6AM. 3.3 miles to be done today; four days this week. This is Day 1 and my eyelids are stuck down tight. I shove my body in clothes; they don't like it. We stumble our way to the gym.
Ipod in. Fergie saves me.
(Are you ready for this?)
Oh! It's me, Fergie
The pimp, Polow!
Fergie Ferg, what's up baby?
When I come to the club, step aside
Part the seas, don't be havin? me in the line
V.I.P. ?cause you know I gotta shine
I'm Fergie Ferg and me love you long time
I am running. Fergie, half my age, the wench is yelling in my ear about her girls getting down on the floor and it is my only hope. She is my only hope this pop queen at 6 am. My ass is dragging on the end of the treadmill, the dreadmill, the deadmill I am thinking darkly already and Fergie is lecturing me the whole time:
And I'm like, ?Get up out my face!
?Fore I turn around and spray your *** with mace!?
My lips make you want to have a taste
You got that? I got the bass
Fergie is just getting going but I am roadkill. I am treadmill kill. My shirt stuck to me like saran wrap, my face puffy and red. There is nothing good about this today, except the possibility that it will end.
I stop to get paper to take notes on my pain for later, just in case I forget. I am gone 32 seconds and the treadmill reboots and I lose my precious mileage and I have to start again.
DAMN. DAMN. DAMN.
And then, thirty-six minutes later, a million minutes later, lead drained down into my legs,pooling at my feet, I am done and am stretching in the front exercise room, the one with the spin bikes where everyone rides but no one goes anywhere. There is the guy who races his stationary bike in full gear. He is like the wind this guy, even though he is standing still. I am afraid to stare but I can't help it: the sweat is flying, his tires are churning so fast; it's the sound of a bee hive on his tail. Whir. Whir. Whiiiiiiiirrrrrr. Then, his breath, gasping and collapsing. Whirrrrrrr.
The energy he's generating with his bee wheels, this guy. The wind energy. I start thinking of ways to light the neighborhood with the power of his rear tire. Me, the sudden environmentalist, ideas bubbling over.
Mickey, the sixty-year old speed walker over on the elliptical, asks how I’m doing. I tell her a half marathon every week, Mickey, I need a half marathon every week to make it to my goal. She asks if I take credit for walking. Not really I say , though soon I’ll be taking credit for middle of the night trips to the bathroom. Strolls to the kitchen.
I push open the door. Rain on my face. Warm outside. Tropical even. A spring storm, the weatherman says. There is a picture of a snow skier on the front page of the Sac Bee. He is in a speedo. And I think of what Fergie would say.