But since we’re on the subject, I should probably clarify from my last post that two weeks from Sunday is not my last marathon. Just my last time running Chicago. I’m guaranteed (so I understand) to run New York in November 2010. And as my dreams of running any marathon in under four hours have dried up more thoroughly than Maggie Gallagher’s inner beauty, so have my dreams of running Chicago and New York back-to-back.
Besides, I have completely lost interest in running marathons. But I really want to experience New York, so I’m going to spend one more summer training. And then I’m retiring from the sport. If a slow old guy who has no hope of ever finishing in the top half of any major marathon again can technically “retire.”
So: Chicago this year. New York next year. Then I wipe my ass with my running shoes and take up recreational Oreo gorging.
Actually, I already have a bit of a lack-of-control issue with Oreos. But I’m not ready to talk about that right now.
I can, however, list for you the reasons I’m all marathoned out:
1. It hurts. And the older I get, the more it hurts. And not in the motivating, I-can-be-bigger-than-this-pain kind of way.
2. It’s a second job. I already work well over 50 hours a week at my first job.
3. It’s a social-life killer. Which is one reason I set up this year’s marathon training group: so I’d have people to talk to and brunch with to counteract the fact that I went to bed at 10:00 every Friday night all summer. But we all went out for brunch a grand total of four or five times this year. Then we splintered into subgroups and nobody wanted to run together or socialize and pretty much every reason we were training together was lost. Poop.
4. It makes me shrink. There, I said it.
In case you hadn’t noticed from my ramblings on here, my aging-gay-male vanity has manifested itself in an unquenchable need to get huge. I pay shit-tons of money and get up at 5:45 most days of the week to get my ass kicked around by a no-bullshit, no-bodyfat, all-muscle trainer. I also pay shit-tons of money for supplements and undersized clothing. And while I’m slowly building up some mass, I take giant steps backward every time I run more than 10 miles. Which is maybe why my times are getting so much slower. I might try running forward this weekend to see if that helps.
Also! There’s this muscle god at my gym. He’s both my motivation and my intimidation. And my lustful crush, but that’s a post for a different kind of blog. And he always wears his headphones—the international symbol for “don’t talk to me while I’m busy getting bigger than you”—so I haven’t gotten more than a slight nod of acknowledgement out of him in the 14 months I’ve trained there.
Until this morning. We happened to walk out of the locker room at the same time for the first time ever, so I grabbed the opportunity to ask him about the half-marathon shirt he’d worn to work out in
It was like we were brothers. Who don’t make out.
And he said it so rationally and matter-of-factly that I realized I never again have to apologize for my size fixation. Not that I’ve ever really apologized for it, but I always try to be the first to call myself vain about it so nobody can feel all superior to me because they use their gym time to knit hats for kittens or feed mints to underprivileged models or some other act of heroic selflessness that trumps my never-ending obsession with the way I look in an elfin T-shirt.
So there you have it: I’m gonna be a slow, galumphing mess in my last Chicago Marathon and I’m just fine with that. And as soon as the strains and the sprains and the stress fractures heal, I’m gonna devote all my recreational energies to getting unapologetically huge. Until I start training for my real final marathon next summer, of course. But after that, watch out. Because I have a guy at the gym I need to intimidate back. And a couple more Republican marriages to destroy.