I’m lucky enough to live in a period of time in which fleeing from predatory animals is not one of my daily activities. I consider it a gift that the fight or flight part of my brain is dusty and covered in cobwebs from lack of use. I think I am truly fortunate that I can both be alive and relatively functional in society while still being in terrible, terrible shape.
Recently I’ve looked at all these gifts I’ve been given and acted like a spoiled child on his birthday because I’ve begun the awful process of rejecting what has been given to me and trying to replace those gifts with something I think is better.
I’ve started jogging.
It’s awful. Even though I can function somewhat adequately while remaining a floppy soft-bodied naked mole rat of a man, I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to reduce my floppiness. It has been a few weeks, and I’ve run most nights, and each time I do it I am confronted with an undeniable truth.
This is the worst thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve heard a lot about people experiencing a sense of euphoria while they run, and I have an important question for those people. Do you rail a line of coke off your finger before you run or do you have some sort of mid-run sports snorter? How are so many people getting this magic rush of good feelings while doing the worst thing a person could do to themselves? What is actually in Gatorade? I run mostly at night, but I still encounter other like-minded people dutifully hurling themselves along the road, and every time I see their faces they have the same smoldering euphoria in their eyes and plastered across their lips along with a light white foam. It’s like every runner I see is caught in a slow public orgasm. And then there’s me, heaving myself along, gasping, loudly begging for death, really having the opposite of an orgasm.
I do not belong among the runners.
I can make it about 3 miles before my body falls to bits like the Blues Brothers’ car or any arts and crafts project that involves popsicle sticks. Within about 2 minutes of starting the awful jaunt, I’m having trouble remembering what step two is in the two-step process of breathing. By minute 10, the constant jarring of my body has taken the feeling from my feet. By minute 20, I’ve been cursing everything and everyone I see. After 20 minutes, I just spend every breath dryly gasping “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck” while grandparents zoom by me on their electric scooters. I usually sprint the final stretch home, not because I have one final burst of energy to use, and not because I’m excited to end this awful endeavor. I just hope that if I run fast enough, a patrolling police officer will think I’ve just done some violent crime and am fleeing the scene, and then they will shoot me, and it will finally be over.