In an effort to not feel like a loser, I resorted to my standard fix, go beat myself up for a few hours. In my view, exercise isn’t necessarily the most productive thing to do with your time, but at least at the end of it you can say you did something, and there’s some accomplishment in that. And they allegedly say it’s good for you. And you can come home and ferociously pig out with minimal shame.
For whatever reason, the mental barriers to subjecting myself to physical exertion have commonly been relatively easy for me to overcome. Especially when compared to other responsible adulting tasks: chores, house projects, educating myself, practicing really anything with any sense of deliberateness, work, writing, calling mom, etc.. So when I feel the day starting to slip away, I throw them kicks on, and I sprint out that door like I was just gettin’ a peppermint fatty from the sheriff’s daughter, and he walks right in on the action and begins peppering my shadow with .45 rounds. Haha jk, sprinting! Lolz. I never sprint. But I love peppermint fatties.
Anyways, I prepared to languorously trot away from the house. I told myself maybe this would be a long-ish run. But just prior to venturing off, my grand pal Dave Dave swung by with a little COVID care package (Yep, I got the vid..Whoopsies!). Contained in the bag was a treasure-trove of fine delicacies- cooooooookiess, beer, a burrito (conspicuously not from Sol Verde-The mean, old gal probably refused him service because she didn’t like how happy he was. Guess I dodged a burrito bullet there!), gummy butterflies (so much classier than gummy worms), and beer (alternatively pronounced berrrr). With such a snack attack, I was tempted to not even cross the threshold of my front door, park my butt on the kitchen floor and crack a cold one. But alas, my wife and Dave cajoled me into leaving, lying and claiming these luxurious treats would taste better after they were hard-won.
Let’s pause here for a sec. Shout out to Dave Dave! For a couple of reasons: 1) He’s just so thoughtful and kind (A reminder for me to try and occasionally do something nice for others too) 2) He reads this blog 3) He feeds me! Workin’ in healthcare n’ stuff, I might be the community’s hero, but Dave Dave, you’re my hero!
Anyhow..Unenthusiastically but unable to justify not going, I embarked on my phlegm-filled adventure, where I would leave a several mile-long string-like trail of snot along the forest floor behind me. Kinda like cave diving, if shit got real and I found myself wildly lost and in a precarious situation, I could at least follow my schnozzle line in reverse back to safety. Of course, in an effort to recycle my biological products spewed across the ground, I would eat my olfactory ooze as I retraced it in order to reabsorb the raw materials for future snert production. Snert, of course, is simply another term for pupkis, or bush hanky, or snooder, or snunt, or snum, or sniffilis. But I digress.
In my mind, I had the rough goal of going 20 miles. That seems to be around the distance/limit I can justify when running for no real purpose or goal.The first few miles felt fantastic. I was fresh. What could I complain about with the movement feeling so effortless and liberating? In my naive exuberance, I had many of those silly thoughts one has when the going is easy, such as ‘I could do this forever,’ and ‘I should run a 100 mile race,’ and ‘Maybe I have a real knack for this running thang!’ so on and so on. I had these thoughts despite knowing better. Despite having repeated experience knowing how terrible running feels, I’ll say beyond 17 miles. It’s generally horrible from there on out. But alas, here I was again, overtaken by the innocent joy of the early miles.
Around mile 8, the ignorance was simmering down. I thought, ‘How much longer am I running? Do I really wanna be running that long?’ The answer, we know, is no. But at the time, I was unsure. Not feeling good, not feeling bad, I just kept grinding along, burpin’, fartin’, thinkin’.
Then there I was, 12.5 miles in, a dangerous place to be. An insidious thought came to my mind: ‘You’re basically halfway through a marathon, just finish it, maaaaannn!’ At that point, I was helpless to the prospect. I was basically at the far point of the run anyways. Running back home would get me close to the distance, especially if I took the long way. The mind does mean things. With this plan forming, I was hit with a new wave of vitality. I lied to myself, and said my legs felt fresh again.
In my thrill, I jutted off the trail and ran unbounded by singletrack in a pattern that just felt, well… right. I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s like I was not the driver of my limbs. A muse had entered, penetrated if you will, my body and was towing me gingerly across the forest like a painter waving their paintbrush across the canvas. My movements were unknown to me, but I looked back at my GPS track to see what I had done. This is what I found:
Recently, my other fran’ Jefe had recommended the new album from the band, The War on Drugs, and woohee, I’d been diggin’ it! He also mentioned that he likes to indulge in a novel concept, well really a concept from days past, of listening to an album from start to finish in its entirety. Who do that?? Well, I’ve been giving it a try since then, and whether it’s solely due to nostalgia or it’s actually deepening my listening, I kinda like it. But I’m not so sure I’m equipped to take any extra meaning from the experience. I’m not sophisticated like Jefe to be able to excavate unplumbed meaning and overarching thematic structure permeating through the auditory journey of a full album.
Again, I digress. My damn meandering mind..All this is to say I put on the album to guide me through the 3rd quarter of my now-decided would-be marathon. Those groovin’ bass lines, those melancholic lyrical proclamations expressed through smoky tone, they carried me. At mile 17, one might say I had a moment of rapture, a taste of bliss. The running felt quite pleasant, the light through the trees was heavenly, and the music was crescendoing. And all at once, there was no separation, the experience was unified, and me, the scenery, the universe were strangely all connected as one, and I came my pants.
In a rush of embarrassment, I darted behind a manzanita bush and scooped what I could of the splooge-pile in my short shorts and smeared it across those innocent leaves. I prayed a hungry deer wouldn’t come by in search of dessert. I recently heard via NPR that deer can contract COVID, maybe even sexually… Luckily, the burst had not fully soaked through and made an impression on the outside of my short shorts, a Christmas miracle! I carried on.
I must have blasted my soul, my will to live, and all worldly-motivation into that cumshot, because immediately after, I began to feel very tired and very ready to be done running.
I tried. I put on Avicii. I put on the hottest bangerz of the modern pop age, but nothing was gonna pull me outta this hole. My splits tanked. By mile 24, I was running lightning-hot 15 minute splits. Quite abruptly, I gave zero shits about actually running a full marathon, and my sole focus was on getting home.
Not surprisingly, my running path became directly oriented towards my house and those gummy butterflies. Corners were cut. Straight lines were chosen at all opportunities and costs. Hands were placed on hips (my hips if you’re wondering) and I stopped to moan, grimace, and ask God why, whenever the surface grade became positive. Still clipping away at that 15-minute mile pace, I waddled to my doorstep at mile 24.7. Good the hell enough.
I collapsed. I moaned a bit more. I crawled into the kitchen and indulged my eatin’ hole with little gummy butterflies.
PS: For those who may be concerned about some COVID-positive maniac snot-rocketing their way around town, I promise I was in the woods and isolated from others. I lay breath, and snot, upon no one.