I tried to run today. I really did. But when I got to the top of Cherry Hill after trudging the incline as quickly as possible to warm up, I forgot how to breathe. As I moved along the road and regained my composure, I considered picking up my feet into a jog, but there were four horses standing very close to the road and I could tell they were snickering at me. I couldn’t lose face in front of the neighborhood livestock so instead of jogging, I started pumping my arms quickly to get my heart rate up. That’s when the music section of my iPhone started malfunctioning. I had been grooving along to Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” when suddenly Paul Anka’s cover of Van Halen’s “Jump” kicked on (if you are not familiar with Paul Anka’s collection of rock song covers, you are missing out on some serious cool-cat music). These songs aren’t even on the same playlist so I had no idea how this shift occurred.
As I continued to amble and lurch along while simultaneously sliding my finger along the phone and hitting virtual arrows, I lost some momentum. By the time I hit the golf course stretch, all thoughts of running had left my consciousness and I was consumed with untangling the ear buds and trying to figure out how I could bankroll the purchase of an iPod that would be mine, only mine, totally dedicated to my music instead of electronically sharing it with the family. That’s about the time I started noticing all of the litter trapped in the matted, decaying leaves along the side of the road and the plastic bags caught alongside the branches near the river.
As I rounded the corner onto Main Street, several cars drove past, this was the first sign of human life I’d come across since leaving my house. I figured I should turn down the volume on my music so I wouldn’t be surprised by a car coming up from behind. This led to another round of musical mayhem while I tried desperately to replace Dixie Chicks and Frank Sinatra with Beastie Boys or OK GO so my heart rate wouldn’t be in the toilet completely. Finally, somewhere around the burial monument of the Stockbridge Indians, I found a decent playlist and I started moving as quickly as possible. Since I was going uphill, I didn’t run exactly, but I was feeling the burn. Or, more correctly, the chub rub between my thighs. I was gasping at the top of the hill, which had to be good for something. I kept moving, but my feet were not running feet. They were walking feet. Indoor feet. And there I was, outdoors. I gave up all pretense of trying to run as I passed churchgoers dressed for Easter services but tried to keep myself moving as quickly as I could without feeling my back fat jiggle. Up until this point, I didn’t even know back fat could jiggle, but apparently if you feed it enough, back fat can do most anything, except tuck itself nicely into oblivion.
I sort of Bob Fosse’d my way along the section next to the Red Lion Inn and down along the “highway” stretch, envisioning myself as a chorus member of some imaginary, and horribly choreographed, show starring a middle-aged woman in need of fitness and coordination. Nothing on my iPhone playlist made this any better so I was thrilled when I made the turn into my happy little street. I quickly found my way down the road, I may have actually picked up my knees a few times, and then I was home. Slightly winded and sweaty, but still very much a pedestrian.