I jog around Piedmont Park three to four times a week. However, if I’m at a bar and someone asks me how many times I jog, I’ll probably lie and say five or six. They don’t need to know how many times I jog! But the moment I say that, they immediately size me up, giving me that skeptical look like, “You don’t fucking do that.” Whatever. Haters gonna hate.
There’s a stretch in my jog where I run as fast as I can before I get to this steep hill, which I usually just walk up. It’s fucking hard, so I’m not going to run that! The other day, I was totally owning this stretch…just tearing it up, totally feeling like, Damn, I’m giving this my 100%. The fact that Atlanta Pride is happening as you’re reading this certainly had nothing to do with why I was giving this my all, desperately trying to burn off some carbs that I ate back in 2003. But I just threw myself into this run. My legs burned. Sweat dripped off of my chin. My heart felt like it was a baby Xenomorph from the Alien movies about to fucking pop out of my chest. I was really proud of myself, but by the time I was a few yards away from the aforementioned hill, I was ready to let my body shut down. Maybe even take a few minutes to breathe before I kept walking.
So there I was, sweating, panting…dying…when I saw my friend…we’ll call him Herbert for anonymity and because I think it’s funny. Herbert was heading to the hill from a different path. He’s the kind of guy who’s always doing a 5K or 10K or 2,000K…whatever-the-fuck Ks there are, he’s doing them. He does so many of these things that one time I was in another city to support a friend who was running a half marathon, and Herbert just happened to be there. That’s how in shape this guy is. I hate him. I wish he was an asshole so that I had a good reason for hating him, but he’s actually a really nice guy and so is his boyfriend, so screw both of them!
So I was running near my max when I saw Herbert, sprinting along fairly effortlessly. I thought I should at least say hey, so I of course, had to run a little faster, and then I just shouted out, “Hey!”
I assumed he would turn, wave, and move along. Instead, he slowed his pace and started running alongside me.
I thought, What the fuck are you doing? I can’t fucking keep up with this!
Then he looked at the hill and back at me. He had that expression like, “You’re not going to run up this hill. You look like you’re about to die right now.” (Because I was about to fucking die right then!)
Here’s the problem. Whenever I encounter someone who is fitter or more athletic than myself, my golden rule is, “Don’t let them intimidate you.” And you know what, maybe after you read this, you might think, “That’s unreasonable.” That’s incredibly likely. Maybe someday I’ll get this exorcised out of my psyche by a therapist and/or hypnotist…sometime in the distant future when I have enough money to pay for that kind of shit. But by then, I’ll probably be paying for someone else to run for me.
The important thing to take away from all this is that I wasn’t going to stop running. I was going to show him that I was perfectly capable of keeping up with him.
This sort of thinking totally winds up not humiliating or injuring me 10% of the time.
So of course, I just kept on jogging right up this hill.
As we made our ascent…
HERBERT: I’m training for the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon.
HERBERT: Yeah. Just signed up the other day, and this morning, figured I should probably start training.
ME (struggling to breathe): Oh…wow…Yeah, you should definitely…start…training for a half…that’s…six weeks…away.
HERBERT: Well, you know I do these things all the time.
By this point, my face and legs were on fire, and it’s likely he thought I needed an ambulance because I was hyperventilating so much.
As we came to this fork in the hill that leads in two different directions…
HERBERT: Well, I’m going this way.
ME: Oh, I’m going (this opposite direction of you, so I can breathe again).
HERBERT: Cool, see you later.
As we parted ways, I jogged behind a couple of full bushes that kept him from being able to see me. I leaned forward, coughing, gasping for air, praying for God to take me (because I just couldn’t go on).
I’m like 96% sure he could hear me, so he’s going to go home and tell his bf about it:
HERBERT: Devon did this weird thing today. He was totally out of breath and trying to keep up with me on his jog. I seriously thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. What a fucking weirdo?
BF: That’s the guy that’s in porn, right?
HERBERT: Something like that…
I know what you’re probably thinking after reading that. Well maybe just, “Did Devon do porn?” No, you’re missing the point! Well, maybe a little porn, but no, you’re missing the point. (Seriously, though, just so that no one spends any time trying to hunt it down, I’m gonna let you know that you won’t find anything unless you have access to my bf’s iPhone. The previous instance is mentioned because there does seem to be some confusion among a few people in my building who mistake my writing erotica for me being a pornographic actuer. But now we’re getting to a situation of the lady protesting too much, so search away!)
But the other thing that you’re thinking after reading that is, Why the fuck did you tell that story?
That’s a very good question. I could say it’s this really important lesson about jogging at your own pace and not wasting your time trying to impress other people who are doing better than you. Ooo, that sounds really deep and profound. But really, the only lesson here worth mentioning is, Fuck yeah, I totally owned that hill!
I didn’t think I could do that, but I did. And you never know what you can accomplish until you decide to do something crazy and out of character. That said, let’s go out into the world with our fucked up priorities and own some hills! Why fix our neuroses when our crazy is the very thing that might take us further in life than we ever thought possible?
See you guys next time,
Meet Devon McCormack
Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.
A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men's presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they're getting into.
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