I ran a spooky 5K race through a cemetery on Sunday, which not surprisingly, reminded me that I haven’t exercised since before Halloween.
(For the record, I wasn’t stepping on plots or anything. It was a New Orleans cemetery, so all the tombstones were above ground and very old and fancy. Some were bigger than the size of my bedroom in my apartment, those lucky bastards. Just kidding.)
I wasn’t able to read the tombstones as I ran past them, of course, because I was too busy trying to stay alive myself, huffing and puffing and trying to ignore the fact that my socks were WAY TOO THIN and rubbed the instep of my foot in a terribly obnoxious way.
Are people buried with socks on? I wondered.
We ran loops around the brick path, and I saw the Mayor running about 50 feet in front of me. He didn’t seem to be struggling with the run at all. (He must have had normal socks on.)
If the mayor died, where would HE be buried? I wondered. I bet CNN would cover it.
The first mile was easy because I was all adrenaline-filled about the run and distracted looking at my surroundings and the backs of people’s T-shirts.
I was also busy making sure I didn’t trip on the brick path because that’s definitely something that would happen to me.
I then thought how terribly ironic it would be to fall and fatally hit my head right next to all these tombs.
Would that automatically allow me to be buried in the cemetery? I thought. Because some of these tombs look really roomy.
Mile 2 was the worst. Breathing became harder, my feet became heavier and have you ever had to burp during a run? It’s…awkward.
It was also that time when I realized that about half of the songs I added onto my MP3 player the night before weren’t as motivating as when I was jamming to them on the couch, ahem, Eminem.
Then my face got really, really hot and red and it reminded me of high school cross country meets where I used to wonder why I signed up for hell every Saturday morning.
Feeling desperate in the middle of mile two, I tried to motivate myself by breaking down my 10-minute pace into number of songs.
Only three more songs until the end of the race! I told myself between panting (and burping.)
Wait…are songs three minutes long apiece?? I was starting to panic. Does 3 x 3 = ten? I don’t think I can run further than three songs worth!!
During a two-second silence between songs I thought about walking, just for a second, and then shouted to myself internally, NO! YOU ONLY HAVE TWO MORE SONG LEGNTHS LEFT! THE TIME IT TAKES TO BOIL A POT OF WATER FOR KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE! mmmmm mac and cheese...
I then noticed that the mayor wasn’t slowing down, he was actually running faster and faster.
What's he thinking about? I wondered. “What music is HE listening to? I envisioned a Susan Boyle album.
Against my leg’s wishes, I didn't walk at all, and followed the pace of a muscley girl with HUGE calves in front of me who was wearing a red, white and blue striped Lycra outfit.
I then remembered that one year my roommate was an American flag for Halloween. Cheapest costume ever, I thought.
Then I looked around at the tombs.
I wonder if anyone buried here was a solider.
Now, I’ve made the mistake before that just because I see the finish line doesn’t mean I should sprint towards it, because it’s usually much further away then I expect, and I burn out and let everybody my cross country coach down.
And I bet the newspaper is here to take pictures! I thought, and then got panicky.
I’ve seen pictures of myself at plenty of finish lines, and half my face looks droopy, like a stroke patient.
Smile dammit! I told myself as I saw people on the sidelines clapping and cheering and TAKING MY PICTURE as I approached the finish line. Look like you’re not about to keel over! You’re having fun!! Weeeee!!!
I almost punched somebody when I thought I crossed the finish line, but I had another 20 yards to go, SURPRISE! and I awkwardly sped up and then almost tripped.
I bee-lined for a tree and laid down onto my back under it, which my cross-country coach told me never to do.
Blood flow, schmlood flow! I can't move!
My throat hurt, my feet hurt, my eyes hurt. I was immediately uninterested in the pots of jambalaya and the crawfish bisque at the after-party going on around me.
The grass was itching the back of my arms and legs, but didn’t have energy to do anything about it.
The music from the band was clashing with The Who’s “Baba O’Reily Teenage Wasteland” still playing in my earbuds.
I wonder how long I’d have to lie here motionless before someone came over to see if I was OK? I thought. I wonder if anyone has sunglasses I could borrow.
How cool would it be to be buried with sunglasses!
When my friends finally passed the finish line (slow and steady doesn’t ALWAYS win the race) it took literally all I had to stand up and walk around the parking lot.
I ate three bites of some jambalaya and a bag of popcorn.
The daiquiri screwdrivers were another story.
I would have been SO popular during cross-country meets with these things! I thought.
After ten minutes, I didn’t feel like dying anymore, although I looked and smelled like it.
I went home, showered and laid down in bed still wrapped in a towel, closed my eyes and felt like I could sleep for 100 years.
This is how Egyptians were buried in the pyramids! I thought. A mummy! That's a good Halloween costume, too…