Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Be At Peace Is To Prepare For Running Your Ass Off

I ran nine miles yesterday. My body was literally eating itself. I took up running because it's the simplest, cheapest exercise, but holy shit I need to eat food constantly. And it's not like I can just eat whatever I want. What sense is there in running so much just to eat Big Macs and White Castle? As novel as sweating beef fat sounds, just don't. Mmm, tasty, tasty White Castle. Did you know they have sweet potato fries now? Did you know that a White Castle is the closest point of interest to my apartment? Second-closest? Manhattan. There is nothing else in my neighborhood.

People speak of this mythical "runner's high," but I either have yet to experience it or I have experienced it but I know what Ecstasy feels like so blah. No, I run for my general health, the sense of well-being I get from pushing myself towards a goal, and preparedness.

There's a (by now hack) bit about the pointlessness of hard exercise. Why are you lifting weights? So you can lift more weights. Why are you running? So you're better at running, and can run more. While this ignores the obvious reason of looking better, so you can get laid by people who look better and/or lock down the attractive person who's steadily having sex with you, it also ignores the fact that you will be ready when shit goes down.

I have no idea where my constant fear of having to outrun bandits/dogs/kidnappers/bad weather comes from, but my best guess is Reader's Digest. Specifically, the "Drama in Real Life" feature. I was an avid childhood reader of this, and looked forward every month to the new terrifying scenario someone managed (usually) to survive. One woman wrestled control of her moving vehicle from a kidnapper on the interstate. A family was home-invaded. A boy got hit by lightning at school. Pretty sure that one died.

So when it's on the line, I'll be ready. I'll be able to run all night through fields and forests, outstripping my faceless pursuers (why would I ever be chased?). I'll be strong enough to climb things to hide. And when the chase ends and we're face to face, I can use my three years of high school karate.

If it were me, I would've outrun that lightning.

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