Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jogging My Memory

I used to be a runner. No, not a runner for the mafia. And certainly never for reputed mob boss James Marcello. In fact, I’ve never heard of him.

Back in high school I ran five days a week for the cross-country and indoor track teams. I continued to run throughout college, though not as part of a team, and rarely more than once or twice a week. Since then, however, I’ve become increasingly sedentary.

In an attempt to break from this routine, a few days ago I went for my first run of the spring. It went pretty much as I’d expected:
  • During the 1st mile of my run, I had tightness in my chest as my lungs struggled to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide at such an unprecedented rate.
  • During the 2nd mile of my run, my lungs felt fine, but I was beset by stomach cramps and my calves began to burn.1
  • During the 3rd mile of my run, I walked.
If I haven’t done something in a while, I tend to forget just how horrible the experience is. Of course, now I remember exactly why I’d stopped running in the first place: Running is stupid. You’re tired for hours afterward, sore for days afterward, and end up with more money—er, clothes—in need of laundering. It’s just not worth it.

No pain, no gain? Screw that. Why should I be miserable running when I can exercise just as easily by doing fun things, like playing volleyball or tennis?2 Especially now that I’m in my 30s, it’s become quite clear that there are perhaps only four acceptable reasons, ever, to run:
  1. If you’re late, you’re late, for a very important date.
  2. In races with large payouts, for, with great money comes great fame and nookie.
  3. When playing sports. Real sports.3
  4. From a bear.4
Now that a few days have passed and my legs are no longer sore, I’m starting to think that I should stop lazing around the house and get outside. I can’t play tennis, though, since the courts are still wet from the rain. And I suppose I could do yardwork, except the second half of that word is work, which I don’t do on weekends.

Maybe I’ll go for a run.

1 In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have worn those pants made of magnifying glasses.
2 This is a rhetorical question. To answer it, you must speak only in rhetoric.
3 If a “sport” doesn’t allow you to interact directly with your opponent, it’s not really a sport. To make it a real sport, all you have to do is put the words “full-contact” in front of its name (e.g. full-contact bowling, full-contact Magic the Gathering).
4 Yeah, this may not be the method so-called “experts” recommend — they say you should stand still and make yourself look as large as possible, because the experts obviously think we’re all peacocks or giant blowfish — but trust me: you should run. Run as fast as you can, and let the expert stay behind, holding the pic-a-nic basket and puffing out his cheeks, to see what happens.

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