No Happy Nonsense

Treadmill - Hedonic

November 18th, 2023 | More Running? Ugh

5.6 Minute Read

When I first started running: "If I can run 3 miles in less than 30 minutes I'd be so happy, so content. I could just do that a few times a week and I'd be set."

But of course, you have other markers in the back of your head. I ran a 5k when I was in highschool in about 25 minutes. Somewhere, buried in the hellish strip mines of my brain cave, there exists the thought, "What if I could beat that old time?"

And a few years after I started running, that's what I did. Destroyed my 5k PR by minutes. During a 10k. But there was no celebration, no beautiful moment of clarity where I looked down at my watch and realized the culmination of all my hard work and I looked back up and saw a flock of birds flying in formation together silently across the skyline as a single tear rolled down my face. No group of friends to yell "ayyyy" and jump around and playfully shove me and then I shove them back and then someone gets mad and shoves me too forcefully and I twist my ankle trying to keep my feet under me. No, I just looked down at my watch and thought "cool, new pr" and kept running hard, trying to still do well in the 10k race. I didn't do well, don't worry.

Eventually I stopped wanting to be fast and instead wanted to have endurance. I wanted to be endless. I wanted to be able to run 10 miles, 20 miles, without a thought about it beforehand or afterfoot. I wanted to stomp miles like they were spotted lanternflies. I wanted to give that lil awkward hand wave where you keep your hand like under your waist line and just kinda half-wave your fingers at another runner as you pass one another. Why does everyone wave like that? It's crazy, it's so dumb. Just put your hand all the way up.

I kept running. Every day. Every hour, every second. My existence turned into a constant state of movement. Eventually my legs turned into small beams of light, passing through anything and everything they could swat at. I ran 8,000 miles in a single day, straight through the center of the earth and came out the other side covered in crust and magma and I think nickel? I ran so fast that I went back in time and ancient civilizations tried to deify me, but I just kept on running and did that stupid little hand wave thing at them.

I turned into a boundless being of higher, stupider existence. I was no fun at parties because I was constantly running around the house, asking the host if they had any gels I could eat instead of the new twice-baked potatoes that they had toiled over all day yesterday. Fuck your cheesy crunchy potatoes, Debra. I need a salty sugary endurance food, squeeze it out of the pouch into my throat and let me choke on it. I cannot stop moving my legs forward.

I was running in the middle of the street last weekend, right down the double-yellow line because I stopped looking at cars a long time ago (I run faster than them now) and I saw a dog shuffle down a small dirt hill, cross half the road and join me. I quickly understood that this was a direct challenge and sped up. I glanced behind my shoulder and saw the dog still running with me, nipping at my heels as it kept stride with me.

So I started to run upward, each step climbing an invisible stair in front of me, going higher and higher into the air with every upward bound. I kept going higher, hoping to run all the way to the top of heaven to challenge God to a race. As I got above tree level I looked behind me and saw the dog was still on the ground, barking his head off. I laughed and laughed and laughed and then turned around and kept on running. I have a race coming up and I need to get these training miles in. It's with God, the race. He accepted. Good show, ol' sport.

I get home and fall asleep for 30 years. When I wake up, I will keep running.

Filed Under: Running