Never Say Never

When I was little, the worst day of any school year was the President's Stupid Fitness Test. Capitalization intended, because that's exactly how I felt about it -- and still do, actually. I'll probably write my kids a sick note and sit on the couch and eat chocolate and let them watch movies with lots of "fuck this, fuck that", just to prove a point that day. All it did was make me feel shitty, because not only was I the last one, but I got less than zero sympathy for the fact that I had really bad asthma. I probably ran like a 56 minute mile. But at least I'd do it. And then my gym teacher would fail me and shun me. Maybe spank me. I don't know, I just know I was always *repelled* by the concept of moving faster than a brisk walk.

Somewhere along the way, however, I started to kinda overcome the asthma. It was a mental thing, I'm convinced. But it's brought me far --I bring this up to say that I'm forcing myself into being a runner. It's just happening. I don't even recognize myself anymore. We've had alot of talks about this lately - how we know we're getting older because our interests and priorities have changed. We've gone from "Hey -- bring over the Aftershock and let's do some shots before we hit up that party" to "Hey- will you call me at 7 to be sure I woke up for our long (read: 7 miles or so) run?" We have shunned clubs and bars and smokiness and flirting with random strangers in honor of solitude while fishing on a lake in the middle of the outskirts of nowhere. And so on and so forth.

The coolest thing about running, besides the fact that I could never do it before and in so doing relive a part of everyone else's happy childhood, is the fact that it totally wears me out. I have this chronic problem of just thinking too much. Some of that has to do with launching the company. Now that I'm the captain of my own ship, blah blah blah, I'm more driven than ever. Like I needed more motivation or something. Anyways, I'll watch tv -- say Sex and the City (ahem, I meant The Golden Girls) -- but actually my mind will be making a list of what authors I need to call or who I need to connect with in NY before they break for lunch. But running has brought this amazing calm into my life. Because I'm so friggin worn out by the time I'm done that I'm just happy to be alive. I don't really stress out. I take my time, eat a little something, and just usually sleep. When you're that tired, you don't worry about bills or what to do tomorrow or what was left undone. During the run sometimes you'll think about what's been bothering you, but for the most part, you just need to remind yourself to breathe, and that's enough work to focus on.

Secondary benefits to running include a sense of community. Strangers are friendly to each other in San Diego, but there's this runner comeraderie -- the little nod as you pass -- that you're in on. People who are walking look at you like you're a godess because you're running and they're "just walking". I remember when "just walking" was still a big deal. They respect you as a member of the I Take My Fitness Seriously community. Today, I was jogging towards two walkers, and the woman grabbed her husband and pulled him out of the way. I'd like to tell you it was because I move at such a rate that she worried for his safety given my oncoming speed, but it was just a gesture of respect. But hell, who doesn't like a little respect now and then.

Plus I got new coolmax(tm) socks that miraculously avoid stinky feet syndrome. Yay! Christmas present for CJ (no, he's not a runner. That's not the point.)

So yeah, basically I recommend running as the antidote to everything that has ever irked you. It's my present to myself. You take a look around and enjoy views because you're not zipping by in your car. You sweat out everything in your day. And then you think about the President's Stupid Fitness Test and sweat that out too. No phone, so you don't answer to anyone except yourself (I am loathe to carry ANYTHING more than my own damn body weight).

And then you get home and... just *crash*. I'm not even hungry when I'm done, which we all know is a miracle. The end. Cut scene. Nighty-night. It's a drug. And you do it over and over and over again, pushing yourself farther and higher, well, until your knees give out. Or at least I will :)