4 Things You Only Learn from Exercise if You're in Bad Shape

I decided to start running recently. Well, I decided back in mid-December or so -- I just didn't get around to actually doing it until much more recently. Whatever. New year, same me. Besides, my decision to start running was not in any way a New Year's resolution thing, because I'm a "give up lent for lent" type of gal, though I hate myself a little bit for phrasing it that way.

No, my reasoning for running is way stupider -- I just want to see how terrible I am at it. The last time I tried to start running, I made it two blocks before delicate smoker's lungs and the memory of a ninth-grade gym class C- forced me to sit on a curb and hyperventilate while wishing I could use Uber to summon an ambulance.

But, as they say, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again like a year later with the explicit goal of confirming you're still awful at it. Here's what I learned ...

#4. Preparation Is Mandatory

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On the day I actually started running, I'd had no intention of doing it when I went to sleep the previous night. It's just that I woke up two hours before my alarm and figured, "Hey, I've been talking about doing this for about two weeks so, fuck, maybe I should get on it."

It felt like a good decision at the time, but I've since come to think that a mixture of grogginess, sleep deprivation, and still being a little last-night-drunk might have been clouding my judgment a bit. I had picked up a bunch of extra shifts at work that week, so my sleep schedule was mostly just a clip of people laughing at me while I took shots of sugar-free Red Bull right through my eyes like old people on CNN think the youths are into these days.

So there's that. There was also the slight problem that it's January on the East Coast, so it's 23 degrees and there's ice on the ground and what the fuck do I wear for that? I mean, besides my high school gym sneakers that I dug out of a box in my mom's basement specifically for this column.


Good enough!

A quick Google search was like, "Wear waterproof clothing," which I snorted at, because I don't even own a windbreaker, much less fucking track pants. I put on sweatpants and, because I think I'm just fucking hilarious, a sweatshirt that says "2 lazy 4 life" and has a dude eating cheese puffs on it.


I wore the same thing to work later.

It should go without saying that, no matter how this adventure turned out for me, it's probably in your best interest to be slightly more prepared if you decide to start running. Consult your "there's no bad weather, only bad clothing" uncle for advice, because I swear to fuck, everyone has one. Maybe mosey on over to one of those sports-based stores the smokers never shop at. Or just run in your sweatpants. Honestly, who cares?

#3. The First Few Days Are the Worst

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Part of me knew that this entire idea was stupid, and I'm sure I'll get plenty of commenters scoffing at my unpreparedness, but, luckily, I am a part-time spokesperson for the phrase "What were you thinking?!" so I decided everything was totally chill and embarked on my first run in over a year anyway.

I made it six blocks and then walked home.

Studio-Annika/iStock/Getty Images
OK, maybe walked is being generous.

On the second day, my roommate asked if she could come, because, really, if I can do it, probably anyone who can move on their own volition can do it too.

As we were getting ready in the kitchen, her assuring me that I am in better shape and me assuring her the opposite, she jokingly asked if I wanted to take a shot beforehand. We laughed.

We took shots.

We ran for 10 minutes and walked home to make margaritas.

Despite running a sum total that was less than the amount of time it takes to watch a sitcom episode, my body still freaked the fuck out after those first two days, because any movement beyond sullenly commuting to and from my shitty day jobs is enough to send it directly into shock. My body was stiff, my lungs and my legs were Real Housewives wine-induced fighting about who got to complain more.

Bravo
Not Beverly Hills-style, either. Atlanta.

It sucked. Suuuuucked.

Day 3 wasn't a whole lot better. It had snowed recently, and because I live in D.C., where people are still super fucking caveman about snow and forgo putting salt down to just sit in their cars and angrily scream, "Snow!?!?!" at traffic, I slipped and fell on black ice about .2 seconds into my run.

On the fourth day, I sat down on a curb and cried.

It got easier after the first week, though. I mean, I still sucked (and continue to suck) but in a more cheerful, less "I work at Hot Topic" way.

Also, I learned something surprising ...

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