking.
Look at those priorities. Where can I possibly fit a work out in there? Yeah, yeah, I know what they say. “Well, if you really wanted to, you could find an hour a day to hit the gym.” No shit. If I really wanted to, I could probably look like a less stylish version of a TV actor who just can’t quite make it to the big screen.
But that requires so much effort. That would mean paying attention to every label I want to consume. That would mean getting up two hours earlier than I normally do so that I can get to the gym, which sounds like my equivalent to being water boarded. If I really wanted to find an hour every day to hit the gym, that would require me to cut into my time I spend watching an episode of a show that I’ve already seen dozens of times.
Not to mention, hanging out with my girlfriend is so much more fun. We get drunk, we eat brunch, we watch TV and movies, and we hit the bars too. We make fun of each other, we banter, we tell stories, and we get into playful arguments about whether or not hot dogs are American versions of tacos. We also have sex. So like, yeah I’m going to pick that over going to the gym any day of the week.
So, no. I don’t really want to push myself to get into peak physical condition. But…I kind of do. I’m not about to start drinking kale smoothies or eating salads without a dressing anytime soon, but I do think it would be cool to be able to tie my shoe without losing my breath. I thought the half marathon would kick start something inside me that would inspire me to at least go for a jog once in a while. Instead, it had the opposite effect. The race isn’t until May, and since procrastination is my crack cocaine, I haven’t even thought about training.
And so here I am. Looking like a before picture in my gym clothes, trying my hardest to space out and day dream about tacos while I lug my legs around on this god forsaken treadmill. The three miles that used to come as a warm up now make me feel like my legs are stuck in mud. I’m slow, I wheeze, I am probably exaggerating, but honestly, when you come from being a runner in a past period of your life, this feels like hell.
I guess the best thing to do from here is keep putting one foot in front of the other to see my girlfriend and a crisp beer waiting for me at the finish line..