By: Julz Pulley

Although I have been running for a while, there’s precious li9le that I am sure of. Back in May, I ran into a friend that I had not seen for months. While catching up, she told me that she was training for a 5K and let me know that she would appreciate my support in the way of a poster and cheering her on. This entailed creating said poster and meeting her at Butt Crack o’ Dawn, on a Saturday morning. I was more than happy to oblige. As the race progressed, I could not help but be drawn in by the effusive support that strangers eagerly gave to participants. As folks crossed the finish line on their own steam or with a tow (a compatriot grabs you just before your face breaks your fall), sheer strangers, as well as families & friends, heartily cheered them on. It occurred to me like a jolt, a proclamation from a burning bush, if you will: I Will Do a 5K. If you know me any, at all, you would know how ridiculous this statement is. Well, perhaps “ridiculous” is not the proper term; let’s say ludicrous.

You see, I never have been able to run for more than a minute without feeling like I was wearing knee-highs doused in gasoline & yes, set ablaze. Not one to wait for the scent of charring flesh, I’d throw in the towel, resign to a brisk walk, & ultimately a soul-satisfying and abrupt halt. This time, I vowed, was going to be different. I am using a popular app, rhymes with touch-to-5K, and despite the agony of very punctual, incendiary calves, am meeting with much success! That success reminds me that this is part of doing my best for myself. But, I have to let you know that I’ve been registering complaints from various of my body parts.

For instance, there is a quarrel between my breasts & my gut (who, due to the shrinkage, now is demanding to be called the diminutive “Tummy” or, “the artist formerly known as gut”). Well, Tummy gripes about being double-teamed. My breasts feel betrayed, for having lost their platform, of sorts. I can appreciate both (three?) of their points of view. Once, I tried to chime in on how expensive a really supportive bra was, not to mention, a sports bra. I was told to pipe down, or else. Well, I did not pipe down & somehow the very next jog resulted in a black eye, when one of “the girls” managed to jostle out of captivity. I’ve remained piped down since. Even now, I know they are watching me, as I type. So, I will remain circumspect.

Running Confuses Me While I am talking about conformity, have you ever wondered what some women are thinking when they leave the house, for exercise? I have seen some crimes against the female form that baffle me. For instance, what are women who jog thinking, when they will not invest in underwear that keeps their members from springing out, up & over to pat themselves on the back? I really want to ask them, “Don’t you think all the jostling will result in a malformation, at the least, or a concussion at the worst?” I would have asked the few that I saw, if I ever could have caught up with them. At that same 5K, I saw a woman who showed more cleavage than the average pin-up calendar. She made a good time, too.

But, if she is honest with herself, she has to attribute her success to her, um, companions. After all, Newton’s very first law states that a body in motion stays in motion. When I saw her, I mean them crossing the finish line, I envisioned her at the starting line, possibly pulsing her thorax back and forth, as a yo-yo, to gain inertia. Her breast gave her a tow. Purely, speculation – I could be wrong. But, I doubt it. Seriously! Another thing I think about is hygienic protocol. Who are the women who shower before working out? Who are you and, more importantly, WHY? Why would you waste your smell goods? Frankly, if you smell April-fresh, a.er you have worked out, well, you’re just not doing it right. If the objective is to work up a sweat, funk comes with all of that. Just as with good music, in exercise, there is pride in the funk.

Furthermore, ecologically, how is taking a shower before you work out green? I hope you’re not likely to forgo a shower post-workout, if you shower pre-workout. Are you? This is a matter for the EPA. I mean, who are you to thwart the very noble efforts of the EPA? I want to know who you are. And, I want to know Why. But, most importantly, I want to apologize. I am sorry, deeply sorry, to those of you who are unlucky enough to get caught in my post-workout wake. I know it can’t be pleasant in and of itself. You get up early, apply deodorant, talcum powder, maybe even do your hair & to encounter me – Me, who in one whiff can damn to heck

all your feminine wiles. In just one involuntary whiff, you wilt like a cartoon flower. My olfactory offense, in one whiff, neutralizes, nay, negates your deodorant, your powder, and likely your coif. I imagine us accidentally touching and your carefully placed falsies giving up the ghost and peeling away from your lids, forming sad little commas on your cheekbones. I hear that this will pass that as I continue to work out, the efforts will push toxins out of my pores, and eventually, I will cease to get funky. *insert sarcastic emoticon* Not getting funky, during a workout, is a lie. I know it is. I knew it was even as the messenger was giving the message. I did not pull her onto the carpet, because right on the heels of that lie came a doozy, a doozy even doozier than the funk one. Ready? My running buddy, the 5K chick, seeing my face in a prolonged grimace that usually indicated severe discomfort, bordering on paralysis said … the burning in the calves would become a feeling … that I would crave. I was offended unto violence. I was offended to the point that I wanted to sock her in her mouth. I literally wanted to pummel her with a sweaty sneaker. I think I would have, too, if I had the strength. Recall, I was in agony, when she chose to violently assault my intelligence with blatant falsehoods. Why didn’t I hit her? Well, it was not because I thought violence was wrong. In some instances, only violence sufficiently can answer an affront. I did not care that she was a full head shorter than me & that it would be perceived as an uneven match.

Nor did I have any scruples over ruining a great friendship. I cared that I would be unable to make my case, after exerting the last bit of my precious strength and breath. By my self-assessment, if I had enough breath, after beating her, to make my case, the authorities would see my side, I’m sure – I mean who takes advantage of someone in distress? Someone in need of a beating that’s who! Oh boy, if I knew that I could give her what for, oh buddy. She does not know how close she came. What is it about any real physical exertion that makes you forget you love someone?

Then, there also was the possibility that she could win the contest, being in better physical shape than me. Being shorter than me, I bet if she answered me with a punched to the gut, pardon me, Tummy, I bet my “Tummy” would hurt on purpose, just to spite me. Yeah, that could be the real reason. Which is it? I am pretty sure it is the former. Further vexing is make-up. What is with the full face of make-up? Again, Why? Is your make-up so cheap or plentiful that having it converge into your clavicle not of real concern? Or, how can you work out and not give in to the very real urge to wipe sweat from your brow? “Work out pretty” baffles me just as much as “sleep pretty” (getting a hairstyle that condemns you to sleeping upright for weeks at a time, solely for style preservation). If I am going to go to the effort of working out, make-up is the last thing on my mind. First of all, it has been decades since I have worn face powder/ foundation. However, if I did wear make-up, what with all the grimacing, pursed and dehydrated lips, there is not a scintilla of doubt that I would look like The Joker, on a bad day. And, let’s not even imagine the vertical contributions that my mascara would make to this masterpiece.

I more so would look like a deranged carny. I can accomplish this without wasting make-up, thank you very much. Frankly, don’t you feel silly either returning home with perfect make-up or, having it coalesce in the dimple in your neck? Really, is it just me? Additionally, I am concerned that if I fall out, the EMT will be peeved if I get makeup all over her nice smelling uniform. With my luck, I will be her first emergency of the day, after she has gotten up early, showered, put on her facial regalia, sprayed her smell goods and done her work out. Then, she has to aOend to what must be some smelly derelict. Sure she will forgive the perfunctory and aggression. It’s the funk and clown make-up that may conflict with her own goal of doing her best for herself, that may discourage her from doing her very best for me.