“Training.”

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I’ve been “training for a marathon”.

That phrase is thusly punctuated, because it is what I have been telling everyone, which is obviously quite different from what I’ve actually been doing. (And so widens the perennial gap between what one wants to be and what one is.)

This is not a new problem. I’ve always had a like-dislike relationship with exercise. Yes that’s right – my feelings are not love-hate because I’ve never exactly loved it, nor have I actively hated it. Instead, they run the narrow spectrum between “This is sucky, I wish I was lying on my bed” and “This is not terrible, I guess, maybe.”

In my almost life-long endeavour to get myself into some sort of regular exercise regime, I have suffered through two years of women’s rugby, sat through 1.5 hour bus journeys to windsurf, busted my knee with marathon running, tore a hole in my wallet with numerous gym memberships, yoga and pilates packages, and recently, purchased an extremely ill-advised 50 sessions of personal training. All of these ambitions have crashed and burned. Or at least, they have fizzled out and died in a series of unmarked graves.

A few weeks ago, I decided to revisit the running with a comeback marathon. I set myself a modest goal: To locomote across the finish line on my own two legs. Even so, it has been a wretched struggle that countless google searches on “How to motivate yourself to go running” have been unable to resolve. It doesn’t help that family and friends think I am barking mad for wanting to do this. (“This” meaning paying $88 and waking up at 4.30am to run a marathon. Somehow they remain unconvinced even after I tell them I’m getting two free T-shirts out of this.)

I have, however, received support from unexpected quarters. The kitties are delighted with my sad sporting endeavours. When I get back from my infrequent runs and collapse in a smelly heap on the floor, my salty unfit legs attract a symphony of eager raspy tongues. I kick them away weakly, but they always return; it is as futile as shooing flies from exposed meat. So I just lie still, heave pitifully and alternate between wondering why I have paid so much money to torture myself, and whether my running is giving my cats future kidney problems.

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