I Want to Run a Marathon

I want to run a marathon.

I’m not a runner. Like. NOT a runner. Like, joined a CrossFit gym last year because on TV I’ve seen them flip tires and climb rope ladders and lift heavy things and never run and give me a thousand heavy things and I’ll lift and I’ll lift and I’ll lift but when you ask me to run down to the end of the driveway, cross my two lane neighborhood street and jog up to my neighborhood mailbox I’m already tired.

I’m already tired.

I’m not a runner like I was homeschooled and I never had to run any number of miles in any number of minutes because I never went to gym class and no one really gave a fuck if I ran or stayed still. And I was only ever in a hurry to grow up and graduate and get noticed and get married and get fucked and make babies and make banana bread with the perfectly ripened bananas that hang on that little wooden banana tree passed down from my grandmother to my mom to me and I am not in a hurry because I am already tired.

I’m already tired.

I get vomity, nauseous, heartsick of the very idea of making mistakes in public. I have dotted every goddamn “I” and crossed every motherfucking “T” but I have never crossed a finish line that had anyone judging anything. I live life in small quadrants. 1 is done. 2 fastly fading. I am finishing nothing, and finishing nothing fast because life is fucking exhausting. Nothing isn’t what I meant to finish. It’s the only thing I’ll do fast.

I am not a runner because to be a runner you have to pick a path — throw your body in a singular direction. You cannot be PULLED in a different way or cause or moment just because it seems right on a whim — you have to commit and I don’t like to commit and I get scared when all I can see is a horizon and a swiftly fading sun. I am not a runner because there is something down that trail that could trip me up, throw me off a course that I set somehow subconsciously somewhere when my mom had cancer for the first time or when I realized I could love someone who saw me for me for me for me for me and I was too afraid and too tired to be seen because I’d been up late working two jobs to pay for a college degree at a college that didn’t even want me — that asked me to leave when I broke lifestyle covenants, that shamed me for my freedom of speech and the political signs I shackled to my dormroom window and I was just tired, you know. So fucking tired.

I am not a runner because running doesn’t happen overnight even when you want it to and you can’t be a runner fucked up on cheap vodka and not every race finishes with a keg or a bag of fucking Doritos or a gold medal or applause and no one is chasing me and everyone is catching up and I don’t wanna do cocaine but I would have to be an addict to be a runner. I’m not a runner because I’m too chickenshit to be addicted to anything or anyone. I’ve cut ties from every feeling. I don’t know how to feel.

I’ve heard there’s this moment around mile 3 or 7 or 9 or 12 or 18 where you hit this flow state and you are just in love with the feeling of shattered knees propelling shaky ankles where aching lungs take dirty breaths and you are more alive than you have been but I give up by my neighborhood mailbox — shuffle inside and make banana bread because…

I am not a runner because running is feeling knees knock and buckle, pain rise from shattered calves and up varicose veins, hearing your heart beat in your temples and feeling your pulse in your armpits and I’ve spent 16 years not writing and not feeling because writing and feeling and running and feeling makes me fucking tired.

I wanna run a marathon because somewhere, subconscious, deep down I want to run across a finish line, shit running down my shaking, shattered legs and have people applaud me but…

I’d have to be willing to shit myself — to put my dirt out there to own the life choices to recognize that banana bread is good but fuck if it isn’t a life.

I am not a runner but I think in another lifetime, maybe just one lifetime over, maybe just one parallel line to the immediate north or the not-too-distant south there is a me that is running, mile 21, shit running down shaking (strong) calves, singing at the top of her fucking lungs because freedom is in that filth and that boundless spot between addiction and bliss — in crossing lines and breaking boundaries. In the applause, sure. But — more. When you stop being tired of your life and start living it — stumbling forward, eyes closed, horizon lost, sun sinking, knees shattered, lungs gasping, mouth open, everything subconscious and sudden and important at once.

I wanna run a marathon.

I am not a runner.