In three days and nine and a half hours, I’ll be taking my first steps towards the finish line of the Zombie 5K. I am…well, I’m basically shitting my pants here. I haven’t run any kind of distance since I was in high school, so in addition to playing soccer every day, I had the extremely unfair and at-the-time-unappreciated benefit of being 17 on my side. I have been training at home but not nearly as much as I should have been for, like, months, and while I’m a pretty non-competitive person, the thought of being that jackass at the very back of the group makes me want to puke. Even more so than the running part probably will.
An unexpected side effect of training in the ill-advised tiny window I gave myself is that I kind of like running. I like being able to run for longer at a stretch than I did the last time. I like feeling myself sweat. I like getting off the treadmill at the end of it and knowing that I did something with whatever it was that I was feeling before I got on it. I’m sort of bummed that I can’t run today. My knees and shins are giving me some trouble, so instead of forcing myself to do at least a mile and a half like I did yesterday, I’m taking the night off and making myself some chicken noodle soup. Also having beers. Not a lot. I’ve found that I’m reluctant to undo the benefits I’ve given myself by running each night, so while I think it might be nice to have a beer afterwards, I calculate the calories plus the bloating plus the amazing feeling of just plain water, which, big deal, I drink all day at work and almost every night, anyway, but it’s still a choice that Me From Five Years Ago would have punched me for making. Me From Five Years Ago was a drunk, self-righteous asshole.
Besides, I don’t get much joy out of weeknight drinking anymore. I’ve never disagreed with drinking alone – given the right kind of night, curling up with Netflix, your fat pants, and a great bottle of wine is THE TITS – but drinking alone when I’m so stressed about work and job hunting and apartment finding doesn’t do me much good. I don’t feel better when I drink stressed. I just feel drunk. Or sometimes nothing at all, which is way more disturbing. So if I’m going to spend the money, time, and calories on drinking, I want to feel like it’s worth it.
I’m running again tomorrow. And on Friday. And on Saturday for the race, and after that we’re celebrating Graham’s birthday, the first one of his thirties that isn’t spent under the influence of surgical-grade painkillers. I didn’t get a ton of gifts – the big one I had in mind is something I can’t find anywhere and I am great at the Internet, plus I’m giving him a whole city in October so fuck that guy, right? – but I did make reservations at a place he’s been wanting to try for a few years. And on Sunday, I’m going to moan and cry and do nothing all day because my body will be in broken misery, and then, once I’m better, I’d like to start running again.