So, this is happening.
That’s right—it’s time for me to garrote myself with my terrifying sports bra three times a week for the next three months in order to almost-adequately prepare for the Women’s Running Nashville half-marathon at the end of September. Later that day, I will reward myself for limping across the finish line by attending the All the Hits All Night Long Lionel Richie concert with my loving husband. I am a Lionel fan. I’m, perhaps, a bigger Lionel fan than any of you, considering that, when I was 10, I sent him a song I’d written so that he could record it and have yet another international hit. It was either about love or inevitability of nuclear war; I can’t remember. (It was the mid-80s.) Regardless, although, surprisingly, he opted NOT to record my song, he did send me a SIGNED (in blue ballpoint ink) letter in response, encouraging me to attend writer’s workshops for children. Even though he kept my only copy of my nuclear weapon song and is, thus, an intellectual property thief, I will attend his concert, and I will wear sequins in a dignified manner.
However, this won’t be my first half-marathon. Saturday, May 12, 2012, was an unusually big day for me, as that was the day I completed my first (and, thus far, only) half-marathon, which consisted of me walking/running 13.1 miles at our local park because I’d missed the real half-marathon I’d registered for a few weeks before. (Don’t feel sorry for me; I bought myself a finisher’s medal to award myself when I’d concluded the “race.” It wasn’t at all strange.)
Based on my experience, I can offer you the following insights on completing a half-marathon:
1. Don’t obsess about runner’s diarrhea the entire time you’re walking/running. Diarrhea is a lot like Big Foot; you won’t find it unless it wants to be found, and, in the meantime, you’ve spent way too much time taking weird pictures in the woods at dusk.
2. You can be brought down by a teeny, tiny, almost invisible loose thread in the heel of your sock. That tiny thread will make you its bitch.
I did well for the first 2/3 of my half-marathon experience. I walked the first few miles by myself, and then my friend, Angie, joined me for almost five miles, a lovely five miles during which I forgot to concentrate on not pooping myself but somehow, miraculously, still didn’t poop myself. When she left, the sun was shining, and my spirits were high, like an ignorant Disney princess before she’s turned into a one-eyed donkey by the evil witch (or whatever). As soon as Angie’s car pulled out of the parking lot, a dark shadow fell over the land, and a cold, misty rain began to fall. My calves began to cramp up, and whatever was wrong with my heel (tiny demon thread!) got so, so much worse.
“Why hast thou forsaken me?!” I screamed as I shook my fist at the sky and broke down in sobs. “I can’t do it! I can’t!”
And then I remembered that I was on a fitness trail at a public park and that maybe all of the four-year-olds on the soccer fields could witness my tragic downfall, but then I thought, Why shouldn’t they? I was a 38-year-old woman who had a college degree, a job, and a house and who hadn’t pooped herself in public while walking a half-marathon she made up for herself. I had it all. And then a large bumblebee tried to become one with me.
I somehow managed to suck it up and make it through the remaining miles and then went home and ate approximately 15 Golden Oreos before taking a warm whirlpool bath.
Now, as scientific and physician-approved as my half-marathon recovery plan might seem to you, it turns out that it wasn’t the most effective plan in the world. I woke up the next morning to significant unpleasantness. There was labored, slow walking and WAY too much pooping. Like a hiker in a forest finally stumbling upon Big Foot, casually watching a movie on his kindle fire (Harry and the Hendersons, obviously), I found the runner’s diarrhea. Apparently, drinking 100 oz. of fluids in a short period of time can have a detrimental effect on one’s colon. (I was trying to avoid dehydration!) They should really clarify that point on every beverage ever manufactured.
Did I mention that this was Mother’s Day? Many mothers enjoy breakfast in bed and chore-free days, filled with special times with their families or, at the very least, no laundry. My husband had to work all day and came out to my office to kiss me goodbye, only to find me curled up in the fetal position, moaning, “My intestines are trying to murder me.” So, he decided that that was the best time to give me my card and present. And then he left without doing any of the numerous morning child- and pet-related chores, leaving me to do them, even though I couldn’t walk. It took me two hours. The best part of the day, though, was the torrential rain that fell from dawn to dusk, which meant that I got to spend the entire day trapped in the house with four restless dogs and one four-year-old. It was delightful. (I spent much of the day wondering if spousal murder was still illegal in the state of Tennessee. However, as my revenge, I settled for not picking up a pile of cat vomit that I spied on the floor on his side of the bed, which I then stepped on later that night because karma is a bitch.)
So, how did I make it through that day? Since I was a wee lass (I’m 1/8 Irish, so I can say that authentically), I’ve used television as self-soothing tool. Barbie’s having a bad hair day? Turn on Three’s Company. Particularly unattractive tween middle school day? Turn on The Cosby Show! The boy you like didn’t talk to you today? Let’s watch Murphy Brown!
Benson, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Murphy Brown, Cheers, Friends, Frasier, Seinfeld, Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, The Office, Community, New Girl, Ben and Kate—these are just a few of the shows with which I’ve been obsessed in the past. (Several of them in the not-so-distant past, like yesterday.) And, oh, what a glorious time to be a lover of good television in these days of Rokus and Hulu Plus and Netflix and mobile devices and on-demand viewing!
Weekends aren’t great days for television, you say? I say you’re an idiot! (You’re not really an idiot; I’m being dramatic to make a point. I think you’re wonderful.) I’ve spent most of the last two weekends re-watching episodes of The Office on Hulu Plus (on my television via my Roku device) because I can. I’m tired on weekends, so I don’t really feel like “reconnecting with my family” or “going outside.” I want to sit on the couch, turn on a never-ending stream of amusing Michael Scott escapades, and sip, alternately, Diet Coke and ice water while I complain about the neighbors across the street on Facebook. (This is my dream for the weekend; it doesn’t have to be yours.)
Regardless, there is a huge source of entertainment to be mined for those willing to pay small fees for it, and, some days, I’m willing to pay for it. I’m willing to pay big. Like on Mother’s Day 2012. I spent that day comforting myself with episode after episode of Parks & Rec on Hulu Plus, followed by a smattering of 30 Rock episodes and one SNL. I love Hulu Plus. I love it so much, I sometimes get teary-eyed thinking about what life would be like without it. The networks who don’t utilize Hulu Plus are incredibly stupid. (I’m talking to you, CBS.) I can’t tell you the number of shows I’ve started watching on Hulu Plus that I continued watching on their respective networks, which should be what the networks want. NBC gets it, although, now, they only offer the current seasons of current shows on Hulu Plus. I used to be able to watch every episode of every season of Parks & Rec, but no more. It’s incredibly irritating.
However, I will remain a loyal Hulu Plus customer because $7.99/month is a small price to pay for almost-commercial-free entertainment. If you’ve thought about subscribing but haven’t done it, yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. Even on a fairly tight budget, $7.99 is a price that most of us can afford, and, best of all, a person can download the Hulu Plus app for iPhones, iPads, and kindle fires (among other smart phones and devices—these just happen to be what we have at the moment). The app allows me to watch Hulu Plus on any one of these devices while I’m on the treadmill, drinking way too much water, or outside, pushing my son on the swing for two hours (which isn’t necessarily as fun as it sounds.) Hulu Plus is a boredom slayer! And, for that, I am most grateful.
For those of you wondering if I ever exacted appropriate revenge for my husband’s lack of assistance or warmth or concern for my physical well-being on Mother’s Day 2012, I can tell you that I complained about it in classic passive-aggressive fashion on Facebook a few times and made specific Father’s Day-related threats, like indicating I was going to buy him a Tennessee Vols t-shirt and/or jean shorts as his gift. As a result of my passive-aggressive behavior and his own guilt, he did very well on Mother’s Day 2013—I got fresh hair and a new purse and the cutest cards signed by our son.
It’s important, when being purposefully passive-aggressive, not to overdo it, as then the object of the passive-aggressive behavior begins wondering whether spousal murder is still illegal in one’s state, and that negates the usefulness of the passive-aggressive behavior. In marriage, as in life, it’s important to learn how to walk that fine line between murdering and not murdering.
It’s really what life and Mother’s Days are all about.