I hike and run for a lot of reasons — weight loss, stress reduction, time in nature. My greatest motivation by far, however, is fear of zombies. Fat people are particularly susceptible to zombie attacks.
Running and the undead were on my mind Saturday, when the boy and I spent the evening catching up on our favorite TV show about the coming zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, the AMC series follows a rag-tag group of survivors trying to stay un-undead as they travel through muggy, zombie-ravaged Georgia in search of a safe haven. People die horribly — they’re either eaten alive, or they become zombies themselves. Killing a zombie is a particularly gooey process.
Survival on The Walking Dead is a vicious business. In the last episode we watched, one of the show’s protagonists, Shane, was one of two guys surrounded by hungry zombies in an abandoned high school. Shane is a hunky sheriff’s deputy who seems to find plenty of time for pec and ab work (and, apparently, chest-shaving) between dodging and killing zombies. The guy he was trapped with, Otis, is a sweaty, obese redneck who can barely manage a flight of stairs without risking a cardiac event. (I found myself critiquing Otis’ running form during a particularly long chase down the high school hallway. He overpronates terribly.)
You can guess how it turns out. The pair was being chased by zombies, and fat ol’ Otis, carrying much-needed medical equipment, was slowing things down. He was doomed to be eaten. Instead of heroically pulling Otis to safety, Shane shot him in the leg and took the equipment. Shane got away and Otis was redneck tartare.
The moral of the story? If you’re fat and the zombies come, you’re dead. If the zombies don’t kill you, your friends will. So you better be able to run. That’s what pushes me to climb a more challenging mountain, pick up the pace during a sluggish run, or put in an extra two miles at the end of a long loop. 5k PRs come and go; once you’re undead, you’re undead forever.
I’m confident years of hiking and my recent conversion to trail and mountain running will allow me to stay ahead of the undead, even if I have a belly like Otis. Unless the boy shoots me and leaves me for dead.