At the 3/4 mile marker, I have become ridiculously certain that a venomous snake has somehow managed to latch on to my legs in mid-stride and sink its fang into both shins. There is burning, a lot of burning. It's like the wicked burn of flesh waking from a bad case of frostbite; it's like an acid slushee compress. My shins and calves are on fire, the muscles and tendons wound tight, and I'm thinking about limping back to the car and wondering why I didn't buy that $2.00 foam cooler and a six pack of anything at the Wal-Mart I passed on the way to the park. It depresses me, of course, because I've been running for months and I still struggle to get past two miles without walking. It also occurs to me that most fitness programs are made for fit people.
A 300 pound man or woman doing aerobics is to exercise programs what a wheel bound, skeletal shell of a man or woman drawing on a cigarette through the tracheal ring in their throat is to smoking: it's compelling and horrific, and it doesn't dissuade anyone from anything.
So, for all you people who cannot put the cookie down, or the lasagna, or the cigarettes, or the booze, this first step in my new custom made jogging program is just for you.
This is a good time to ice down the beer, chill the wine or vodka, fill up the flask, get the pack of ciggies squared away in a pocket and walk around like you know what you're doing. You should be stretching. I find it best to keep my shades on and to jog in a public park used by many attractive women. There is nothing better than putting your leg up and peering over at the soft curve of the ass of the goddess next to you. Some of this is about jockeying for position. There is some work involved, but once you have your spot, you can "stretch" for a long time while the girl in the tight shorts kisses her knee and makes you appreciate the astonishing beauty of nature. Wear loose pants.
Start with Menthol lights: I know, a little girly, but they're refreshing and light up your mouth and give you just the little kick you need.
Try a Zinfandel / Rose or other "fruity" wine: or Light (aka "Lite" beer): Again, you want something that won't weigh you down but will get your buzz started. This is the warm up, after all, and not the time to take an industrial strength can opener to a keg.
You want to park yourself behind one of those women whose ass you admired during the warm-up. This will provide a much needed distraction and delay the first wave of nausea and dizziness. If she gets too far ahead of you or if you lose her (and you will), relax. Another woman with another fit and delicious ass will be around soon. Conserve your strength, slow to a walk if necessary. Do NOT by hypnotized by the gelatinous motions of the assess and backfats of the women (or men) who are in as equally bad shape you. Stay ahead of them.
Regular Marlboro's or other Regular Brand: You'll want to start on something moderate here. It's been a 1/4 mile, you should reward yourself. Stay away from "Low Tar" the same way you stay away from fat free deserts. They're not worth your time. If they ever come up with "Lite" or "Low-Tar" bullets, you can be certain some damned fool will buy them, but that fool doesn't have to be you.
Regular Beer / Merlot / Pinot Noir, etc.: This is the time to indulge a little. You've made it much farther than 1/4 mile. You've wrenched yourself out of bed, pried yourself into some kind of jogging outfit, driven a car, and now you're EXERCISING! Wow. Be impressed with yourself. Be confident. Save your puke for the 1/2 mile mark.
Note: Do NOT puke up everything. Save some for later. You'll be puking every 1/4 mile and the last thing you want to do is get to the 1 mile marker and have nothing left but dry heaves.
Open a new pack, but keep it regular. You still have a ways to go.
Open another bottle, pour another glass or sip from your flask. It's time to start introducing a little something harder: whiskey, vodka is ideal because it looks like water and has less of a smell which means less of a chance of you being mistaken for a homeless person. The trick here is to make sure you're thoroughly buzzed, because by now your body will be revolting (it might have been revolting to start with, but who am I to judge?). You want to slip yourself into a nice easy alcoholic numbness without becoming sloppy, weepy or passey outey.
By this point you will be walking, or rather, limping, sweating profusely, coughing up wads of substances that must be synthetic because they contain colors that have not been seen in nature before, and emitting a general wheeze. Relax. This is normal. You might take a breather on a bench, which is a good time and place to have another drink and cig and maybe a light snack (see recommendations). Do NOT lay down. The last thing you want is to fall asleep and wake up in the dark with a paramedic slipping you the tongue "accidentally". Also, your wallet tends to walk away when you nap in public (trust me on this).
It's time to whip out the Camels Unfiltered. Due to the wheezing, coughing and the general diminished capacity of your body to draw in air, you'll be dizzy and sick. While you're low on oxygen anyway, why not give yourself a nice relaxing buzz with the "prime rib" of cigarettes? You're doing a lot more than walking a mile for them, after all.
Skip the beer unless you're carrying some brown ale. Guinness, Newcastle Brown, Samuel's, etc. Also, if you're doing wine, try to go with something that will get you down the road to numbing intoxication quicker like a nice port. Preferred choice, of course, is whiskey with a vodka back or possibly a few thimbles full of Everclear. You've only got 1/4 mile left. The only way to get there is if your body is moving but your mind is unconscious.
As for the snack, might I suggest something sweet and light and loaded with sugar, say . . . Krispy Kreme?
By now you smell like a slaughterhouse because the profuse sweat is shaking loose tidbits of grime that not even the best shower head in the world could penetrate under the flab, rolls and flesh flaps you call a body. After the run, and puking, you'll be noticeably hungry, but due to your unnatural stench, consider take out (or as they say in the U.K. "Take Away").
Cigs don't matter, because no matter which you choose, you'll be sucking them from tip to tip in seconds flat. Since you're replacing oxygen with pure nicotine, you'll notice a kind of dazed fog surrounding you. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Liqueurs are lovely at this point. Sweet, powerful and tasteless, because you're so plastered you not only can't taste anything (but cigarrette ash), you also can't seem to get your hand out of your pocket. When you come to you'll discover it was because you had your hand wrapped around your car keys and couldn't remove your fist.
Meat. You'll need meat. Lots of meat. Hamburger, meatloaf, steaks, and you'll want to replace those carbs you just used up. Fries, baked potatoes. Steer clear of salads as they will not satisfy you in the long run, and cause you to show up at the local Taco Bell begging them to squirt the contents of the Seven Layer Burrito directly into your mouth from their happy little guacamole / sour cream / refried bean caulking guns.
As with all exercise plans, when beginning anew always consult with your physician. Or if you don't like the way he yells at you, go to a fortune teller. At least they will take your money with a smile.
Aaron Diaz Hoal
(originally published 10/30/08)