by ANASTASIA GLUSHKO
I am attempting to become a runner. I have always fancied being one. I have visions in my mind of the runner me: transformed in a Jennifer Aniston-type figure, enjoying post-run fruit salads with yoghurt (evidently, my dairy intolerance disappears) in cafes with my fellow runner girlfriends, all of us wearing inexplicably crisp white t-shirts and sporting thighs so taut, they cause passers-by to howl in jealous agony.
Before this year, I had never run. Not unlike the peoples of East Africa who, television leads me to believe, are physiologically predisposed to being good at running, my body has been genetically engineered for sitting down. I have no calves, and whilst reliably comfortable, my bottom is not made of what sports scientists would associate with the tough stuff. According to a True Age test I once undertook at the gym, I have the lung capacity of a 180-year-old (true story, it was off the crap charts).
Plus, I have always been profoundly distrustful of healthy outgoing types. After my partner, Ryan, ran a marathon with two weeks’ training last year, I kept a knife under my pillow for months. When healthy outgoing types have smugged on about how physical exercise gave them an endorphin rush, I felt like coughing blood in their eyes.
On the occasions I have tried, the internal conversation with my body has gone a little something like this:
Body: “Well, this is fairly uncomfortable. Perhaps we should set ourselves a fitness goal and then set out to achieve it. People on Biggest Loser seem to bang on about how that makes it both easier and enjoyable.”
Brain: “That is both ridiculous and inane. We do not care about fitness goals. If we did, we would already be fit. Besides, 80% of us is composed of biscuit. A lofty goal for us would be to run for five minutes without vomiting. And then what? We are still pretty crap by most people’s standards. Let’s stick to the things we do well: ABC watching, opinion-having and napping.”
Body: “Yeah, alright. I feel like chips anyway.”
But I have finally found my motivation to become a runner, and her name is vanity. It turns out that running is surprisingly efficient at minimising the appearance of wobbly bits – even more efficient than fake tan! A revelation. So, without even being chased, I now run. For 30 minutes most mornings (unless it is raining – who am I, Rocky?), I have been waddling dynamically around our local area using nothing but my legs.