It’s the first day of a new year, a time when many people are inclined to take stock of their lives and resolve to do everything differently. I’m not one of them. To those of us with short-term memory deficits, every day is a fresh start. But according to recent studies, there’s some good news for anyone carrying around a little more weight than they’d like. It turns out that you can lose 50% of your fat simply by running an ultramarathon of 2800 miles. If you’re four hundred pounds, that might be a hundred and fifty pounds right there. Researchers studying 500 runners of such an event, lasting 64 days, discovered that the runners lose 40% of their fat at the halfway point. Which is great for them, but a hell of a cleanup job for the grounds crew on Day 32, I would think.
At any rate, I’m unlikely to achieve the same results. 2800 miles is 2799-3/4 miles farther than I can motivate. Different people have different superpowers, and one of mine is an exceptional relationship with gravity. There’s a way you can determine how high you can jump, by making a mark on the wall as you do it, and subtracting the difference from your standing reach. The difference in my marks is the width of a caterpillar. Basically, even when I give it all I’ve got, I don’t even leave the carpet, if it’s a shag. When I try to run, I can actually feel the earth sucking me back down at every step. I doubt I could even be raptured.
I did run for a while, back in the eighties. Farthest I ever went was 9.2 miles, and that took a lot of working up to. And I did lose fat while I was in my running phase. If I ran for an hour, that was an hour I didn’t spend eating chips.
The researchers discovered that visceral fat fell away faster than any other kind. But I have no quarrel with visceral fat, which is, after all, protecting my viscera, which are constantly under assault from hitting the pavement when I tip over. I’m not interested in losing visceral fat.
What I’d like to get rid of is back fat. Back fat is fat that you weren’t even counting on in life, and the first time you discover it, it’s quite a shock. What you think you’re doing is cranking your head around to look at your own butt, which needs checking up on, but what you see instead is back fat torquing away. You can feel it, too. It’s creepy at first. What is that pressing on my back? Why, it’s another part of my back. Backs should not have cleavage. In general, I can do without any fat that I can’t keep clean without floss.
Those who claim to enjoy running report that they achieve a runner’s high after a certain amount of exertion. This corresponds to a release of endorphins, which are tiny mythical germs made out of unicorn breath. They aren’t real. But the description of them sounds like what I already have in my head almost all of the time. They allow me to feel great joy from the confines of my recliner. When I run, they get jostled and leak out. In order to feel good again, I need to quit running. I can achieve this miracle in about a block and a half.
Which means my back fat will once again be joining me in wishing all of you a happy new year.