Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I know Insanity, and it is Running

People who are insane do things that make complete sense to them, but not to "normal people". If they wear a colander on their heads, it's because they firmly believe that aliens are trying to drill into their brains. Which they are, FYI.

To pasta-head, wearing protective gear on his head makes perfect logic. But to everyone else, he  just looks crazy. Enjoy your free alien brain surgery, "sane" people!

I now can relate to those batshit folks.

As a runner, I am insane.

On Sunday, I set my alarm to get up at 6 am. You can already tell something is wrong with me. It was cold, dark and raining. And I was going to go running in this bullshit. Uh-oh, my mental health is starting to look worrying!

It was a long run day for me and Geoffrey, our last 20-miler before our marathon. But it wasn't enough for us to stay up late drinking, get up at a comfortable hour, drink some coffee and take a poop, and go running when the sun was out. No, we decided to run a 10 mile race. "But that's only half of 20!" You cry. That's right! Which meant we had to run 10 more. Before a 10 mile race.

We ran the race twice. Because why not. Oh right, sanity.

The race started at 9:30am, which meant we had our bibs on and were running the course before 8am. They didn't have the volunteers out yet (they were probably all still blissfully asleep), so we were dodging traffic (me in my kilt) way before people knew they had to look for idiot runners to not run over. We ran our 10 mile "warm up" at an easy 9:10 pace. For over an hour and a half. And then the second time around, we raced the 10 miles as fast as our broken legs would carry us. Oh, and somewhere in there, we would suffer "the wall", and had to pretend not to. "Tee hee, I'm just dying is all."

Maybe I should pay attention to this suggestion.

The 10 mile race was two 5 mile loops. So we ran it four times altogether. The volunteers started coming out during our 2nd time around. They probably assumed the race had already started, and that we were way ahead (roar!). The second time around, they knew something was up. But they were friendly, and made sure we weren't flattened by trucks. The third time around they were like, "what the heck? How long is the race?!" 20 miles for us, buddy! Some of these folks saw us 6 times, enough that we had a dinner-party's worth of conversation. In particular, there was one friendly police officer who was especially impressed with us. Or maybe that's just how people react to insane people ("If I act nice, they'll go away"). I fist bumped him the last time around. I got to know these folks so well, I was going to miss them!

Somehow, my finish time was better than it had been the previous year, even though last year, I ran "only" ten miles. My legs were completely shot for the next two days. And if this is any indication, then after my marathon I won't be able to walk for a solid week. I'm starting to rethink my life choices. "Regular folks" don't volunteer to have their bodies destroyed, over and over. But then, I know a lot of runners. Maybe there's something in the air. Some kind of "hate myself" flu that's going around.

I have a friend, Frank, from the next state over who just signed up for an Ironman on impulse. In case you don't know, that's over 140 miles of suicide. 11 hours is considered a good time. 11 hours! You can work, eat, watch TV, make love, and read a few chapters of your favorite book all in that time. All those things! Instead of dedicating your life to finding out exactly how much punishment your body can handle, you can probably write a screenplay and cure cancer. Or really anything your heart desires.

My heart desires endless lazying.

So what reason is there to run if not insanity? But then, there's a flipside to insanity. Sane people look insane to you. "You mean you don't run hours every day? You're crazy man. Enjoy your heart disease and alzheimer's at 40." Not that I wish for anyone to get a crippling disease at a young age. Though just a couple hours ago, while I was taking my - I don't know - fourth walk around my office building, I saw a woman drive 500 feet so she could get lunch. It seriously took her more time, just so she would have to do slightly less exercise. And yes, I checked for a handicapped sticker on her SUV (because of course an SUV). Nope, she's just fat.

In addition to sounding crazy, I also probably sound like an asshole to most people. I think just by the fact that I push myself so far and so hard every day, it's easier for them to get angry at me then to look at themselves in the mirror. I try to be modest. "I don't know what's wrong with me," is a common phrase that escapes my lips. But occasionaly they make the mistake of asking me what I did over the weekend. Hold on while I get a calculator to add up all these miles. I wake up earlier on weekends than I do on work days.

In all fairness, I have become more judgmental. I used to be really judgmental when I was young, because I was a weird shitty kid and looking down on others was easier than admitting my own failings. Then I made a big effort to just accept everyone for all their foibles, and for a while I was a nice guy. But then I started running, a lot. And I've come full circle. I look at folks now and think, "really? you don't have an hour in between Hulu and Netflix to hit the pavement? You don't even have to run fast! Heck, you can even walk. Your ancestors walked everywhere! They didn't complain that they had a whole lot of oats to sow back home." It was walk, or stay home forever until you died.

Screw the scenery. I'm staying home.

But we don't need to walk or run or really even move much anymore. And in the same way that you don't cook your beans over a pile of burning wood when the microwave is right there, so too do you not have to run around in endless circles when you can just hop into an air-conditioned truck and watch the odometer roll over. Soon we won't even have to walk to the fridge anymore. Adorable little robots will bring us sandwiches, beer, and blowjobs to our hearts' content.

Though in all fairness, I'm kind of looking forward to the BlowBot 3000. Just saying.

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