I’ve been nursing a knee injury since JFK 50 and I can tell you that I now view New Year’s resolutions and fitness motivation photos and mottos with a great guffaw of skepticism.  Let it be known that this rolling-my-eyes talk-to-the-hand attitude hides a serious winter bluesy depression. With motivation out the window and a body that feels more pain than pleasure with each running step, I feel like I’m the last person who should be leading the club or writing this newsletter.  Gone is the insane zeal that usually peppers Club News.  I’ve contemplated quitting everything.

What to do?  The answer comes from the wise words of a precocious nine-year-old girl with an uncommon predilection for reality food TV shows, who, while mixing her grandmother’s cupcake recipe and a strange balsamic-based icing, said, “You know, Mommy, you should never give up.  We never quit.”  With a bit of batter on her cheeks and a confidently arranged side ponytail, the girl had a point.

What exactly am I teaching my kids by not running?  I’ve been green lighted to bike on a trainer and to swim (the latter option being both expensive—I’m looking at you Chinn Center—and difficult for a non-swimmer like me) and I’ve done the bare minimum. When I say bare minimum, picture me on a bike pedaling at a leisurely speed called Riding Through Gently Rolling Tuscan Hills and Filling a Big Old Woven Basket with Roadside Poppies While Being Passed by the Town Priest Who at 89 Walks Faster Than I Pedal.  It’s capitalized because it’s an actual setting on the trainer.  I look even more un-athletic as I hold on to an armoire so as to not lean on the bike and further hurt my bum.  All this while watching pert little Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict wield a sledgehammer like Thor’s cousin’s neighbor’s daughter. Instead of Fitness 101, this is Fitness 0.01.

To add insult to injury, I am teaching my kids to set goals and have big expectations that I am not meeting in my own life.  While the oldest manages to be a year-round athlete with a rigorous running and swimming schedule with additional triathlon training, I routinely go Mommie Dearest psycho on him because he forgets about his class work.  Meanwhile, I am giving myself free passes out of laundry duty, athletic discipline, and just about everything related to the RidgeRunners Club.  Haven’t seen Club News lately?  Now you know why.

I’ve descended willingly into a delicious state of “woe is me.”  I can imagine that I’m not the most pleasant person to be around these days, which probably explains the recent void of my social calendar.  If I’ve annoyed friends in the past with my “I just ran 35 miles and I feel great!” quips, I’ve now bored them to tears with a sad little whimpering of “I used to be able to run, boo hoo hoo, woe is me.” Facebook dutifully informs me of my lack of social attraction through the educational medium of a drawn 1950s aproned pinup telling me, “I really want to hang around a wet rag, said no one ever.”

Well, thank you Facebook.  Whether a wet rag or a wet sandwich, there are other ways to be and just about every choice sounds better than the above two.  As I contemplate how in the world I am going to emerge from my running-related depression, I consider the following as the most plausible option: fake it till you make it.  So, without further ado, here is a list of my upcoming fakes:

  • Though I originally signed up to run the Icy-8 ultra with a mind to win it, I will now walk it and possibly secure last place.  A better choice than quitting.
  • I will resume my running schedule and forget about pace, distance, or time.  I will run as far as I can go and that will be good enough. A better choice than not running.
  • Knowing that Bull Run 50 is around the corner and that I’m completely untrained to pull the kind of performance I achieved last year, I will sign up for it anyway and let everyone secretly call me a “One Hit Wonder.”  A better choice than not trying.
  • I will resume my duties towards my family first and foremost and towards the Club, knowing that there are still a few free passes up my sleeve.  A better choice than doing nothing.

So if I can say anything of particular value this month as we plough through Arctic weather, school cancelations, and a miscellany of other winter woes, it’s this: fake it, my friends, fake it.  It will do you good—as will wild concoctions of balsamic icing cupcakes.  Just ask my daughter, she’ll tell you.