Everyone these days say they like to run… but I’m a little skeptical. It’s supposedly the way to ‘recharge’, ‘connect with nature’, or ‘get away’. But I’m really not seeing how you can do any of those things with jabbering earbuds and a portable jukebox strapped to your arm. If you like to run so much, why do you need music?
I argue that running and running with music are two different things. Is running really that boring that you have to fill your already cluttered mind with guitar riffs and clean vocals? Whatever happened to the all-natural distractions: the sound of your sneakers pounding the pavement, the slightly blurred, bouncing landscape, the yells from the passenger windows of passerbyers?
The last time I ran just to run… September. My distance: 2.1 miles. My time: probably longer than 20 minutes. (I’ll admit I stopped to walk for a block… it was somewhere in-between mile one and mile two.) Overall it was a nice run. No U2 in my ears. I really felt like I could focus on my form and concentrate on my breathing. (There’s no way I would have noticed my wheezing, coughing, or gasping otherwise.) But I can only handle myself talking to myself for so long… I realize now that I get kinda annoying after about 15 minutes. That’s when I knew it was time to head home. Well, that and the death-cramp in my left calf.
But honestly, I like to run… if there is some sort of ball involved. Volleyball, croquette, foosball. (Yeah, you just try and play foosball without your heart jumping out of your chest. Really good exercise.) I just feel like there’s some purpose if there’s a ball involved. Think about this: you find a random guy running down the street with his Ipod in, then give him a football and put a 6’5” 240 pound linebacker behind him… you just watch him pick up the pace on that mile split.
Another confession: I did run track in high school. That’s a sport that is almost worse than cross country. Not only do you have to run, but you have to run in circles. Like a dog chasing his tail. I remember my coach wanted me to run the 800m. That’s half a mile, two laps around the track. My response, “But coach, I already saw everything the first time around.” The farthest I ever ran was 400m, one lap. In track, this is the farthest distance one can run before being bored to tears.
But I was good at my lap. I was so good I came in last place at the State finals. That’s right… dead last. Now, 51 seconds is pretty fast… but 48 seconds is faster. I also ran the 100m high hurdles and the 300m intermediate hurdles. Why? I have no idea. (I blame Willie and Bret. I should have done pole vault with Russ.) I fell more times than Steve Urkel. It was like I had a magnet secretly inserted behind my knee cap. It was exhausting, falling down and then getting up.
I should have played soccer.