Barbara walks like she’s going to a birthday party – or she’s heading to the swimming pool on a hot day. She walks with grace and purpose and energy; she’s eager to see what the day has to bring. And it drives me up the wall.
I saw her in the large mirrors in the Pilates studio at Body Dynamics. I was doing the pre-running stretches she’d taught me to do while she changed from her graceful work clothes (the staff at Body Dynamics does NOT dress like jocks; they dress like professionals). We were going running; it was a sunny 79 degrees and there was no way I was getting out of it.
So I’d done my calf stretches (the fibers of my calf muscles pull reluctantly apart like very stiff Velcro) and my quad stretches (the thigh muscles are more like cold taffy; there’s stretch in there, but damn, Sam – it takes a long time for things to limber up) and I was kneeling on this sliding board contraption (they call it something by three initials – the TRX machine or the GPS machine or the UEX machine – unexploded ordinance, which is a highly flattering way to consider my dud muscles) and I was attempting to stretch my hip flexors.
And Barbara reappeared in her entirely inoffensive running clothes.
(Do you know what I mean about inoffensive running clothes? If you’re a non-runner, then you probably do. I’m talking about when people appear in high-performance gear, togged out to tackle an Ironman or a breezy glide through the Mojave; I hate those people instinctively and feel that we are not of the same tribe. Barbara wore a plain old t-shirt and shorts. She looked PERFECT and once again I had no excuse to hate on her.)
(I know – because Barbara and I “follow” each other on a running app – that she’d already run for one solid hour before the sun came up, and I bet she was dressed in high-performance gear for that; my slow and plodding mile-long run-walk wasn’t going to challenge her much, but she certainly wasn’t rubbing my face in it.)
She appeared and I realized that I was ALREADY absolutely exhausted.
I felt like I was made of lead and wet sand while she was a soap bubble, effortlessly floating along. A subtle shimmer of iridescence plays about Barbara. She’s not a glittery person; far from it… but she’s got that brightness to her.
I wanted to lay my heavy head down on the exercise mats and have a nap.
“Why don’t I have any energy?” I complained. It would be SO EASY to jog a mile if I had Barbara’s power plant in my cells. Of COURSE she can run until there’s no time in the day to run farther; she’s light. She’s not made of lead.
“Did you get enough sleep last night?” Barbara is extremely practical.
“Yeah. I guess so. Mostly.”
I’d cringed when my alarm went off; it took me almost 50 minutes to actually get vertical, by which time I was so late that the pre-workout yogurt/nuts/seeds/fruit breakfast was still sitting high and stubborn in my stomach as we were stretching.
So, maybe no. Not so good with the sleep.
“And,” I admitted shamefacedly, “there was an entire weekend of Peppermint patties.”
Barbara gave me the eyebrow.
“But,” I wailed unsuccessfully, “I bought them at WHOLE FOODS!”
Barbara is a mother as well as a trainer, and I could see that she was restraining the motherness of her. “And did you eat the entire package?” she asked.
“Well, not ALL of it…” It was quite a large container. I gave it my best shot.
“Can you throw the rest out when you get home?”
“I doubt it…”
“Come on,” she said. “We’re running.”
And off we went. It was dire. I was pathetic. She drifted beside me, making entertaining chatter about her weekend and mine, about the neighborhood we ran through, about all kinds of things kindly designed to help me ignore the sound of my own huffing and puffing, and I was left to consider just how thoroughly I’d poisoned myself with sugar.
There are people who suffer from far more damaging addictions than I do; I am daily grateful that I’ve escaped most of the things that hook people through the gills. But there’s no sense ignoring the reality that I am, unquestionably, addicted to sugar. And it won’t kill me as fast as heroin (although I believe they both go after the same receptors in the brain), but it’s really not doing me any favors.
And there are still the Whole Foods version of Peppermint patties in the cupboard; they call them Peppermint cremes, with that spelling that all but screams “there is no actual cream in this; you are eating solid corn syrup and sugar, sucker.” And do you think I’m going to throw them out? Well, I’m going to try… but if I get close, I’m pretty sure I’m going to eat some of them…
Sigh. I’m poisoning myself.
I almost used a photo of the Peppermint cremes but figured that was too damned mean and might make YOU take a nice, healthy trip to your local Whole Foods where you can now buy solid sugar – blame Amazon; the original Fresh Fields would have burst into flames before offering such poison to its customers. Instead, I’m using a handsome black-and-white of a gurner I found on Google images. Isn’t he amazing?