I’ve spent the better part of my adult life living like a disgusting pig.
I eat like crap, I drink too much and I refuse to exert myself physically to any extent beyond occasionally mowing the yard and pleasuring the old lady, if you know what I mean, right? Right? Aw yeah, you know what I mean.
Ahem, anyway, I mistreat my body, yes, but I have fun and I generally try to be pleasant around everyone I meet (at least as far as the people who’ve never met me know).
A couple of years ago, however, I fell off the wagon.
I wasn’t the fun, debauchery practicing Don you know and love today.
For 14 weeks, I became the sort of person I normally want to punch in the face.
This is not a story of addiction, no, not for me at least. I never enjoyed it, but just did it to fit in. I was able to quit cold turkey.
I never became an addict, but I was around other addicts.
I was in their clique, if you will.
They let me, no, they lured me in with their taunts and accusations and ripply, muscled, bulbous, body gyrations. Like sirens at sea!
They abused my mind by repeatedly accusing me of being feeble minded and weak bodied.
We can make you better, stronger, more like us, they promised with their nasty, insulting words and sneers.
I am currently, as I was then, simply a public servant, a man trying to live a peaceful life with my family.
These addicts are relentless though, and their addictions possess them to the point that they behave as though they have no souls.
They only crave what feeds into their addiction and feels good right then and there. They’re like toddlers. Please me right this second!
They will hurt others to get what their brains insist their bodies need.
My terrible taunters aren’t crackheads or meth addicts, no, mine are addicted to……ugh…
I can’t even say it, I feel nauseous and ashamed.
It’s ok Don, it’s part of the process. You can do this.
They’re exercise addicts!!
Whooooh! WOW! There, I said it out loud.
That really helps the healing. That felt great; I needed that.
It all started innocently enough in 2011, somewhere on my street, while sitting around a fire pit and drinking adult beverages.
You see, back then, the neighbors on our street still liked one another and, from time to time, would gather outside on somebody’s driveway to burn firewood in a fire pit and enjoy some cocktails and conversation.
It was just another one of those nights and I was trying to spread love and joy to my neighbors, but wine was getting in the way of that.
Todd and Margo’s wine that is.
Yes, I have neighbors called Todd and Margo. You remember them, right?
When we first moved in, it was the end of July, 2010 and just as hot as could be.
We were moving a very heavy dresser from our U-Haul and I noticed Todd and Margo across the street so I waved. Margo flipped me the bird and Todd grabbed his crotch at me. Yikes! What’s up with that?
Wife had the baby in one arm and the dresser in another and I was holding several units of blood I’d extracted from myself to donate to the Red Cross while also holding the dresser in the other hand. We were doomed from the start and sure enough, that dresser fell right on top of wife, narrowly missing the baby.
I watched in disgust as Todd and Margo laughed hysterically, like a couple of hyenas ecstatic over killing a cute baby lion cub.
By that time, we had made nice with all of the other neighbors on the street except for Todd and Margo.
Todd was always very busy tongue loving his fancy Honda lawn mower after pushing it around on his perfect, plush lawn all shirtless so that the ladies could see his pasty white pecs, while Margo lounged in her chair in the driveway wearing her over-sized sunglasses and reading her Runner’s World Magazines. It’s the magazine for people who just can’t stop thinking about running.
I’m sure that she’d have been shirtless too, so as to show off her rock hard abs and delts and pecs and whatevers, were it not taboo for a lady to do so in public.
We eventually became cordial enough to talk, mostly because I went out of my way at least 100 times to make friends with them.
They even relented to the point that they let me join everyone on the driveway when driveway drinking was going on. For the longest time, they made me stand in the street, forty yards away from the group.
It’s hard to hear the conversation that far away, but I could tell by their dirty glares that Todd and Margo were talking badly about me most of the time.
One fateful night, when Margo had too much wine, she was talking about running, as usual. Not running in fear, but running on purpose, even though nobody is chasing you type running.
She got to talking about her desire to run a half marathon.
Suddenly, for no reason at all, she looked at me and said, “you wouldn’t understand though, Don, because you’re nothing but a fat guy with fat guy concerns.”
I smiled politely at her, let her comment slide and began telling everyone what I thought was a pretty funny and inspiring story about some missionary work I’d done in the Congo to help children learn to read and survive in their harsh world. During my story, out of the blue Margo says, “Hey Don, could you be any fatter and dumber?”
“That’s not very nice, Margo. I know I’m overweight, but I’m certainly not obese or anything like that. I mean I know I’m not as fit as you and your wonderful husband, but I’m not hopeless yet. Why do you guys hate me so much? I sure am sorry for doing whatever I did to upset you. Please tell me what I can do to make you like me, even just a little bit.” I said.
I like to be liked, you see.
“You could jump into the fire pit and see if your fat burns!” said Todd nastily.
“Oh Todd, that’s terrible!” I said. “What about my babies? You want them growing up without a dad? I’ll just go inside my house, if the sight of me is upsetting you two. I don’t want to cause any trouble for anybody.”
“You suck and I wish you would die, move to another state or at least get a nasty rash on your ass,” said Margo.
“Yeah, what she said!” said the always witty Todd.
As somebody who tries to never speak ill of anybody, I was hurt by their harsh words and didn’t know what to do or say.
I started to cry.
“Well gosh,” I said sobbing, “what if I ran one of them half marathons you guys are talking about doing? Would that make you to respect me just a little and be able to tolerate my face around our neighborhood?” I asked hopefully.
Well, almost before I could even finish my sentence, they were laughing and laughing and laughing to the point where I thought for sure they were going to rupture something inside their bodies, or at least piss all over themselves.
“You? Run a half marathon?!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha, it’s a run dumbshit, not a chicken wing eating contest!” they both said at the same time in a terribly mean tone.
Well, after literally 24 straight minutes of them laughing, spitting, and throwing pebbles and empty beer cans at me, I started to get angry and I told them to stop because they wouldn’t like me when I was angry!
So they laughed harder and I became even angrier.
Without thinking, I yelled through my sad tears, “I am going to sign up for that Rock and Roll Half Marathon in October, just to show you two that I can do it!”
They laughed some more but finally said that I could join them in their half marathon quest. I could be their pet, they agreed. I was not to speak unless I was spoken to, nor was I too look either of them in the eye or breath in their air.
I figured I needed to lose a few pounds anyway, so that all seemed reasonable to me.
Now mind you, when I agreed to take this bitch on (the run, not Margo), I had spent the better part of 15 years letting my body morph into a mass of fat riddled carbs and grease and beer and Cheetos all wrapped in bacon, or something like that.
The point is I looked sort of like this:
It was clearly going to be a lot of work to get my lard ass to move 13.1 miles on foot in the same week, let alone in a row!
I had grown into a comfortable rut.
Instead of worrying about how to fit exercise into my busy schedule, I just went ahead and bought bigger clothes and accepted that I could be one of those fat guys destined to contract diabetes or heart disease or something before I’d need to get back into shape.
But, I would enjoy myself in the meantime.
I promised Todd and Margo that I was going to stick to their program, and Margo sent me a training schedule to follow.
It was twelve weeks of running! The first week showed three miles on Tuesday, three miles on Thursday, three miles on Saturday.
What the fuck? five miles on Sunday?! The first week?!
I did it.
Then I did the same the next week.
Then Margo said, “Oh, hey dumbshit, I fucked up and started this training too early, so we’re going to do the first two weeks all over again.”
12 weeks of training was now 14 weeks.
So, we did the fourteen miles of running a week for four weeks instead of two, and it really wasn’t too terribly bad.
That fifth week introduced a six mile Sunday run and that’s when things got to be a little too real for ole’ Don.
In the meantime, like a total assbag, I had joined Todd and Margo in jogging before work in the morning.
By join, I mean I did it in the morning too, not at the same time as them.
They’d never have allowed that.
It was completely dark when I left each morning at five fucking fifteen A.M. to run on Tuesday and Thursday. 5:15 AM!!
I even went and purchased a little headlight that gung-ho runners wear in the hopes that it would help prevent me from being creamed by a speeding car or truck on the dangerous two lane highways we were stupidly running upon.
Yep, running with a headlamp. I felt like a total dickhole.
Eventually, the Thursday runs increased to four then six mile runs and the Sunday fucking funday runs were increased by a mile every week.
Sunday Seven miler. Eh.
Eight miles. Dear God, please let me not die while running today.
Nine miles. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What the fuck? And on and on like that…
Ten miles. See nine miles and add a bunch of “I hate you, Margos!!!” as well.
At 12 miles, it was just ridiculous. I was seeing things that I’m pretty sure weren’t really there, unless pink elephants playing ski-ball in tutus really happened.
At one time during training, we ran a 5k through a local nature reserve.
It was to help breast cancer research or something.
A lady at the starting line said the course was pretty easy. Hardly any hills at all she said.
That dumb, stupid bitch was completely wrong!
It was nothing but hills! All uphill, gradual slopes with no counterbalancing down hills! How is that even possible?
It was one of the most difficult three plus miles I’ve ever run!
If I could have found that woman after the run, I’d have punched her right in her vagina. That’s how much I hated her stupid, liar ass.
The Sunday of the twelve mile run, Margo wanted to run the course itself, so we made our way downtown and ran twelve miles of the actual course.
Of course, it totally sucked, but at least the ghettofabulous people who live along much of the route don’t wake up before 10am and we were done by then.
The week before the run was “only” 21 miles of running, with a “nothing” nine mile run on that Sunday.
By the day of the race, my back hurt, my feet were ready to fall off and my knees were yelling at me that I was too heavy to be running this far on them!
Still, like Horton the elephant on that bird’s nest, I said what I meant and I meant what I said and I ran those 13.1 miles, 100%.
It took just over two hours, like two hours and either four or six minutes, I don’t recall which.
It was just awful, but I finished that whole training program and run without cheating on one single day.
Against all odds and I’m sure much to Todd and Margo’s surprise (suck it you two!), I ran all the runs and even wound up losing a little weight and a couple of inches around the waistline.
Here we are after the run. Had I known there’d be free beer afterwards, I may have shaved forty minutes off my time. Sixty had it been anything other than the Miller crap they were giving out!
See, every idiot who runs gets a medal, even me!
I’m happy to report that I’ve not jogged but a few times since this run.
I’m not as bad as I was, but I’ve put on a couple of pounds and may actually be heavier than I was before I started training.
Kind of like this inspiring fellow, I feel pretty good about myself anyway.
My feet hurt like nobody’s business. I’ve gotten a steroid shot in one foot for some plantar fasciitis and inserts to take care of the other foot.
After two years, they finally sort of feel ok again, so why risk ruining that by running anymore?!
But, I do have this 13.1 sticker that I could put in my car window like so many other assholes have done, but I refuse to do so.
I don’t like stickers on my car, it’s a thing I guess.
Have you seen these?
They come in the bag you get after you register and BEFORE you have to run, so it’s possible that folks who’ve paid to run but have never actually run a half marathon are putting these stickers on their cars.
I carry mine with me in my car console so that when I see some skinny bitch or total stroke at a red light with the sticker on the back of their car, I honk my horn, lift my shirt so they can see my beer gut, wink, nod and show them my 13.1 sticker while giving them the ole’ thumbs up that indicates to them that hey, we’re both pretty awesome, right?!
I still use my queer headlight too.
I wear it while watching TV and eating snacks at night. It’s come in handy numerous times with helping me locate wayward Oreos or potato chips that have tried to escape under the couch or between the cushions. It also comes in handy when I get a late night urge to fire up the Weber and grill several pounds of red meat for a snack.
As for Todd and Margo, we’re still neighbors.
They’re only slightly more tolerant of me than they used to be, but I’m at least allowed on the driveway when the neighbors gather, so that’s something.
I know there’s something I can do to win their friendship and love.
It’s probably something obvious, that may or may not kill me, but I’ll try anything.
Yup, almost anything.