I Totally Love It and F*cking Depise It: My Relationship With Running

I’ve been running pretty consistently since 1997. Sophomore year in high school, I got cut from the soccer team, so like all soccer rejects, I joined the cross country team. Thankfully my BFF also joined, and mostly we ran at the back of the pack, giggling about how bad we sucked. I continued to run during college, throughout my 20s, and now into my 30s. I’ve since logged countless pairs of shoes, 4 marathons, 4 half marathons, 3 Tough Mudders, and a handful of smaller road races. All of these experiences have led me to one conclusion:

Running f*cking sucks. And it’s the most amazing thing on earth. A beautiful oxymoron.

On Good Days:

  • I have cotton under my feet as I prance from cloud to cloud with a blissful invincibility coursing through my body.
  • A 3 miler turns into a 5 miler.
  • Time flies by in a blur of awesome music as the miles gloat effortlessly into space.
  • I smile at everyone I pass by, wanting some of my happy to be absorbed into them.
  • I’m pretty sure Nike is going to call and ask me to model their new shoes in a print campaign.
  • I wonder how quickly I can train for an ultra marathon.
  • I want to work at Runners World and loudly declare that running will solve all the problems in this world.
  • I’m fairly certain I could keep pace with the Kenyans in the marathon.

On Bad Days:

  • I wonder how my shoes suddenly weigh 10 pounds more today.
  • There’s an invisible forcefield that pushes me backwards while tightly grasping my thighs.
  • A 5 miler turns into a 3 miler.
  • Curse words escape my lips in rapid succession.
  • I growl at everyone I pass by, wanting them to suffer as much I am.
  • There’s a demon in my head telling me that I should just quit.
  • That demon also tells me that my ass will always be fat.
  • I wonder if I fake an ankle injury how quickly I can bum a ride back to my apartment.
  • I’m pretty sure the sidewalks keeps regenerating because I’ve been running along this same awful stretch for at least 4 hours now.

I’ve also been thinking about WHY I run. I’ll certainly never win any races or look like Jessica Biel. So what am I running toward (or away from)? Some of my friends run so they can eat whatever they want. Some do it for the endorphin rush, or because it helps clear their mind. Me, I’m not really sure why I run. But if I have to venture a guess, I would say for the free beer.

What I Thought Versus What I Am

I know that you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others. You shouldn’t be jealous of what others have, or as the Bible puts it, “Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Hut” or something.  But as I’m around the corner from turning 33, and all my friends in North Andover have mortgages and a lot of babies, I can’t help but take stock of my personal inventory. So, I thought about all the things I imagined I would have by the age of 30, and I’m comparing those with what I actually have at 32:

The house I thought I would live in:

The apartment I actually live in:

The family I thought I would have:

The family I actually have:

The car I thought I would drive:

The car I actually drive:

What I thought I’d do for fun:

What I actually do for fun:

What I thought I’d be drinking:

What I’m actually drinking:

What I thought I’d be writing about:

What I’m actually writing about: