Marathon Man: Why after years of denial, extra helpings at dinner and hiding from exercise, I have decided to take the plunge.

We've all stood in the mirror and had that talk to ourselves, making promises to return to the svelte Adonis we once were. If only it was as easy as that . . .
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We've all stood in the mirror and had that talk to ourselves, making promises to return to the svelte Adonis we once were. If only it was as easy as that . . .

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Watch out for "The Guns". They'll get you every time!

There comes a point in every young man’s life (I imagine) when he wakes up, his brain swollen tight in his skull and he looks down at himself and thinks enough is enough. I’ve got to start thinking about myself. It’s time to get fit, to set in stone that six-pack I’ve always said that I used to have. It’s time to start jogging on a Sunday and gyming it on a Tuesday. Cycling to work and choosing the salad over the all day breakfast, because if the constant alcohol abuse and self-denial doesn’t kill me, the salt damn well will. Then, blissfully content in his epiphany, he allows his eyes to once again close. Gently rolls to his side to block out the dirty stains of the morning sun and falls back into his slumber where he never thinks of such a foolish notion again for weeks, months and often even years.  He might also at this point do a little bit of sick in his mouth.

I have been this man. In fact, I still am this man but I am at least on the brink of snapping out of it. I have started to take steps, very serious steps that guarantee that I must get fit. I have signed up for a half marathon. This might not seem like very much to you, after all it’s not a full marathon, it’s a wimpy half one. School kids probably run further, but for a man like me who hasn’t done any exercise at all since he was 16 and who has still never once stepped foot in a gym, despite having said every year since 2006 that it was his new year’s resolution, it’s a pretty big deal. And I’m absolutely terrified.

I never used to be this way, at one point I was one of the fittest boys in school, I could run for days athletically dodging any obstacle that life threw my way. I played football, I sprinted, I did the long jump and high jump. But then something changed in me, I discovered things like guitars, girls, underage drinking (the only real joy of being a 15 year old with a beard) and the brilliance of a chilli doused kebab. I turned my back on life as an athlete and took the higher road, the one I believed to be that of a real man. A real man that drinks in dingy pubs, plays darts and never has sex.

I would look at my stupid friends leaving early on a Saturday for early Sunday pub football and I’d grin to myself, gushing at the joys of a high metabolism and my svelte reflection in the mirror. But then slowly but surely things started to work slowly. My body secretly began to falter. It wasn’t obvious at first, just the occasional shortness of breath or excruciating stitch when walking up hills but it was happening. It was definitely happening. “It’s just the weather,” I would say, “winter does this to everyone,” then later, when I moved to Newcastle, “It’s the altitude, I’m not used to being this far up North...”  I was only lying to myself and I knew it and as my waist began to warm the belt-loops on my jeans, so did everybody else too.

I’ve eaten my last pie and mash sandwich and I’m ready to be a man and fulfil my destiny. Ladies come and fucking get me...

Looking back now the alarm should have really started ringing when my girlfriend at the time joined a gym and started jogging. I asked her one night if she thought I was podging out and as she was getting fit, maybe I should too. “No you look fine” she said, her lips barely curling at the sides, “I like your body, it’s me that has the problem, I’m just getting fit for you.” I know now that what she actually meant was, ‘I’m going to leave you in about 6 months time when I’ve got back the legs and arse I had when we first met because you my friend are a fleshy joke. In fact, if I was being completely honest I feel like you duped me into this entire relationship with angles and optical illusions. Your clothes are nothing but deceptive fabric Nazis, only instead of hiding stolen pieces of artwork and murder, they’re hiding a giant box of calories and future heart problems that even the milk tray man would have a problem delivering.” At the time though I just thought my girlfriend was awesome.

But now the tides are about to change. I have got stuck into my last kebab and got trapped in my last tube door, I am putting down the pints and throwing out the frying pan – I am on the road to being the Adonis that I always should have been. I will rise early each morning like Rocky Balboa himself to jog inspirationally through my hometown, kids will idolise me as they foolishly try and keep up with my stride. Market stall owners will wave their hats and throw me low-calorie snacks and I will be swamped by admirers and accolades. They might even ask me to be an ambassador for the 2012 Olympics.

My time is now. I’ve eaten my last pie and mash sandwich and I’m ready to be a man and fulfil my destiny. Ladies come and fucking get me...Actually, who am I kidding. I’m doing the marathon because I was peer pressured into it by all the girls in my office who laughed because they said I was scared and wouldn’t dare even attempt it. I’ll probably just get a taxi to the finish line and bribe the adjudicators. Pint anyone?

Follow my weekly lack of exercising and eventual running induced death on Twitter: @jordanwaller

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