I have never once in my life look forward to the prospect of running. I am convinced the concept of the runners high is a urban legend. Only some crackpot conspiracy theorist could come up with such an idea. Nirvana does not exist at the end of a long run for me. Why do I partake in such a pass time that is nothing short of self torture? Two reasons, first is food drink are an addicting combination and second, if I didn’t I would be as mad as I would be fat.
Nausea, shortness of breath, swollen feet and blisters all sound like side effects of some late night infomercial prescription for male pattern baldness. In reality they are all things I have experience during the countless miles I have had to endure. I use the word endure because that is exactly how I feel about it. I had it forced upon me during college. In order to pay for school, running was a prerequisite. From the first moment I had to run longer then a hundred feet, I knew it wasn’t for me. However, having no other options for obtaining funding for my education, I did indeed endure it.
I cannot, to this day, go for a light jog without feeling some degree of nausea or a tight stomach. As I get into the beginning stretch of my first mile I feel the shock from my feet landing on the hard asphalt travel through my body. Again and again my feet land harder and harder and as I near my first mile my thoughts are beginning to turn on me. My mind is screaming for me to stop and walk back home. I am more tempted then Jesus in the dessert to give in but I can’t I will hate myself even more having started and been forced travel this far on foot. This will go on for the next 2.9 miles. In the last tenth I will sprint to the end as I gasp for air, spit out dried phlegm and near the point of total exhaustion and collapse. Somehow I will manage to make it then buckle over as my lungs beg for air as I begin the walk home and question why I ever did this in the first place.
I have to stretch the moment I get home or I will regret it in the morning. I have rolled ankles, strained muscles and torn skin. None of that ever bothers me until the next day. Stretching will help prevent most of them, all while letting my mind relax and I think to myself how grateful I am that it’s over. As I finish stretching I’ll find myself sitting on my porch in a lawn chair and breathe deeper than I had all day. Now finally the joy of running has hit me. Joy in the sense that it’s over. However, I feel more relaxed, at peace and accomplished than I have all day. It was an ugly and painful event the whole time through but it serves to remind me why I do it in the first place. Not just for the love of twelve fluid ounces golden and delicious liquid joy but because I can can now really enjoy it all. The pain and discomfort it brings serves to remind me that I have earned what I want to enjoy. that nothing ever feels so good or provides much needed relief or satisfaction without working for it. I by no means enjoy discomfort and do not try to seek it out but when I do those uncomfortable things I don’t have to, I know how well earned and precious the things in life are. I hope to remember that, so despite my disdain, I will continue to run. Until the very end.
Run like hell and get the agony over with– Clarence DeMar