By now you’ve probably started to model your life around this blog. That’s what I’m here for. Between my Grandfather and myself, we know pretty much everything there is to know, so relying on this blog when making big life decisions is a good thing for you to do. That’s what I’m here for. Ooops, already said that. Well you know what they say about repetition being the…
Let’s now turn our weary heads to look at something I’ve begun to notice: those little oval stickers on cars that say “13.2” or “26.4.” It’s a secret code between a secret society of fitness nuts that we, the slovenly, are not supposed to know. Except they really do want us to figure this out so we can ask them: “When did you run your last half-marathon?” or something like that. For some stupid reason these people put this magic number on their car or t-shirt and we are supposed to be clever enough to break their code and realize that 13.2 is how many miles are in a half-marathon. So what? Why didn’t they just put a sticker on their car that said “Ask me about how I ran my last half-marathon?” No, I’m supposed to play dumb and say: “Hey, What’s that 13.2 sticker for?”
First, yours truly has zero interest in your current jag of ego-stretching self-torture that you like to call fitness. Second, I know nothing about it. I don’t know or want to know anything about your shoes, your special running shorts, your iPhone running app, your running social network, your training regimen. Remember you are talking to someone who has zero interest already in spectator sports where they actually keep score, so watching, hearing, thinking about a little thing like running faster has no appeal; especially listening to your self-torture sagas, isn’t on today’s to-do list.
I used to try to run. Actually ran a few races but I found I hated it. I have some physical debilities which we won’t go into here that makes running a pretty painful and unrewarding experience anyway. Let’s call it a physical limitation. That got me thinking about exercise and physical fitness in general.
Exercise is always painful. It is always harder to do than not do, as Hamlet or Yoda would say. I mean what’s so bad about being lazy? Why are we so crazy about exercise? We take the idea of a pleasant walk hither and yon to some extreme painful sweating, pounding, breathing, agonizing speed obsession. There you have it. “I can run a Marathon just like some Greek messenger with a Post-it Note did a coupla thousand years ago.” Big deal! They didn’t have cell phones back then so this was pretty much the only form of speedy communication. Pick up the phone! Why do we imitate this poor sucker who probably had to do this or he wasn’t getting any dinner?
It makes me feel better…
What? You felt better while you were trying to come up that steep hill at 10 mph than you would have if you had been sitting with me having a few watching Spongebob Squarepants? I don’t think so. Oh you meant afterwards, like when you puke your gravy at the finish line and have to drink only Gatorade for two days straight to get rid of that headache and the trots. That feelin’ better. I tell you what, I feel a little winded when I get up to get another cold one from the fridge, so why don’t you put on those fancy shoes you just bought and get me a brew and then we’ll both be feelin’ a whole lot better.
So now we have established the universal rule that all exercise that’s going to be “good” for you is also going to be painful and boring while you are doing it.
Our next hurdle:
You’ll live longer…
Yeah, so you can torture yourself with more marathons. Here I introduce the science of the “life extension equation.” The principle is simple: exercise effort time (feelin’ bad time) has to be less than life extension time for exercise to be a net gain in life. So, say I run a marathon in four hours (what is a reasonable time? doesn’t matter just for example), if my life is extended by only four more hours I want my money back. See 4 hours of pain = four hours longer life is the game breaker. If I can’t at least get more life extension than time I’ve spent in exercise hell then I’m a loser.
Well this is easy, sure you’re gonna get more than four hours of life back for running that marathon (versus Spongebob + Beer). Now wait a minute. The devil is in the details. How do we define the feelin’ bad time, the torture time? Is it only the actual exercise time, or is it something else? Maybe we should include the training time, or the warmup time, or the time it took to drive, fly, bike to the event. But hey, those were all “feel good time” life wasters, weren’t they. Yeah sure. But were they as good as they could have been? (Spongebob + Beer) To be fair you’ve gotta include all the time you spent jogging, preparing, training, shopping, etc. for the marathon as bad feelin’ time. No way were they as fun as Spongebob+Beer time.
I’m pretty sure when you total it all up you would have been better off in the old life extension equation spending your time with me watching Spongebob and drinkin’ beer.
So I don’t run, I don’t go to any gym, I don’t own any exercise equipment (=clothes racks). When I go for a walk it’s to get somewhere, or listen to the tweet tweets (Mother Nature), or an excuse to listen to an audiobook or some loud music my family hates. I don’t wanna live longer if it includes some self flagellation ritual I have to exchange daily for my life to be extended.
Because I figure when I go there are going to be three options: nada, Spongebob+Beer, or a Treadmill machine and I won’t get to pick when the so-called inevitable comes at whatever time of life. I’ll know when I get there if I’ve been good.