I Run; I Am

“Joggers are prey. Runners are hunters. If you belong to the latter group, revel in the fact that you sit firmly atop the bipedal locomotion food chain. And run like an animal.” -anon

I am this crazy runner. I put quotes about my running integrity on my Facebook, believe that my ‘sport’ kicks the pants off of anyone else’s, and have been known to run around whatever city I am in either hysterically laughing or bawling my eyes out. It’s free therapy for my mind and a complete boot-camp on my body. With the highest injury risk and the worst impact on your joints, what risk-taking self-inflicted individual wouldn’t give it a shot?

When I think about running–a thing I’ve been ritualistically doing at least every-other day since the the 7th grade (timeouts for one hip injury and one embarrassing surgery aside), I have a million memories come to mind. I have memorized every trail, trained my body to recognize the ‘feel’ of a mile, two miles, three miles, and four miles, and have a very specific set of criteria I use as a mental checklist before deciding to bail out early on any run:
  1. Exhaustion: this isn’t an excuse and can ‘easily’ be pushed through, hence why it’s first on the list.
  2. Ankle/knee/hip pain: mind over matter here as well. I temporarily go lighter on that particular joint…most likely inflicting another issue caused by imbalance.
  3. Side cramps: I should have eaten a banana. I raise my hands in the air–someone out there swears this works.
  4. It’s hot: this is a time-management thing. It’s never hot at 6am.
  5. Vision trips: seeing double when overheated and a cardio superstar. I close my eyes. Seriously.
  6. Lungs: Allergies and asthma are no match for the fabulous results I know I’m achieving. I cough my lungs out. I make noise when I run, which intimidates my cohorts.
  7. Tripping: Skidding legs on the pavement means you aren’t coordinated. I’ve never done this.
  8. Losing my hair tie: This is a big problem, I would consider knotting my own hair before retreating home, though.
  9. Stomachache. No explanation necessary. This is both unresolveable and unfortunate because neither halting the run nor continuing it will absolve the basic natural instinct that something needs to be taken care of right then and there.
Ah, #9. This one will get you every time. When I was in high school, I was on my usual three-miler through the local neighborhoods when #9 struck. I had never, on this particular trail, sought out a place of hospice in case something like this occurred. I ran through a wooded area, but the wooded area was not wooded enough to not get me arrested for dropping my drawers if needed. So as I neared minute seventeen in my workout, I saw light at the end of the tunnel…an elementary school. Sans sign-in, badge, and hall monitor, I kept the same tempo from the pavement to the restroom. I sat on a miniature potty after being stared at by two bewildered young girls dressed in pink. I quickly left and said a quick prayer that I wouldn’t be the next ‘perpetrator’ at the local elementary school.
I feel like this always happens…like running is nature’s fiber. If only I were cool enough like the elitist marathoners who don’t stop for anything…who let anything and everything fall to the ground when running. Something tells me that around these parts, that wouldn’t be so cool.

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