I’ve recently taken up a form of torture most people call “running.” I did it for a few reasons.
1. I was pissed off one night and was about to go all batshit crazy.
2. Physically, I was getting soft.
3. I just felt like running (said in my best Forrest Gump voice).
But what started off as a way to get some time alone and get out of the house for a while has morphed into something else entirely. It has turned into an ADDICTION. Now mind you, this will certainly not replace wine as my preferred form of sailing off to my happy place. However, it has certainly enhanced my life in a ways that I could not have predicted even if I was the Long Island Medium.
During my inaugural run, I barely went a mile before I thought I was going to keel over and die on the pretty tree-lined street in suburbia that was named after all of the trees that were cut down to make way for houses. But I kept going. I pushed myself. I ran another mile before I stopped. I was sweating buckets and my legs felt like they weighed 1000 pounds each, but I also felt GOOD. The next day I could barely walk, but I was okay with that. A few days later I went for another run and it soon turned into a daily occurrence. About a week or two into it, I realized that I craved my nightly jaunts. After each run, I felt better and better. Then one night after a particularly good run I realized that I had that crazy ubiquitous feeling that I had previously thought was an urban legend - the runner’s high. I will not go so far to say that it makes me happier than wine, BUT it's pretty damn close.
Then I started thinking about doing a few races. And of course, that thought scared the shit out of me, so I registered for one. The night of my first race (just a 5k, I wanted to start small) I was nervous but excited. It was a trail race. There were about a hundred people running it and I didn’t know any of them. When the starting gun went off, I took off at a moderate pace. A few minutes into it I was passing people but people were also passing me. I was okay with that, as I just wanted to keep a comfortable pace, at least at first. But then I got passed by an older gentleman and for some reason it kinda ticked me off. Who the hell did he think he was, passing me? Was I going to let some old man beat me? The thought of that got me to pick up my pace a little and a few minutes later I blew by him. When I got to the finish line and realized I was under my goal time of 30 minutes, I was ecstatic. I was also sweaty and thirsty, but lucky for me this particular race offered runners free beer afterward. (Hey, I have my priorities.)
Last night I ran in another race and I’m planning to do at least two more during the next few months. I’d like to do some 10k runs next year and maybe possibly do a half-marathon. (What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.) My body is often sore, but I don’t mind. I’m building muscle. I can feel it and see it! Hamstrings! Calves! Abs! Oh my! Don’t get me wrong; there are times when I’m hitting the pavement (or trail, I like to change it up a bit), that I hit the wall and feel like I can’t go any farther. But those times are getting increasingly shorter and the wall keeps feeling lower. So I power through. Isn’t that what life is all about? Moving forward and powering through? After all, if you stand still for too long, you’re bound to get ran over.