Before I begin, two disclaimers:
1. Blogging about running isn't original. It's not even original amongst my circle of friends. My friend Carrie has done it a number of times and much wittier and funnier than I could ever hope to. Do yourself a favor and check it out at www.carriemesrobian.com. Apologies to Carrie for blatantly stealing a blog subject from her.
2. I loathe exercise blogs, especially ones written with the intent to motivate. Just shut up. You aren't trying to motivate, you are asking everyone to admire how awesome you are. It's as bad as telling me about how awesome your church is or which way I should vote. I have serious misgivings about writing this because just reading it over makes me feel I am guilty of doing exactly that and a giant hypocrite. I feel this way often when I write - egotistical and like a giant blowhard. My good friend Isaac, among others, told me to "just get over it and write". So that's what I'm doing - writing. I happened to be on a run today when the following thoughts pin-balled their way through my brain. Exercise or don't exercise. I don't care and I love you either way.
Whew. Anyways, I usually drown out my thoughts with music while running, but my headphones broke in a particularly spastic bread cart accident, so I was left to fend off my brain alone. Freud - or any amateur psychiatrist for that matter - would have had a field day with what went through my melon. Among the diagnoses:
Denial, Rationalization and ultimately Guilt - It had been a while since I had been on a run. Which is stupid as I have never, ever (ever) regretted going on a run when I was done. Today I had nothing on my agenda other than a haircut. I had absolutely no excuse or reason not to. However, denial and rationalization nearly derailed me before I even left the house. I get plenty of exercise at work (rationalization). I exercise with the Schlitz Sporting Club all the time (denial as I do as much beer drinking as exercising in those situations). I'm in better shape than I was 10 years ago (rationalization). Finally, however, guilt won out. I told KT and Audrey I was going on a run today and I have absolutely no legitimate excuse for them why I didn't. Not that they would care - the guilt will be 100% self-induced. But nobody - not even their mother - can guilt a Lutheran raised boy better than they can guilt themselves. So jog I did.
Euphoria - The run begins. This. Is. Awesome. I am awesome. I haven't run in over a month and I'm like Zola Fucking Budd. I see your 3.1 miles and raise you 2 more. I can't be stopped. I love the weather. I love the world. I love me.
Self Loathing - Early fatigue begins setting in. I suck. I look like a drunken hippo and everyone is laughing at me. That car that pulled over a block after passing me? It's a doctor convinced he's about to be the latest 11 Who Kare recipient for saving my life when I drop with a heart attack. I will undoubtedly end up as a photo on countless snarky teenagers' Facebook pages. Zola Budd? Try Buddy Hackett.
Narcissism - Second wind kicks in. I am soooo much fucking better than everybody else. Look at all the lazy asses in their cars while I run. They want to be me. Look at me. Adore me. Worship me.
Narcissism and Dementia - Still flying high, feeling like a million bucks, but one-way conversations between myself and imaginary others begin taking hold. "Ha - you're very kind but, really, I am 40 years old" or, more alarmingly, "How you doin' ladies?...Well, I'm flattered, but after my run I'm going home to do some laundry, cook an organic dinner for my family, build a shelter for the homeless and cure cancer...Yes, I'm married...Really, you're too kind. You haven't met my wife, I'm the lucky one!"
Self Flagellation - Well into the run, euphoria and narcissism are long gone. I hurt. My lungs feel like exploding, my calves are on fire and I'm not having any fun at all. Stopping and walking, even if just for a bit, would offer immense relief. Yet I run on as I must punish myself for weighing more than I should, not being in better shape and being a general asshole. I don't deserve relief, I deserve punishment.
Split Personality - Near the end of the run, a rather large hill looms. Going up: I hate going up hills. You have to change your pace, your stride, your breathing, everything. It sucks. I wish my route could be like an M.C. Escher sketch - constant downhills. Going down: I hate going down hills. You have to change your pace, your stride, your breathing, everything. It sucks. I wish my route could be like an M.C. Escher sketch - constant uphills.
Manic Depression - The end nears. Sweet glorious relief, I'm almost done! This was way more difficult than it should have been. But I did it! But I didn't do it very well. I successfully ran a 5k without stopping today! But it took me way too long.
I finished my run physically exhausted but able to quickly recover. The mental exhaustion will take a little longer.