The House of The Lord (Has A Fitness Room)

Sometimes I suction on very small spandex pants, wear a sporty watch, and pretend to be an athlete. Such days are typically followed by weeks of absolute stillness, but that’s hardly important. For 45 minutes on a glorious Sunday morning, I am a mileage-dominating beast whose sweat reeks of victory. I couldn’t tell you if it is the bold Nike swoosh or early hour delirium that gives me such high-voltage confidence in myself, but I am consistently cocky as I head into the fitness room. I mount the treadmill, escalating speed and incline until I am walking tall. Warm Up? Dead and done because I killed it. The fiery determination smoldering in my eyes alarms the geriatric man completing short reps with 2-pound weights, but no apologies. I change this Game Face for no one.

I read somewhere that runners should adopt a chant (a rhythmic mantra, if you will) to keep a solid pace. The mental repetition of a few small syllables can keep one’s feet on time, never too spastic nor too lagging. Swift. Steady. Straight steps to the Winner’s Circle.
I have no doubt that in these official-looking pants I am the embodiment of all that is endurance and running, so I do as the runners do and get my mantra on.

And here is where we learn about Confidence. That most of the time it is false or very well should be. That sometimes in life we will be the poor, clueless song-crow trying out for American Idol. We will stare as J. Lo. waves her arms in the air for mercy, and we will be dumbfounded as to why she would not understand what true and remarkable talent we have, and we will feel so sure in our abilities that we will think J.Lo must be mistaken, she must be dancing along to this sweet song we’re singing, and we will JUST KEEP BELTING IT OUT LIKE THE POP STAR DIVA THAT WE ARE!

In those first moments of running my Professional Pace Chant of A Champion Runner:

“Get it, girl. Get it, girl. Get it, girl. Get it, girl.”

“Like a boss. Like a boss. Like a boss.”

After a few minutes my legs say “No”. Fear aches in the joints and my shins just want to feel safe again. They’d like to chill out with a bowl of ice cream and Friends re-runs. A subtle change, let’s call it Reality, seeps into my mantra and before I know it I am trying slowly reassuring my worried titty-baby body with the soothing hymns.

“Calm and strong. Calm and strong. Calm and… callllllm. Just calllllm.”

“Milkshake. Cupcake. Milkshake. Cupcake. Milkshake. Cupcake.”

Approximately 21 minutes into this once-promising run, even self-bribing with promises of delicious, post-jog treats has fallen short. Like so many man-dreamt tactics before, I realize the error of my ways and repent. The confident shell chips and cracks, gives way to humility. I am humbled (desperate). And here is where we learn about Faith, namely that we need more help than we would like to think.

I do not finish strong so much as I just barely, miserably tick off steps on this conveyor belt to Hell. I cross the finish line, spit-breathing and mumbling the chant of the broken-down. It sounds a bit like a beg, a lot like pleading.

“Help me, Lord. Help me, Lord. Help me, Lord. Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus”.

I think my hip is stuck so I drag a crooked leg back home and answer a phone call from a friend. I reflect on the miracle that is finishing a run without dying. I am awed at the power of prayer, more powerful than cupcakes. An ice pack and an Advil. I give thanks for the catchy rap beats of Pitbull as his worship music distracted me for 3 whole minutes. Mr. Worldwide. Mr. 3-oh-5. Glory Be! I rejoice! I rejoice! And when said friend asks me what I’ve been up to this Sunday morning, I answer her with exactly the truth….

“Oh, just got back from church.”


38 thoughts on “The House of The Lord (Has A Fitness Room)

    1. Thank GOD you understand. I get a little angry when very fit friends describe how much they love and need their long jogs. I love a lot of things: my kid, Snickers, my kid, Milk Duds, my dog, naps. But I can’t say I love the cardio warfare.

    1. Fitness as a religion. Haha. I wish I felt so loyal to it. More along the lines of I ran, didn’t die, and consider this a small miracle 🙂 I like the Church of Dance idea, though. You might be onto something with that!

  1. Oh em gee this was hilarious! I swear I laughed so hard I can barely breathe . By the way im reading your blog from india! #internationalramblings!

    1. Britney, I’ve been FB stalking your India photos. If I’d known about the 24/7 room service I would’ve hidden in your luggage & tagged along 🙂

    1. Haha! If I have to exercise I prefer that no one is within screaming distance of me. I might need to weep in between sets of pushups or do some really unsightly stretch to be able to walk after running. Things get ugly!

  2. I agree with Deanna that this is a natural stand-up routine! Brilliantly funny! I so despise running and find every excuse to slow down and walk that I have taken to running late at night in bad areas (I tease/torture myself that behind every bush or tree could be the next rapist or mugger. My Mantra? “Run. For. Your. Life.” Naturally. PS. My times are improving each day, err night.

    1. Haha! Running In Fear Of Serious Danger is very, very effective. Our old neighborhood was a lot sketchier, so I could get a good/ scared workout in almost any time after dark. Everybody’s too friendly in this new subdivision. I don’t feel nearly threatened enough here 😦

  3. I am a firm believer that I get around as God intended…..in my car Not running like those friends of mine that are stuck in a psychotic break reality where they believe running is good, fun, healthy and all that crazy talk!
    Great post! I think many of us can relate to and enjoy your writing.

    1. I definitely don’t understand the Running For Fun/Pleasure mentality. I’ll make myself do it (like going to the dentist) but they can’t make me chipper about it!

  4. I need a prayer to get me through a run. In the fall, I got to where I could run a mile without wanting to curl up in the fetal position. Then it got cold and I stopped running. (It was as good an excuse as any.)

    1. The cold is an excellent excuse! Some of my personal favorites: I would run but … It’s too early/ it’s too late/ it’s not Tuesday/ my dog needs a nap/ I need to nap with said dog/ there are TV shows to watch.

  5. That’s me and running. (or as a past boyfriend pointed out- walking quickly- as there were the fast walkers moving quicker than my jogging.) That’s me with shin splints… Help GOD, help me, help me. Yes, I can agree a religious experience, indeed. a lot of praying was going on

    1. Haha! Used to go “running” with a friend in the park. She officially renamed it joggling (jiggly walking) because we weren’t moving nearly fast enough to call it running.

  6. This girl needs some serious churchin’. Bless me, Father, it’s been months and months since I’ve come in for some holy learnin’! (But did you say cupcakes?)

    1. Of COURSE I said cupcakes! I’m sure it’s counterproductive to bribe myself to run with post-exercise sweet treats but it gets the mile run, the job done!

  7. This will be me tomorrow as I attempt to get my butt back on the treadmill after an almost year long hiatus. I do yoga regularly and tried to convince myself that it is enough, which it is mentally/spiritually, but my body needs more and so I will start off strong and end with pleas…likely 😉

    1. Oh I love yoga. Mostly the Final Resting Pose :). I feel better for having tried to run afterwards, but I definitely haven’t figured out how to enjoy running while actually running.

  8. This was awesome! I definitely feel like running has a way to bring out the faith in all of us… I went to school for exercise science and the funny part is the exercise gets me every time! That confidence shell is totally broken down with in the first 5min and the rest is straight up faith….and awesome music.

Ramble on, little rambler...

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