Running on Empty

Besides my burning calves and my sweaty laundry pile that is taking up a huge amount of real estate in the corner of my bedroom, and making me feel like a badass dirty athlete, I am enjoying my daily run. I’ve been doing it for a week, and I can’t say I’ve felt this energized since my days in track and cross-country in junior high and high school. 

I get a strange thrill when I glance down at the thin white line that separates the bicycle/running lane from the speeding-cars-of-death whizzing down Shore Road:

(Speeding-Car-of-Death: noun, a type of car that speeds unnecessarily, very close to and/or within the pedestrian lane. Example: The speeding-car-of-death struck a pedestrian along Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2010 and proceeded to drag his body all the way to the La Guardia airport in Queens.)

So, if I can avoid this macaab ride to the airport, my goal for next week will be a tough one. Though I’ve tried many times before, I plan to officially break things off with my long-time lover, Diet Coke. 

Try drinking one in public up here in New York – no, don’t drink it – don’t even open it! Just pull it out of your bag and hold it.  Approximately 17 people will come up to you and tell you it’s poison. The public humiliation should be enough to make me quit, but I can’t eat anything savory without something bubbly and sweet alongside it. I am helpless against its power. 

It all began my junior year in college when I put myself on the Atkins Diet for about four months in an attempt to lose weight for a show. I survived on romaine lettuce, chicken breasts, and George Foreman-grilled burgers (sans bread.) I am surprised I didn’t die. I’m sure I was rotting from the inside.

I recall my good friend, Miss Texas pageant girl, and inspirational Atkins Diet guru told me I was ‘free to have as many pork rinds as I wanted, because they have like, two carbs per serving!” Sugar-free Jello and chocolate, and diet beverages were allowed on this diet as well, although an ingredient called ‘sugar alcohol’ left me feeling muy gassy.  It was at this point that Diet Coke entered my life, and filled the sugar-free void that has led to an addiction lasting nearly five year. 

I don’t think there is enough conclusive evidence on it to rule it out as dangerous or unhealthy, but I don’t want to find out in ten years that my diet soda addiction cost me a pancreas or the ability to see the color orange.

I don’t know whether I’ll feel more of a health health-boost or more withdrawal symptoms using this cold-turkey approach, but I’d rather drink water and take my chances on avoiding cars.

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