F*ck you Nutella!
F*ck you Chardonnay!
F*ck you Brie!
F*ck you red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing!
Like the traitor it is, my stomach inevitable rumbles as I go through the litany of the unholy food assailants that have lead me to contemplate doing this bloody couch to 5K nonsense in the first place. Who the hell likes going running in the evening time anyway? It rumbles again, lamenting the lack of cheese laden carbs it’s had today.
For now, I’ve somehow become one of those sweaty joggers I used to cross eyes with in the park as we vied for position on the precious pavement. Me with the pram, the little dude and the dog, them with their sweaty breathlessness and dogged determination to run a straight line right through where we were walking. Oh now I’ve changed.
‘Bong! Start walking!’
Thank Christ! I tell myself, as I practically fall out of my run and slip into a much needed walk on the command of the female American voice. On these sweaty evenings, I’ve become a veritable Pavlov’s dog, trained to the chimes of the apps bongs that tell me when to run, when to walk and when I can finally cool down, go home and peel off my leggings while I count the hours to cheese. I’m on run 7 of 8 and I’m contemplating cheating this last run.
‘Bong! Start running!’
F*ck off bong, I think, but my body responds and I’m running again as the dulcet tones of Doja Cat tells me ‘I’m a bitch, I’m a boss, I’m a bitch and a boss and I shine like gloss,’ on repeat as I literally count the seconds until the next bong chimes in.
Come on, come on I think to myself. I can do this, I won the 400M interschool’s race once! I remind myself that I was also probably 12, hadn’t had two children in three years, neglected my own personal fitness for that entire time, nor eaten my own body weight in cheese the night before that particular race. But then it happens, I see two women up ahead on a power walk and all of a sudden something comes over me, maybe it’s the memories of my old victory, maybe it’s the smell of freshly cut grass, or maybe it’s Britney who’s now telling me to ‘Work Bitch!’ but for whatever reason that old competitive streak rears its head and I think yes, I’ll sprint past these two women! Yes, these two women who won’t even notice me and this imagined Olympic final I’ve now constructed in my head.
Before I can even list one of the 500 reasons why this is a bad idea, with myself, I’m off. I put my foot on the gas and go for it, every piece of flesh wobbling more than an 80s waterbed during an orgy. Sports bra my arse, I mutter and speaking of that particular part of my anatomy, it’s as if said arse has taken on a life of its own, jiggling with such juggernaut-esque speed, I’m afraid it might tip my balance completely and send me flying into the ditch.
Of course, in my mind I’m gliding on the pavement like Flo Jo, my hair flying in the wind behind me and my necklace banging in time to the beat of my elegant strides. My glaze hardens and eyebrows straighten as I reach the critical moment of passing out and put in every last drop of energy I have into the manoeuvre.
Yes! I pass them! I win my completely fabricated race and the women don’t even register my existence. It was worth it, I try to tell myself as I struggle for oxygen. Predictably, I’ve absolutely nothing left in the tank to keep going for the rest of the 60 or so seconds left of this bongs final run!
I contemplate stopping before the infernal bong. Who’d know? The women wouldn’t, the rest of the park goers wouldn’t, those hurling team members with the man buns doing drills in the field wouldn’t and I certainly wouldn’t care, would I? Nope not one bit, but you know who would care though? Britney that’s who! Yes she’s on again telling me to ‘Work Bitch’ and I comply like a mindless running zombie.
This has got to be the longest 60 seconds of my life, even my really awful stitch inducing contractions didn’t take this long to end. I look up and see the aforementioned man bun brigade to my left. If I can just make it to the cover of the trees beyond me I can collapse into a heap of sweat and no one will know. Somehow, as if I’m now defending that Olympic gold I just won in my fucked up imagination, I summon the strength to sprint the last few metres to the safety of the forest. I trundle past the young GAA team, quite sure I’m hypnotising them with the jiggling of my arse, traumatising them for life in the process.
‘Bong! Start walking!’
I collapse into a staggered walk, veering like a drunk on the path, legs like jelly, eyes watery, hair stuck to my head, until I make my way back to the car and sit there panting for a good ten minutes wondering how many muscles I’ve pulled from my complete stupidity?