Monday, August 31, 2015

20 Miles of Why

I ran 20 miles today and it was awful. It started hard. It was hard in the middle. And it ended like a chafed ass.

Wait… Are you a new runner looking for motivation? I meant to say it was AWESOME.

Um. Maybe stick to 5 mile runs. Those are great. Leisurely. Downright luxurious.

Running 20 miles is like sitting in a bath of scorpions for three hours.

To be fair, part of the reason I say that is because I got some mega chaffage today. My gorgeous ladyfriend, Pixie, has been applying fresh aloe plant to my oozing injuries all evening. It’s delightful. And stingy.

Serious. Chaffage.

In trying to get some ideas for this post, I asked Pixie what her first reaction was to me running twenty miles. First she said “owwwwww.”

And then said, “whyyyyy?!?!”

Good question. She then also said something about ice cream and beer. I think she likes that every time I do a stupidly long run we eat ice cream and drink beer for the entire rest of the day. Basically she gets to enjoy the rewards without having to nearly kill herself first. But then she’s one of those unfair naturally skinny folks who could eat a deep fried cow and stay rail thin.

But to get back to why. Because it was part of the plan. Sunday: 20 miles. Actually it’s Geoffrey’s plan, which I’m shamelessly stealing from. I do his long runs with him.  Which means most of the time I spend with him, we’re torturing ourselves.

That’s the only way to do long training runs: To make them a thing that just happens on X day. You wake up. You drink coffee. You poop. You put on shoes. Wince when you realize the sun hasn’t crested the horizon yet. Then run an obnoxiously long distance.

Because if at any point you stop to think about it, you’ll say, “what the f*&k is wrong with me?!?!” That’s why running at the crack of dawn is good. Your brain is too shitty to think. And then by the time you wake up, you’re 5 miles into the run already and by then it’s too late. At that point you just feel like an asshole if you quit like a wuss.

Wuss. Asshole. Aren’t those adjectives pretty? I know. I’m supposed to use words like rockstar. And epic mountain of runningness. That’s the after. Once you suffer, you get to enjoy the euphoric after. While you’re running, it feels like it will never end. But the after. Ooooh the after. So many calories. So much booze.

If you’re new to running, you may be thinking, “so why would I ever want to run that far?!” Because you get too deep into the rabbit hole. You become insane. Good insane. But still insane. It starts when you say, “a marathon? Suuuure, no problem.” You sign up, often drunk, and then say, “shit shit shit, I have to train for this! OMG!”

And then you think, “OK ok. Calm down. No problem. I can run like…. 10…. 20 miles a week. 2? 3 runs a week? I’ll have to leave work early occasionally but that’s fine.” Until you Google a plan.

Well I read the plan. And now I'm tired.

“50 MILES? 6 DAYS A WEEK? Listen honey… Uuuuuuh. TV night? Eggplant parm night? The kids? Yeeeeeaahhhh…. My life is going to be work, sleep, food, and running for the next 3 months. Ooooh, you’re mad…. Well we can talk…. After I do this ten miler. Later!”

But what else are you going to do? I’m bored when I’m not running. I stare at my phone, willing for it to entertain me. I ask Pixie if she wants to watch TV…. After we’ve already spent 5 hours on the couch. I open the fridge door and just stare at its contents, until I remember that I haven’t run yet and don’t have any free calories.

Running is painful and exhausting. But it makes you feel like you climbed Mt. Everest, found the cure for the common cold, and fed half the starving kids in Africa, all at once. And you don’t have to think about it. Normally if I want to do something important with my life, I have to think, and be motivated, and do stuff. With running there’s none of that.

One moment I’m a disgusting blob on the couch, the next moment I’m superman.

It’s the cheat code to life. It’s not a great cheat code. Your legs pretty much always hurt. And your friends keep checking the obituaries for your name. But you don’t worry about it. Nothing worries you. You feel like your whole life is on the fast track to Awesome City.

Awesome City. Population: You.

It’s easy to think, “well instead of running every waking hour of the day, I could do literally anything else.” But what? Seriously? I mean, OK, if you have kids, you should probably keep them alive. If you’re slaying pirates in Somalia, sure, that’s awesome.

But you’re not. You’re totally not. Your kids are fine. In fact they wish you’d leave so they could pilfer your liquor cabinet. You occasionally think about donating $25 when you see a sad child on the TV. But other than that your options are, “5 hours of video games? Go shopping for shoes? Make the seventh sandwich of the day?”

Or, you could run. And be AMAZING.

Running is an addiction. It’s a drug. Except it won’t make your brain ooze out your ears (pretty sure I saw that as a side effect on a bottle of aspirin). If you’ve never run before, it makes no sense. Jamming needles into my arms makes no sense to me. But there are folks who love that shit.

If you run for long enough, you’ll get hooked. But thankfully it’s a habit that makes you a better person. One that won’t land you in jail (unless you run too fast past the speed limit sign. Ha!) And running teaches you how to push yourself. And how to stay driven. And to persevere despite pain and anguish. So that if you do decide to go beat up pirates, you’ll be mentally and physically prepared to do so.

Long story short, if your dream has always been to sail the high seas and skewer ne’er-do-wells, start by running.

Here, use this.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Screw Results; Just Run

Running is hard enough without piling on expectations.

You’re already beating yourself up physically.

Why beat yourself up emotionally too?

That’s dumb. And you’re dumb for doing it.

Just kidding. You’re awesome for running. And I’m guilty of it too. My last half marathon sucked because I thought I was going to run it fast and instead I disintegrated like a snowman in August. Actually, that’s pretty much exactly what happened.

I was the snowman. Melting, oozing, and collapsing in slimy globs. And the whole time hating myself for how shitty I was doing. That’s the worst part: Switching my focus from my stride to calling myself ever more creative obscenities. “You’re a stupid asshole; a slow fat asshole; like a dumb… fat… pumpkin. Asshole pumpkin.”

It doesn’t even make sense. But when I’m mad, I start frothing and raging incoherent nonsense. Which only makes me madder. See where this is going? And before the word “mad” meant “angry”, it meant “insane”, which is even more appropriate.

So mad

Goals are good. They give you something to strive towards. Expectations are bad. Because if you fail to meet an expectation, you feel like you just let a cute puppy die. And meeting a goal stops being something to celebrate with pizza and ice cream. You just think, “yeah, that’s right I beat my goal time! Otherwise I’d kick my own ass!”

My friend Geoffrey keeps telling me how fast he thinks I’m going to run the marathon we’re training for. And every prediction he makes keeps getting faster and faster. And the whole time I’m thinking, “ugh, my only goal is to not die.” And if I die, well then I don’t have to worry about feeling bad. Otherwise, my plan for that weekend is to eat and drink a lot, run a lot, and then eat and drink a lot more. And it’s going to be freaking awesome.

Don’t run with any sort of prediction or desired outcome in mind.

Run because you run.

You’re a warrior. A viking. A king (or queen) among mere mortals. You run because that’s who you are. Your heart pumps pure power. Copy machine breaks at work? YOU TEAR IT TO SHREDS WITH YOUR MIGHTY PAWS. Unemployment check to small? YOU DEVOUR IT AND SHIT OUT ROCKET FUEL. Person in the next jail cell over too loud? YOU TERRIFY THEM INTO SUBMISSION WITH A ROCK SHATTERING ROAR.

Ok, maybe I went off the rails there. But the point is, miniscule life issues are nothing to you. You conquer the world every time you lace up your shoes. You conquer pain, fatigue, and suffering every single day. You’re a machine of conquest. Your body and soul are pure strength.

On many sites and forums within the mystical tentacles of the interwebs, I see folks asking questions like, “how do I lose 80 pounds in a week?”… “How do I benchpress a medium-sized yak in a month?”… “If I drink half a glass of milk and lift my cat, will I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?” (I will literally never learn how to spell his name without googling it.)

These people are doomed to failure. When you have such lofty expectations, you can’t help but fail them. And it just becomes an excuse to give up. “Well, I lifted a bison, but my real goal was a yak. I quit.” (I’m not sure which one is heavier. I know yaks are more furry, which may up the challenge factor.) Maybe you’re not expecting to halve your pace in two weeks, but even minor expectations set you up for constant disappointment. And all those guilt-burgers you consume will make you chubba-lubba.

Stop beating yourself up, you doofus.

If you want to be healthier, eat healthier. Don’t do it because you want to look like a runway model by next Monday. Just do it because that’s who you are now: A healthy person. If you want to start exercising, then do it. Don’t tell all your friends, “yo bro, I’m gonna get so swole.” Just exercise because that’s who you are now: A copious exerciser. If you want to run, then just run. You’re a runner now. The end.

It doesn’t matter how sore, or tired, or hungry, or cranky, or thirsting-for-ale I am. I have to run every day. There’s not the choice to not run. And it doesn’t matter if I’m getting better or worse (or at least feel worse). It doesn’t matter if I think my next race is going to suck yak-butt. It doesn’t matter if I drunkenly signed up for an ultra-marathon next weekend with no training. I just quit my whining and run.

Quit whining.

Stop it. Stop. Next time you feel like whining, just go running instead.

You’re accomplishing something that most people wouldn’t even try. Most people give up just thinking about it. “I can’t do that,” they say. Or, “I will never be as fast as Bob in accounting. Why would I humiliate myself?” As soon as you picture the finish line, it suddenly looks very far away. Don’t. Just picture the next stop. “Run around the block? I mean, I’m pretty sure I could do that with two broken legs.” Hell yeah you can, double-cast man!

Maybe I could make it!

It has to become a part of who you are. Not for any specific purpose. But just because that’s your identity now. “Why do you run?”

“I have no clue.”

“What’s your goal?”

“Surviving would be nice. Hopefully they’ll have some beer left by the 
time I stumble across the finish.”

“How fast are you?”

“I wouldn’t escape being an entree in the cheetah restaurant.”

I don’t think cheetahs have restaurants. The world is their restaurant. And the world is your track. You own all of it. That is your power. Roads, forests, hills, mountains. Heck, even the bottom of the ocean, if you have one of those oversized scuba suits (Marianas Trench Marathon? SIGN ME UP!). None of it is out of reach for you.

And it’s not because you demand success from yourself. You don’t think that far. You just do it because you’re awesome. And anything you accomplish is already leagues beyond most of your neighbors. Who cares if you didn’t beat your mile time. John Johnnerson next door considers it an accomplishment to get off his couch.

The only person who matters is you. Choose to feel amazing. Because you are. You so freaking are.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Running and Drinking… Running and Drinking

Let me be honest. I’m quite buzzed right now. I won’t use the word “drunk”…

OK, I’m drunk.

Also I’m watching Batman. No seriously, I needed to play something I’d already seen so I could focus on writing.

But this is the beginning scene where Joker robs the bank. It’s pretty action-packed. “You and your friends are dead!” Seriously man. I picked the wrong movie.

Running turns you into an alcoholic.

OK for real, this movie is distracting. I’m drinking a delightful and smoky reposado. After drinking…. I don’t know how many Coors Lights. Normally I’m a pretentious micro-brew man, but Pixie is out of town, so I’m spoiling myself with the “dessert of beers”.

The batmobile has a “loiter” mode. That’s my only mode. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I count calories. This used to mean that I would have to stop eating and drinking after a certain point so I wouldn’t go back to “fat Peter”.

But I run a LOT now. And I get to a point where I’m just too full to eat. I made a pot of minestrone soup earlier. And I ate ALL of it. Harvey just disarmed the guy on the stand who tried to shoot him. “If you want to kill a public servant, Mr. Marone, I suggest you buy American.” Man. Awesome.

I just get too full to eat anymore. But I still have room in my budget for calories! And I have to fill them out. Most runners are just made of bone and sinew. But unfortunately, like an asshole, I lift too. So I have all of this meat I have to support too.

I know I sound like an alcoholic coming up with elaborate excuses to support his addiction. And you’re 100% right!

The end.

Or it would be. But I still have to write 700 more words so that the search engines give me some love. I hate this SEO bullshit. But the fact is….

Marathon training makes you a super alcoholic.

I’m running almost 60 miles a week. That’s 6,000 calories, if I was running super slow. But occasionally my heart rate rises (I’m still trying to beat my record of 187 beats per minute). So it’s more than that. If I didn’t fill up those 6,000+ calories. I would lose two pounds a week. Two pounds!

So after I get so full that I literally cannot jam any more physical substance into my body without exploding, I have to turn to liquid calories. Fluid magically fits into the nooks and crannies remaining in my belly. So that I can hit my budget. My big, bloated, drunken budget.

Big and bloated.

Oooooh, this is the meeting with all the mobsters where the Joker stabs the guy with a pencil. I have to watch this scene for a minute. “And I thought my jokes were bad.” Haha. Never gets old.

Unfortunately, I’m so fit now, I never really pay the price for my excess. Pixie pays the price. She has to deal with me falling asleep before my head finishes crashing to the pillow. But I get sleepy. It’s a terrible pattern. Run, drink, crash, repeat. If I didn’t work full time too, we could maybe have picnics and swim under waterfalls before I turned into a piece of shit.

She’s excited for when I’m finished with my marathon, and frankly, I am too. I’m looking forward to eating dinner, making out, reading a book on the couch with my arm around her, maybe making out some more. I’m not really an adult, so I’m not sure what happens after making out. I heard it’s nice though.

But my life now is just concrete, beer, concrete, tequila, concrete, whiskey, and so on. You get the point.

I eat. I eat a lot. Geoffrey and I did a long run today. Afterwards, I had fish tacos. And that came with steak fries. And we were still hungry so we got extra fries. And also we had beers. And then I came home and made minestrone soup and drank more beers. And then my stomach swelled past the table so I had to switch to tequila.

I feed the pets. They’re alive and happy. I even walked Sally to the pond. She took a massive poop, which is good. She’s very picky about her pooping. She won’t let on that she needs to go. And then suddenly you find a gift by the front door. But I took her on a walk, a walk on my sore achy legs, down by the pond, and she had a delightful epic poop. It was so good that I felt good just watching her. Come on, don’t lie. You watch your dog poop too.

So happy... And poop free.

Bruce Wayne absconded with the entire Russian ballet. That bastard. He’s just rich. If I was rich, I would buy an awesome suit and kick a bunch of ass too. “You want to know how I got these scars.” And now the Joker again. How am I even still writing?!? “Why. So. Serious.”

Holy hell.

“Let’s put a smile on that face.”

I have a smile on my face. I can’t help it. Running wipes out all of the ills of the world. And if any of them remain, nagging at the corners of my brain, alcohol gives them the killing blow. It also takes a few brain cells with it, but I’m not in school anymore, so I don’t have to worry about remembering things or being able to do basic math anymore.

I seriously had to pause the movie. Batman is in China, using some stupid f*$king super-technology to kick even more ass. I had to stop because you, poor reader, would have to deal with just too many quotes and incoherent bullshit.

Because I’m not getting any more sober. Just….. FYI.

I honestly don’t know how regular running folks deal with it. OK, I do know. Folks who only run a few miles a week don’t have to worry about food and such. And folks who run a huge amount…. Usually weigh like 130 pounds. I’m some bizarre beast, who weighs a lot and runs a lot. And I like having stupid abs, even though you can’t see them under my shirt, because I’m stupid. And more stupid.

And life doesn’t punish me. Running this much makes you stupidly fit. So if you’re a new runner, make a note of that, in case you need encouragement. I don’t get hung over anymore. I go to bed late and still wake up when the sun rises. But I’m not sleepy at work. And I get home ready to run. And I somehow find the motivation to write blogs about Batman (which is what I should have made my blog about… then I’d have a ton of readers!).

I have no clue what my point is. I may have had a point when I started writing, but I honestly don’t remember it anymore. When I was much younger, I did stupid things, like driving drunk. Don’t worry, I got caught. So the vigilante in you can relax. These days I just drink on the couch. And often pass out on the same couch.

Maybe my point is that before I started running, I was scattered. I had all of the same vices. I may pretend that running gives me an excuse, but plenty of us drink just because it feels good.

Alcohol feels super good.

Almost as good as ice cream.

If anything, running gives me structure. I have to run. And I have to plan my day around it. If I can’t run until late evening, that means I won’t start drinking until afterwards Although that means I have to cram a lot of drinking in a short window. Sorry Pixie. And if I have to run early in the morning, that means I can’t stay up late drinking the night before.

Running gives structure to my many vices. It forces me to be very aware of them. It forces me to admit how much I suck. But I’m OK with sucking. When I run, I feel like a superhero. And when I drink, I can just pretend I’m satisfying the calorie requirement for my superheroism.

I’ll never go on a vegan diet. I’ll probably never stop drinking. But I’m still going to be healthy. Because I exercise like a maniac. And even though I fancy myself to be a moderate type of guy, the fact is I only average out to moderate. But you know, there’s plenty of people who live in the extremes. That’s our nature.

Humans are weird. Really weird.

So my obsession with running, in its own weird way (its as a possessive pronoun doesn’t require a quote), makes me sort of less obsessed. All of the craziness in my life balances out. As Mr. Burns says, “I’m immortal!” If you don’t get the reference it won’t make any sense.

“Any psychotic ex-boyfriends I should know about.”

“Oh… You have no idea.”

OK, I can’t focus anymore. Maybe I’ll write a sober update tomorrow. Goodnight!

Every evening ends like this.

Sober update 8/24/2015: Nope, I wasn't making any point. I think the post gives you the, uhhh, gist of how my life is currently. And true to what I said, I woke up not hung over and reasonably well rested. Although I'm really full. And really gassy. My coworkers are going to hate me today. I'll add though that I'm slightly better rounded than I made myself out to be above. Slightly.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

6 Ways to Trick your Brain into Running

Photo Cr. Geoffrey Brown

If being “good” for us was the only reason we needed to exercise, we’d all be svelte, sexy, healthy individuals. Only people who were born with arms in place of eyeballs would need health insurance. Grocery stores would only stock free range chickens carrying broccoli in adorable little backpacks. Our excuse for why we were late to work would be, “my shoe got a flat.” Unfortunately it’s not the case.

Our love of food and laziness nukes our brains.

It’s hard to walk past 50 isles of chocolate and bacon blasted treats with names like “Diabetes Explosion Xtreme” on our way to the kale flavored fiber isle. It’s hard to drink stupid boring water when our fridge has enough beer to survive an apocalypse. It’s hard to batter our bodies for hours when the world’s fluffiest couch weeps, “don’t you love me anymore?”

I hate you couch, and yet I love you. In fact, let me introduce you to my close friend, Scotch.

We evolved to eat, and rest, do about 15 minutes of stuff, and then eat and rest some more. No part of our monkey ancestors enjoyed needless pain and suffering, except for perhaps the occasional self-flagellation by banana. So we have to trick our bulbous brains to run.

Here are six ways to keep tricking that hungry lazy brain.

1. Knowing why you run

This may seem obvious, but you have to have a reason to go out in the broiling heat or frozen hellscape (it’s never anywhere in between, is it?) every day. And as I established above, “because it’s good for me” is not enough.

Almost dying is a great one (great describes “one”, not the dying part). Not wanting to almost die again is a surefire way to make yourself keep running. Because if it’s an option between “kinda sore” and “kinda dead”, we’d often pick the former. Often. But not everyone has the “luxury” of a near fatal event to drive them.

The reason for me was stepping on the scale. I know, terrible idea. If you want to sustain your love for pastries, never buy a scale. In fact, go ahead and destroy all your mirrors too. Because accidentally catching a reflection of yourself and seeing that you have more chin than face is a real downer. Even my beard had become insufficient to obfuscate reality.

The scale.... And her judgment

So you should have a very strong reason for why you start running. And then you must remind yourself of it regularly. This isn’t hard for me. My entire life story is on Facebook, just the way the NSA likes it. I inadvertently stumble across old photos of myself, and think, “dear lord, never again! I enjoy my regular gravitational pull.”

For still others, running is a great way to escape or handle personal demons. For example, my friend Geoffrey has much less energy to date just totally insane women now that he runs so much. And I make sure to remind him of previous escapades on a regular basis. I’m kind of a terrible friend. My way of helping friends deal with emotional issues is, “yeah, you’re super f@#ked up. Remember that thing you just did? That was terrible. Anyway you should probably go on a run now before your brain devours you from the inside.” Good times.

So find your reason. Write it down if you’re literate. If you’re not literate, then I won’t bother giving you advice, as you’re obviously just scanning these words pretending to read to trick your coworkers. THEY'RE NOT READING. IT’S A LIE.

2. Routine

Even if you have a great reason to run, you still have to balance it with work, family, and your ten-hours-a-day Netflix addiction. If you only have one free hour after work and before dinner with your eight screaming rugrats, you may be tempted to just relax… or perhaps to cry quietly in the corner. But if you always run after work before dinner, it stops being something you have to think about and choose to do. You automatically set down your suitcase, whip off your tie with a flourish, strip naked in your living room like a maniac, lace up your shoes, and hit the outside air (at some point in there I hope you also put on shorts).

Am I making the claw??

If you have specific days and times when you always run, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. This is easy for me: My routine is every single day, because I have no life and hate my feet. But if you only have 3 days a week, make sure you run on each of those 3 days, consistently. And then maybe ask yourself if you really need 4 days a week to dust your VHS collection. “This copy of Lion King is going to be worth millions someday!”

Don’t look for excuses here. It’s easy to flake on a run because it’s drizzly and you don’t want to ruin your new perm. Even if it’s the hottest day of the year, and it’s simultaneously somehow snowing (hey, I live in upstate New York; it’s not even that unlikely), you should be outside in shorts and snowshoes. Checking the weather is for what you should wear on the run, not for if you’re going to run. “If” doesn’t exist in your dictionary. Also, get a new dictionary.

3. Make it fun

Sure, running can feel like arbitrarily punishing yourself. I mean maybe you feel bad that you snapped at your buddy for eating all your kale flavored fiber. But most people assuage their guilt with ice cream, not exercise. But there are ways to make running more fun. Not as fun as ice cream, but more fun than…. weeding I guess.

Running in new places is fun. Don’t only run on your street. You will become way too familiar with your neighbors and their man-flesh-hungry dogs. Try a majestic forest, or at least a majestic suburb. Turn left instead of turning right. Get lost a little. Just be careful not to turn a 4 mile run into a 10 mile run. I’ve done that. It’s awesome.

Run with a friend! You will be amazed at how quickly the time goes by. I run with Geoffrey pretty often. And even though we usually talk about running while running, it’s still more entertaining than talking to yourself (and really, you’re not that fascinating, amIright?). Just take care if they run 12 minute miles and you’re an 8 minute miler. Unless you either need a rest day or want to explode their chest.

Get toys. We all love to frivolously spend money. And running gives you one more reason to buy all sorts of gadgets and running kilts (mine’s on its way!). New shoes, new socks, a new watch, even a water bottle that’s ultramarine instead of your disgustingly boring blue one will all make running more fun.

Pictured: Toy

Music works too. I generally don’t run with headphones, for reasons I’ll get into in a future post. But sometimes if I’m really not looking forward to a run (for example because it’s a 100 degrees and also somehow snowing), I’ll listen to music to make it suck less. It’s like a little reward to myself. A peaceful time: Just me and my death metal.

4. Make goals

Create goals for yourself. Don’t just run and run and run forever with no purpose. That’s like trying to get to the end of the rainbow. It’s forever away. And there’s not even any gold. Just water vapor that will clog up your lungs (we runners are a persnickety bunch).

The simplest goal is a race. Whether it’s a 5K, a half marathon, a full marathon, or an ultra (because you want to go from just having no life to becoming some sort of Bigfoot… a mysterious figure that’s out there, somewhere, but nobody ever sees it). Or if you want to cheat, there’s also triathlons and tough mudders and plenty of other ways to try to kill yourself. In any event, having a race that you’ve signed up for will keep you running. Just make sure to sign up for another race right afterwards!

And if that race is too far away, you can set goals in the short term to reach. This can be a PR (personal record), or even just doing better than your last run (a little faster, a little farther, a little less drunk). And if you followed my suggestion above about blowing all your discretionary cash on gizmos, your running watch will do a great job of tracking your accomplishments and challenging you to beat them! For example, the maximum heart rate I’ve ever hit is 187. Next time I’ll hit 188! By the way, this is a terrible goal.

Goal: Reach the end of the street without freezing to death.

Having a target, a record to conquer, will make you downright excited to run! I know, that sounds totally ridiculous. But yes, it’s absolutely possible to actually want to run. In fact, you get downright addicted to it! Insane I know. But I’ve seen folks with addictions to little plastic trolls, so nothing is impossible.

5. Support system

Friends, family, loved ones, and even that cantankerous neighbor who yells at you for stealing her newspaper every morning (hey, my internet at home is terrible) can all motivate and inspire you to keep running. Granted, if your significant other believes that putting jam in a doughnut makes it healthy, it may be tough to resist that logic, especially if your mind says, "that makes way more sense to me than running."

But the more people in your life push you, the easier it gets to keep doing it. Making friends with other runners especially helps. Suddenly you're not the craziest person in your life. I recently joined a group online called L.U.N.A.R. (Lace Up Now And Run!). When I read the posts of other runners, I almost feel normal. And the founder, Shawn Mastrantonio, posts inspiring messages every day that kick me right in my lazy ass.

Of course, it's not only other runners who can inspire you. My girlfriend Pixie is the most hard-working and self-motivated individual I've ever met. She wanted a house so she built her own house. No seriously, I get to live in it. It's a piece of magic. Except for the spotty internet. But also chickens! And a really obnoxious rooster.

Obnoxious rooster... or cantankerous neighbor. You decide.

Running is a very solitary act. When you're actually in your shoes and on the road, it's just you and your ludicrous thoughts. But don't let the rest of your life be solitary. Fill it with people who not only accept you're crazy, but in fact inspire it! The good kind of crazy that is. Maybe don't accept Jim's offer to sneak flasks into a family restaurant.

6. Reward system

This is the ultimate way to "trick" your brain. Give yourself rewards for running. Your brain may actually not rebel. It will say, "running? Ugh, that's a terrible... Wait, we get to eat how much sugar afterwards? Well then hurry up you bastard! I want that in me!"

Food and booze is the easy one. I count calories and the double benefit is that every time I run, I add extra calories into my budget. Calories I fill gluttonously with a colossal amount of solid and liquid carbs. I would feel bad if I didn't feel so freakin' amazing.

Just line them up. They're all going in my face.
Even if your level of self-hate is marginally lower than mine and you don't count calories, you can still reward yourself with your favorite treat: Pizza, cheesecake, ice cream with bacon and french fries in it, anything! Just make sure you don't normally eat that stuff. Otherwise your brain will say, "wait, you let me eat that for free yesterday. Now I have to work for it? What the heck you duplicitous scoundrel."

Other rewards work too. Maybe you've been eying that iPhone 17 (or whatever it's up to now). Don't let yourself get it until you've run 100 miles! Adjust as necessary. 100 miles may be a whole summer for you. For me it's less than 2 weeks, so that's pretty much like saying, "I'll get it with my next paycheck." Just kidding. All my paychecks go into beer and shoes.

With the 6 top notch "tricks" above, you should be well on your way to getting your brain to surrender. After a while it'll just sit quietly in a corner of your skull with a pipe and a newspaper saying, "whatever, go. Just don't stay out too late."

This post is dedicated to L.U.N.A.R. and the organization it promotes: