I don’t know how it happened, one minute I was emailing my friend Wheaties about our upcoming trip to Philly and the next I was committing myself to run a marathon with her in November. “With” should be translated to mean, we’ll both be running on the same continent. See, Wheaties has been a marathoner and triathlete for years. She runs, bikes, and swims — for fun! The only running I do is for the subway and I consider life sweet if I’m swimming in a good bottle of Pinot Noir by the end of the evening. As for bikes, I haven’t ridden one in years. Biking in NYC is out of the question unless you’re a courier. NYC couriers have balls of steel. It may make sitting on their bikes a bit uncomfortable but it also enables them to dart between buses and cars within an ass hair of death without batting an eye.
With all this in mind, the thought that once the race started I would actually be within shouting distance of Wheaties is laughable. But, the thought that I could actually train for and run a marathon by November appealed to me. As did the marathon location: Florence, Italy! Yes, the marathon is in Florence, Italy. If that’s not motivation to get off my ass then you really need to just stick a feeding tube down my throat and turn me over every two hours so that I don’t get bed sores.
On Saturday, I went to Barnes and Noble and got a great book on training for marathons. I then headed to Paragon Sporting Goods, the mecca for all things athletic in NYC. The crowds were insane and intimidating. All the customers seemed to know exactly what they were looking for and did not mind pushing me aside to get it. And then, a ray of light from heaven showed me the way. His name was Carlos. Carlos was fantastic! I told him my goal (26 miles through the beauty of Florence) and my current level of activity (pub crawls through Little Italy). After trying on at least eleven pairs of shoes, I finally settled on the white and blue Saucony Progrid Guide. They feel like air. Or at least as if my feet have wings. I am Mercury! If I don’t run the marathon, I can at least deliver flowers for FTD. Carlos gave me some running pointers and I was on my way. It was a gorgeous day and, on my way home as I strolled through the farmers market in Union Square smelling the flowers and avoiding the temptation of home baked goods, I felt that anything was possible — even running a marathon.
Later that evening, Mr. Dingo suggested that we go out for my last calorie-laden, trans-fat saturated, no holds barred meal. We went to Brother Jimmy’s. Yes, there are better places for BBQ in NYC but Brother Jimmy’s is located a few blocks away from the real culinary goal of the evening — Cold Stone Creamery. Brother Jimmy’s is a loud, crowded, twenty-something hang-out but, when the smorgasbord we ordered appeared, all the noise faded into the distance. It was like a romantic movie scene where the lovers spy each other and the focus is narrowed to their dreamy faces as everything around the edges gets all fuzzy and out of focus. It took me a few seconds to realize the Mr. Dingo was talking to me, “Dingo. Dingo! We’re supposed to share that appetizer platter!” Spoil sport. Take a look at this and tell me: is there enough for two people?!?
There was this weird fire thingy in the middle. I don’t know what it was for. Mr. Dingo suggested that it was placed there to prevent me from reaching over and taking his share of the food. Good idea, that.
I was full, distended tummy full, by the time we finished the appetizers. When the entrees came I made an attempt to eat, knowing that in a few days I would be looking back at this meal with longing. I also had to save room for Cold Stone’s Cake Batter Ice Cream. I made a valiant effort to eat but ended up with a rather large doggy bag to take home to Dingo Girl.
Walking to Cold Stone after that meal was painful. I felt like Violet Beauregarde after eating Willy Wonka’s Three-Course Dinner Gum. Just roll this ol’ blueberry down the street, Mr. Dingo! My tummy hurt. I think I got stretch marks from all the BBQ I ate. Cold Stone was delish but I couldn’t finish. My stretch marks got stretch marks. Yes, it was an exercise in gluttony but at least it was exercise, right?
I know that the next few months will test my determination, stamina, endurance, and Mr. Dingo. Wheaties is going to help me train via internet and I hope that, by the time we meet in Philly this May, I’ll be able to run a few miles with her. One of my biggest hurdles will be overcoming my mental quirks. I tend to take on too much but become frustrated when I just can’t seem to do everything at my top form, and then I grow discouraged and disappointed in myself. Oh boy, is it fun to live with me then! It’s like a constant state of PMS. Mr. Dingo, however, is a trooper. I am sure that his preparation for this Florence marathon will consist of lots of wine and whine — and I think you know who’s doing the latter.