The occasional person runs after a hat blown from atop their heads on a windy day. An unlucky few run for their lives from axe murderers – or, more likely, after a particularly bad date. Some run for president, some from their fears. And SOME run because, well, they like it. Because it’s “good” for you. God forbid.
My running habits are a concoction of the above statements, with the exception that there is not enough Purell in the world to make me want to shake numerous germ-riddled hands on a constant basis – obviously what being president primarily entails. Obviously. Plus, it’s hard to run in heels so after a bad date, I more or less trot unevenly at a quick, but always panicked gait. At that point, he may as well be an axe murderer – I mean, it’s not like we’re going to have a continued friendship after I find out my former date is on Team Edward.
In the words of stand-up comedian Demitri Martin, “I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flip-flops, you’re saying, ‘Hope I don’t get chased today. Be nice to people in sneakers.’”
As a kid, I ran everywhere because life was so exciting and effervescent that there simply was not enough time in the day to explore all it had to offer. Now there could be a tornado warning with a visible sighting of the natural disaster looming outside my window and I’d probably just shrug nonchalantly and be sure to grab my Cheetos before slowly retreating uselessly* to my bathtub.
*Seriously, what are apartment dwellers supposed to do in those situations? Apartments: for the happy-go-lucky. (Read: Single and oh, so alone.) I guess apartment owners figure that if we’re renting in the first place, we’re probably loners, and quite honestly, who’s going to miss us when we blow away in a swirling whirlwind of cats and frozen dinners, our tears, now, the bitter rain.
God, that got dark fast.
Nowadays, I go for long runs outside because I figure it’s a better alternative to going nowhere on some stationary machine at the gym while some sweaty, creepy dude eyeballs me until I see that portions of his lower body appear to be doing some (probably not so heavy) lifting of their own.
Awkward. Which is my point. So, as you can plainly see, the gym is not an option.
Also, the jeans. THE jeans. If you can’t fathom spending an entire paycheck on a pair of jeans lovingly sewed out of heavenly soft cotton crafted from the clouds above by angels themselves, then you can’t possibly understand how amazing they make my derriere look. Derriere. Such a proper word considering I wasn’t above a junk joke not more than two paragraphs ago.
Sadly, I have to fit INTO the aforementioned jeans for this incredible transformation to take place – hence, the running. The jeans are a burden and a blessing.
You can be the biggest advocate for running on the face of Earth, but five minutes into beating that pavement, that phrase gets literal, and quickly. Everyone who has exuberantly and ambitiously taken off running regrets it at some point within the jaunt. Everyone. And if you say, “Oh, I just love it,” I call your bluff. Maybe just for a second, maybe for the entire run, but it’s never FUN, or the movies or my favorite bars would come equipped with a track. And it’s certainly not fun for the whole family, because your baby can’t even log a mile and that just makes the entire family look weak.
I’d say that yes, I love the way I feel after a long run in the country, but I’m pretty sure the joy and peace I feel afterward primarily stem from the 12 hours in the future I don’t have to work out. At that point, I convince myself that I have earned my gravy-dunked fries and twice-battered chicken strips, which lead to a guilty food coma/baby, thus sustaining the vicious circle.
I do love running. To be outside when the grass has just been trimmed with the scent of honeysuckle and lilac in the air is nothing short of wonderful, but that is not to say it doesn’t have its low points. Particularly on ridiculously hot days when I INEVITABLY see a fellow colleague walking toward me a block ahead. Do I cross the street and break out the hurried, abrupt wave as I journey on my way?
Yes. Yes, I do. And the faster I run, the more likely no one will see my (quite worrisome, in fact) oxygen deprivation and become horrified as they realize I’m sweating (quite obscene) bullets.
As they approach, I pick up the pace and envision Rocky climbing those stairs. I’m breathing fiercely out of my nose, mouth closed with gritty determination trying to pull off looking like I’m at perfect ease with my run. Like I could do this all day. Like I love it. Hoping shamelessly that as they drive by, they’ll think: Man, look at that girl go! I am impressed. And GREAT derriere.
Of course, face red with exertion, body pushed to its breaking point, bug-eyed sunglasses on, I am unrecognizable to these familiar faces crossing my path.
When I get home, I collapse on the floor and turn on my air conditioning to the “arctic” setting. Chloe looks at me amusedly with a hint of ridicule before quickly becoming unimpressed, stretching and falling to her side with a disinterested yawn.
In the morning, I’m so sore, I can hardly even get the damn jeans on.