Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Running to Escape

While I'm running, I'm not worried about what I have to do later, or the next day. I'm not worried about money and my lack thereof. I'm not worried about my loved ones and whatever tension I may be experiencing with them. I'm not worried about work. I'm not worried about my email. In fact, there's nothing, except for the road.

I look forward to running, because it's a free pass from life's challenges. Since I'm doing something that's undeniably good for me, I can escape from the world and feel justified doing so. But a run isn't forever. Sometimes I add more miles to my run, just to push off the finish, when real life crashes back in.

Running becomes an addiction

When I'm running, I can't be dealing with my problems because, well, I'm busy running. But when I'm sitting on the couch, I have no excuse. Sometimes I just want to rest. Sometimes I just get tired of tracking my calories and my spending and trying to figure out what I did to piss everyone off today. Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and block it out. But I can't. It's there, like a buzzing bee.

That period after I've finished running and taken a shower and made sure my cat is still alive is the hardest. Because I feel like I need to be productive for the rest of the day. That I should pull out the looooong list of life to-do's and start knocking them down one by one. But I don't want to. And it's at this point I miss running. I just finished! And already I want to be back on the road.

The sore legs and exhaustion - bizarrely - are also a "perk." Because if I push myself really hard, so hard that I'm completely destroyed afterwards, then I extend that period of time before I have to deal with reality again. Because when I'm that tired, I need to rest. And that giant lunch followed by a three hour nap is part of the run. I can easily kill two-thirds of the day like this. A Sunday well spent. Nevermind that tomorrow is the start of what will be a very long work week.

Rest? Naps? Those all sound great.

Some of the more important things that I need to do, or want to do, require energy. But it's hard to have energy to spare when I exercise every day. And in a cruel twist, if I don't exercise, I become lethargic. I can take a day off to hang out with some friends, but that's about it. After a few days my body says, "oh, you're not using this energy for anything? I'm just going to store it into your belly. Don't worry, everyone loves jiggly bellies. Like Santa Clause! Everyone loves Santa Claus."

I miss the jiggly belly. Well, not the actual belly. But I miss eating and drinking, as much as I wanted. But it's not because I didn't care about how I looked, it's just that for a few years I somehow lied to myself and convinced myself I was fine. And honestly, nobody even cared that much. I mean, they notice the difference now, but it's more like a curiosity. "Is that a new shirt? Oh, you lost 50 pounds? Cool."

I weigh myself every day now. In addition to writing down in a small notepad every time I buy something. And checking my blog to see how long it's been since I last wrote something. It's all part of a habit now, like running. The only hard part about running is getting started. Getting off the couch after a long tiring day, putting my shoes on, and going outside. But after I start, it's great. The stress melts away.

Because all the other shit I do is stressful. I don't know why I do all the things I do, except for some vague goal of constant improvement. I try not to think too much about why, or for whose benefit. When it comes down to it, all the choices we make in life are arbitrary. I can choose to eat pizza and ice cream every day, or I can choose to run every day. And when you put those two side-by-side like that, with seemingly equal merit, it seems obvious. But with pizza and ice cream, I will hate myself.

With running, I don't hate myself. Maybe that's what it is. Maybe that's what I'm really after: Pride. Real pride. From working hard, not giving up, constantly pushing myself for hundreds of miles, through pain and exhaustion.

Maybe this addiction isn't so bad.

Abs, medals, and an excuse to wear kilts? Sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment