There’s something that we all love in theory, yet hate in application. We appreciate what it can create, and dislike what its absence generates. We outwardly despise, yet secretly love, being seen doing it. The enigma I’m referring to is running–ie that thing where you somehow muster enough strength to drag yourself away from your warm bed and haul yourself, coughing and wheezing, around the block (hopefully repeatedly).
Now don’t get me wrong; running really can be great. Once you’re on a roll, it even transitions into a stress reliever (or so I’ve been told by friends with Asics). But, once you’ve gotten off track a bit, it immediately reverts back to a horribly painful experience. What was once almost enjoyable is instantly entirely awful.
I now welcome you into the unpleasant existence that is being an out of shape runner:
The horrifying marimba of my alarm clock viciously cuts short my nap. My sore legs are nestled into the fantastic cocoon of my fuzzy blanket. This trapped heat is begging me to let it be. Literally begging; you can hear it whining, I swear. But I ignore those pleas and slowly peel myself from bed. Once dressed, I embark outside to a sad expanse of road. I want so deeply to bail and change back into jammies, but I’m spurred on by some faulty hope that this won’t be agonizing.
Aggressive, ear-drum bumping tunes explode out of my 5 year-old headphones, which are just 3 small wires away from permanently lodging in my ear canal. The bass is irritatingly misrepresented and crackly. The risk of destroying my ear drums, however, is ENTIRELY preferable to having to hear the embarrassingly loud panting noises that I started making 3 minutes into what I thought would be a leisurely run to the waterfront.
I’m rounding a corner and SHIIIIIIT it’s people I know. Obviously this translates into a need to run quickly (for the combined purpose of looking vaguely athletic, and avoiding anybody truly witnessing my pitifully sweaty self). I throw up a slight hand wave and activate my ‘sprint and hold breath’ mode, as though this is the easy pace I always run at. Once out of sight, my face has turned purple and I stumble like an incredibly awkward horse back to a walking pace. This is followed by heavy coughing, gasping for air, panting–the whole shebang. I feign some stretching to buy myself some time before forcing myself to run again. But at least those people have been fooled into thinking I’m actually in shape, so #score.
I’ve barely gone a half mile and I’m ready to give in. I’d love to tell you a story of grit, determination, and perseverance, but that’s not what this is. I walk, slowly I might add, up the San Francisco style hills and swoop into Dave’s to grab a coffee for the road. Here I am, walking along the streets with a coffee, covered in sweat. I bet if I saw myself I’d guess I had just run a marathon (judging by sweat quantity and looks of defeat). Mission Accomplished.
Nobody who runs REALLY enjoys it. It’s just a conspiracy to convince you that you’re odd if you aren’t head over heels for it. A leisurely jog can be really hard, okay??? So, if you’re in the same boat as me, I urge you to give yourself some TLC. If you’re a huge runner, I envy you and implore you to reveal your secret. And if you’re not a runner, don’t start.