Thing I do best in the whole world:


I can sweat with the best of ’em. Without even trying, I sweat like a badass. I get uncomfortably warm when the temp noses above 65, and all bets are off. I found myself in the airconditioned haven of Target the other day, fanning myself for relief and looking longingly into the freezer tubs, thinking, I wonder if they’d throw me out if I hopped in and rolled around in the beef? (I did not hop in.)

So why in all the holy hells did we just buy a treadmill?

One word, friends, one word: Research.

Yes, research. I do this, right? I want to know more about something, so I jump in whole hog and make a concerted effort to get to the bottom of things and understand them. And what I want to know right now is what it feels like to be a person who enjoys exercise.

I’ve never been sporty. Ever. I played field hockey for a semester in the eighth grade because everyone had to play a sport to pass the year, and I hated it. I hated the softball team I was forced to join in the fourth grade. I hated swim club (exercise with the added attraction of the potential to accidentally drown? Exercise while intermittently holding your breath? Are you kidding me?) I’m uncoordinated as fuck, and even my yoga practice (which isn’t really exercise so much as rolling around on the floor for 20 minutes) hasn’t done much to make it better.* I remember getting winded riding my bike as a kid. I even remember Kathy Arsenault in the seventh grade, talking about how she loved her morning run and the muscle definition it gave her, and squinting at her, thinking, Man that sounds terrible. I tried running a couple years ago and I cried through the whole thing.** So what the hell is going on now?

I have no idea where it came from. Probably nerves (Have you noticed that the world is extra scary lately?) I’m also really good at freaking out,*** and sometimes when I freak out, it helps to pace. And our living room, while generous, is just not that big. Also, the pacing makes Will Dearest really uncomfortable, I think. And then when I mentioned to Will that I was thinking about taking up walking again but was afraid of ticks (it only took one, ya’ll – I am no fool. Let us discuss the Great Indoors), and so had been looking on Craigslist for treadmills, and he got wide eyed and said that he had been too, well, there you have it, we bought a treadmill. And we’ve both been using it.

And I understand what Kathy was saying about muscle definition, even if I hate being on the treadmill from start to finish. Which, incidentally, I do – I hate it all the way through. I have to bribe myself with television to stay on that fucker for 45 minutes four days a week. But I do it. And I sweat buckets. And then I do three sets of push-ups and sit-ups. Because I like the idea of having guns like Gina Torres in Firefly†

Best I can figure from this beginning vantage point is that it’s like Stockholm Syndrome: after a while you come to like the look and power of your body, and so you don’t want to stop, even tho’ it hurts.†† I asked my brother, who used to go to boxing gyms and still keeps up with his workout. He admitted that he’d rather smoke and eat food, but he hates what happens when he does that. I get it. Mercy, I get that. For reference, I’ve never met a noodle I didn’t want to eat.

So I’m giving this a shot. I want to know, and I’m hoping I can find out. I’m inspired by the concept of runner’s high, and I’m trying the interval training thing again. I even got three intervals in before I started crying on my last try. For inspiration, I wrote a character into the fic I’ve been working on who’s a runner and a gym rat. That’s helping, I think?

Well, here goes nothing. With any luck, I’ll get to the bottom of it. At the very least, my arms are starting to look nicer.


*I’ve been doing yoga on and off for something like 13 years, btw. I’ve gotten into crow twice, to be exact, and both times I fell on my forehead. I’ve done the research so you don’t have to – that shit smarts.
**I’m not even kidding. I attempted a Couch To 5k interval training thing and here’s what happened: walk for ten minutes, run while crying for fifty-something seconds, pant on the side of the trail. Repeat.
***I can do self-centered fear like nobody’s business. Aren’t you glad you’re not me?
†When I expressed this to Man Cub, do you know he told me we could probably arrange to purchase them from a replica shop? Har de har. Kid’s got his dad’s sense of humor. He gets points for that, tho’.
††It fucking hurts! I’m pretty much convinced that I will die of a shin splint related injury, btw.