Friday, July 17, 2015

What Was the Point Again?

I know that I’ve been talking about working out and running a lot lately on here and on my Facebook page, and I know that can get annoying.

Trust me, I know.

My husband tells me about it all the time.

“Whose house are we going to again?” he asked once when I'd lured him to a get-together with the promise of all the beer he wanted to drink because I would forgo my own drinks and drive us home.

“Oh, Christine and Doug’s,” I answered nonchalantly, hoping he wouldn’t press the issue.


“Oh, shit,” he groaned, shooting me a dirty look because I’d tricked him with all the drink all you want; I’ll drive! talk.  “Because that’s what I want to do all night is sit around and listen to you running nerds talk about your latest half marathon.  You better have another cooler packed somewhere, because I only brought a 12-pack, and I’m going to need to knock back about 6 more in order to stomach it all.”

I deftly pulled into one of the drive-thru liquor stores in town, ordered a 6-pack of Guinness, and we were on our way. 

My husband stared out the window for a moment, temporarily pacified by the fact that I’d gotten him the good stuff. But then he turned to look at me again.

“Seriously, do you know how pretentious you guys sound when you get together?  With your flaring nostrils and nasally voices? When was YOUR last haaaaaaaaalf?” he mimicked, eyelids fluttering in a look that I’m pretty sure I’ve never used in my whole life when talking about running or anything else.  “I ran negative splits in MY last one.”

“Okay, stop right there!” I interrupted him, giggling.  “First off, not one of my friends has whatever British accent you just sprouted to make fun of us.  And secondly, I have never used the term negative splits—probably because I don’t even know what it means.  Where did you hear that?”

My husband smiled.  “You left a pile of Runner’s World magazines on the back of the shitter.  I got bored the other day when I was in there for a while.”

In my defense, the Runner’s World magazines were given to me by a friend whose husband ordered them for her and then she never read them.

The reason I bring all of this up is that I wanted to talk about running just one more time this week.  Because I was at the in-laws’ house last weekend, and running there…well, let’s just say it’s an interesting experience.

My mother-in-law fervently believes that running and writing—two of my absolute favorite things to do in the world—are humongous wastes of time.  And by God, don’t you even think about letting her catch you READING A BOOK. It disgusts her.

“You and those—books!” she spat last weekend when she caught me red-handed on the couch with a beachy Elin Hilderbrand.  “Why don’t you go outside and smoke a cigarette?  At least then you’d be doing something.”

Anyway, she feels the same way about running, although my husband has tried to make her understand.  “It’s her stress relief, Mom,” he’ll tell her.

We love telling the story about the morning a couple of years ago when I was in a bad mood.  I was walking around yelling at everyone, grimacing at babies and kicking kittens.  Okay, there weren’t any babies or kittens around, but if there HAD been, I totally would have grimaced and kicked, respectively. 

Finally, my husband looked at me and said, “Holy SHIT you are being a raging bitch.  Please go for a run.”

I stopped and looked at him, eyes wide.  “Yeah?” I said.  “You’ll watch the boys?”

“Yes. Please—go run.”

I’m pretty sure I single-handedly saved our marriage by cranking out those 5 miles and coming back a new woman that day.  I should be a marriage counselor.  I’d be all, “Get your grumpy, combative asses on the treadmill and call me in the morning.” 

So last week, when I was at my in-laws’ house for an extended visit, I laced up my running shoes at about 8 PM.  The humidity had been fierce all day, making the already-hot high of 98 feel like 104. I knew that, barring the early-morning hours in which I had chosen to sleep in, 8 PM was the best time to go if I wanted to get a run in—and I did.

I slipped out the door quietly after nodding at my husband, who put his finger to his lips and motioned for me to go. He was in on my plan; maybe I could get a quick run in and be back before my mother-in-law had time to notice my absence and berate me when she figured out the reason for it.

During that run, I swallowed 7 bugs (including one that was ingested via my unnaturally large nasal cavity); I got one bug in my eye; I almost ran directly into a deer that was calmly watching me from the middle of the trail; and I had to cut it down to 3.3 miles because that damned humidity was making me feel like I was going to slip in a puddle of my own sweat, bump my head on the rocky trail, and pass out.

HOWEVER, I also remembered to douse myself liberally with Off! (Deep Woods, mothas) so I didn’t get bitten once; I managed to not get killed and eaten by a coyote; and, partly because of that last one, I witnessed the beginnings of a solitary sunset that made it feel as though God Himself was speaking just to me.

So I was feeling good when I got back to the in-laws’ house.  I was feeling really good. So good, in fact, that I allowed myself a slight lapse in judgment as I took 3 seconds to turn on the living room’s ceiling fan and lie on my back, eyes closed, feet flat on the floor, knees bent up, arms splayed around me.

That’s what you get for reveling in your accomplishments, folks.  Those goddamned endorphins get me into trouble every single time.

Because my bratty younger sister-in-law had apparently been just around the corner in the kitchen, eating a rice krispie treat.  How the hell had I missed that?

“MO-OM!” I heard her bellow.  My eyes snapped open.

“MO-OM!” she yelled again.  “Shay just went for a run and now she’s all sweaty and she’s lying on your clean carpet!!!  MO-OM!!!”

I heard my mother-in-law scurry into the room.  Somewhere in all of the scuffle, my husband appeared in the kitchen. It’s an open-concept house, so he was able to watch, an amused expression on his face, as the scene unfolded before him.

“SHAY!” my mother-in-law barked.  “You are sweating all over the place—"

“Even her crotch is sweaty,” my sister-in-law supplied gleefully between bites of her rice krispie.

“Eww!” my mother-in-law shouted.  “Stand up! Get off of my floor with your sweaty running body.  STAND UP!”

My husband’s easy smile had gotten a little bit bigger, and I knew he was trying to hold in his laughter. I couldn’t blame him.  The whole thing was ridiculous, but I was already in it, so it’s not like I could just…get out of it. Not without making a point, at least.

I rolled up to a sitting position so that I was no longer lying on the floor, but I couldn’t get all the way up or else they’d won.

“This whole goddamned family needs therapy!” I shouted back at them.  I could feel that I was all red-faced, but I wasn’t sure if it was from the run or from the emotions of the argument.  “Therapy to figure out how to stop being assholes!” I clarified, just to make sure they understood.

I saw my mother-in-law’s lips twitch as if she, too, were trying to hold back a laugh, and I felt like my argument on therapy and assholes would have been taken a lot more seriously if I could've been saying it from a standing position—but I couldn’t.  I simply couldn’t. 

Because you guys, I’m three years old and I was going to out-stubborn them by keeping my sweaty ass on the floor just because THEY HAD TOLD ME NOT TO. 

I was already mad at myself for making a concession by sitting up halfway.

In the end, my mother- and sister-in-law walked outside to the porch to share a ciggie, shaking their heads and clucking the whole way.  I lay back down on that goddamned floor and vowed to myself that I’d stay there as long as I possibly could in order to make my point crystal clear. 

To be honest, I kind of forgot what my point even was, but I do know that I lay there for so long that my back started to hurt and it kind of felt like my muscles were going to atrophy.

At one point, my husband walked by and gave me a little nudge with his foot.  By this time, I was shivering, as the cold air conditioner had turned the sweat on my clothes into frost, and so they were just kind of hanging there on me like sheets of light snow. I felt like Audrey during the scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where they pick out the family Christmas tree.
“Babe,” my husband said.  “The sweat has dried into salty streaks all down your face.  Don’t you think you’ve made your point?”

“Can you get bedsores from a floor?” I asked.  “Because I think I have them.”

When I felt that the time was right (read:  After my husband had wrapped me in a blanket and the shaking had stopped), I got up from my spot on the floor, took a warm shower, massaged my frostbitten toes, and joined my sister- and mother-in-law outside for a beer and a ciggie. 

I brought my book along, too, because I wasn’t sure how well I had made my first point and I wanted a do-over.

All in all, I’d say it was a successful run.


  1. Hilarious and you are wicked! I'm addicted to Zumba and I know my incessant talk about it drives everyone else nuts, too, so I understand where you're coming from. The days I get into the most trouble with my hubs is when I go to the gym TWICE in one day just to do the morning Zumba and the night Zumba classes, hahaha!

  2. You can talk about running all you want; just don't make me go with you! And bugs are great lean protein, by the way.