When I was in the Navy a fellow sailor once told me that he had never farted in front of a girl. This was because, he said in all earnestness, he had such good control of his butthole. Now I didn’t let it show, of course, but I was really, really jealous of his superior butthole control. I knew my butthole control was fair to middling at best. The worst part of it all, having such poor control of my butthole, I had to admit it was all my fault.
You see, I had plenty of time to exercise the affected muscles, but I never did. While standing mid-watches I could easily have done several, if not several dozen, kegels and clinches. They’re easy to do and generally nobody even notices as long as you’re wearing pants at the time. So really, there was no excuse for having such a weak sphincter. I relied on my general good health and my youth and vigor to suppress all unwanted flatulence, but I can positively affirm it’s not enough to avoid embarrassing yourself while riding in the elevator down to the lobby with a couple of salesladies heading out to TGI Fridays for dinner.
I had a similar feeling of regret for not having trained just a couple of weeks ago. It was the second annual half marathon in my town. We don’t have marathons or even half ones in town very often and so it would seem like a no brainer to train and run in my own town’s race. But for some reason, I elected to be lazy, put off training, and didn’t run. I felt like I’d let down my town and some of the race organizers who I know, but most importantly, I had let down myself.
Now, I have been running pretty regularly, but not what you call training. I go out and run around 4 miles 4 or 5 times a week, maybe a little longer run on Saturday, but I’m just moving at an easy pace, not trying to hit a goal or maintain any kind of speed. I’m not putting my body under enough stress to force it to develop strength or endurance. I’m relying on my general good health and my youth and vigor to get me through these runs.
Previously in my youth I would’ve signed up for this half and slogged through it, but I’m old and wise enough now to know that’s not a good idea. Last year, when I was younger and more foolish, I did just that and came limping over the finish line with a sore hip and knee. I just hadn’t been running enough to take on 13 miles all at once.
So, I missed an opportunity to run a race in my own town because I had neglected to train. And it was all my fault. It seems easy, training is just pushing your body a little farther and faster than it wants to go, taking just enough of a break (which doesn’t mean inactivity) to let it recover, and then doing it again. Shouldn’t we all always be training? Junk miles are so much easier but they lead to embarrassment when the ladies from the local running club, who run purely for the social aspect and not for speed, are standing at the finish line cheering as you come in while already wearing their finisher medals. They’re giving you high fives and telling you “good job!” the same way you tell your first grader she did a good job on the picture of an African elephant(?) she drew with colored chalk.
Though I didn’t run this year I did volunteer. I worked an intersection and helped direct traffic. It was a little boring when there were gaps in the race and no one was coming by, but I found a way to make my time productive. Even while watching the other athletes go by I found a way to train. I must of done about 8 dozen kegels, and since I was wearing pants, hardly anyone noticed.