Wednesday, June 16, 2010

These shoes were made for running

I love running. OK. Hold on. Maybe I lust running. Wait. No. I don’t know. I fall in and out of love with running, and it’s the kind of relationship that you would guess won’t result in marriage, but man, the sex is good. So I keep coming back, tricking myself that maybe this time, the result will be different and running and me can just stop fighting about petty things. Got all that? Good.

One thing I’ve found when it comes to running is that it’s something pretty much everyone my age wants to get into. It’s odd, considering all the basketball and soccer practices in high school in which I tried my hardest to get out of the activity. But I guess when you get older, and you long for that one-time athletic body again, you justify running for fun more than ever. Plus, it’s a nice conduit to feeling good. Running makes you feel less like a slob and more like you serve a purpose in life other than watching late night talk shows and eating Chinese food.

Maybe my problem with running was that I used to have a pretty OK body. And by “pretty OK body,” I mean defined abs, of course. The issue now is how hard it is to get that back, compared to how easy it was to only accidentally stumble upon it then. A skinny, defined, pretty damn nice body used to be so natural. Now, it seems as though every potato chip is devastating and each sip of a carbonated beverage is life-altering. It must be the age, right? You find yourself in your mid-20s and single, and think, “You know, the next lady/guy I find, I’m going to give her/him a nice body to look at,” when in all actuality, that never really mattered in any of the relationships/sexual encounters you’ve had before.

Sure, it’s narcissistic, but at least it’s blatant. Come on, now. Ignorance is no excuse. Most everything in today’s world is vanity-based, anyways. You aren’t walking into the bar to speak to the mildly-attractive dude who is drinking the cheapest draft beer. Yes, you may have more in common with him than anyone else, and yes, he probably is the coolest dude there, but with the way society tends to slant these days, you’ll never know, because you are too concerned with his cargo shorts or rugged “I only shave every three-and-a-half days” look. And men are no better. We all judge. Only the smart ones can realize that.

But I digress. The worst thing about running? When you put your iPod on shuffle, and even though you have 8,000 songs you know you love, it gives you a string of 21 tunes you’ve probably never even heard before. I mean, honestly. How stupid can an iPod be? The best thing about running? The satisfaction of knowing you ran, as simplistic as that may sound. You don’t feel like the ambitionless slob you know you’ve become. If only for that half-hour a day, you refuse to feel like Ralphie May on a particularly lazy afternoon.

Me? I’d like to run a triathlon. Seems like it’d be an awfully self-rewarding accomplishment. (Side: Anyone out there who has already done this? Is it as hard as I would imagine? Do you think a 20-something with no particular self-worth or ambition would be able to put it all together for just this one event? E-mail us.) The Boston Marathon seems like a nice thing to accomplish as well, though that means you’d have to be fast. And my knees hurt too much to be fast.

The real question that lies underneath all of this? Considering I used to covet a 5K as the gold standard, and I've now competed in two of those, thus forcing me to look at something far more complicated and tiring as the gold standard, would I continue to run after completing the said triathlon-ic task? That depends. Will I still be in my mid-20s and thinking, “You know, the next lady/guy I find, I’m going to give her/him a nice body to look at?”

Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ll never run a race like this…

Wow, that seems hard.

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