Sunday, October 10, 2010


This is a short journal I wrote for class. I thought it was kinda funny:

I hate running. I'm not sure why anyone does it. I mean I guess I understand, it's good for you; good exercise, burns cals, releases stress (and endorphins), and as I recently learned in one of my classes (see what college teaches you?), it makes your brain bigger. So I almost get why other people do it. As for myself, I've always wished that I could run. I want to feel that connection with the land and with my own body that people describe, or that I can guess exists.

I've tried. I really have. My best friend and former roommate runs; she ran a half marathon last year and I remember the first time she came home after running ten miles while she was training. She brought me a hubcap and a look of triumph and pride that I know I haven't worn since high school. I tried going running with her while we lived together. Slowly, even. "Don't worry, Em," she'd tell me, tying up her sneakers as I uncertainly slipped into my skate shoes, "I go slow. And your legs are longer than mine so you'll keep up fine." So she tells me.

I've definitely tried. And it's not even the running itself that is so bad. I don't mind it, really. My legs ARE longer than hers, so sometimes I pass her, or speed walk while she jogs. The problem comes when my body reacts to the running. For some reason I've never really been able to handle much physical activity that wasn't swimming. I'm not saying that when I did swim and was more in shape I couldn't go a few rounds on the Treadmill, but since coming to college and becoming woefully out of shape, I'm hard pressed to even do that. I think it's just because my body isn't used to exercise anymore. I never work or push my body beyond walking around campus. (Not that that's any small change, but it really doesn't compare with running or swimming several miles.)

My body hates me when I run. First I start to sweat (pretty standard reaction), then my face gets bright red (less standard, but not unheard of). By the time I finish I feel thoroughly overheated and dehydrated. So I drink some water when I get home. Sounds like an acceptable solution to dehydration and sweating, no? It helps, marginally. Slightly. Finitely. Barely. I have to lie down. There’s no choice at that point. I don’t even have time for a shower. I have to lie down before I pass out. This is when all hell breaks loose in my body. Slowly, mind you, but it’s in there, breaking loose all over my insides. I feel like I’m going to throw up, my whole body feels hot, and my head starts to pound. This is the worst part. I recently acquired some neck problems ("acquired" -- as if they were passed down through my family and I got the happy privilege of taking them when my grandmother and mother passed; which, funnily, is not far from the truth), and I already have frequent migraines. Another headache, this one self-induced, is not my idea of fun.

This isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that now that I’ve run a couple miles, I seem to think that that fulfills my exercise requirement for the week. I don’t watch what I eat as much (and if I do it’s only because I feel so “healthy” after running that I don’t want to ruin it by eating crap; sweets are just unappealing to me for a day or so afterwards), and I feel like I don’t need to do any more physical activity because those miles did so much; why would I need to walk instead of taking the bus, or take the stairs instead of the elevator?

If I could make my brain bigger, lord knows I would. Don’t think I don’t need it. If I could improve my writing or connect with all of my favorite places just by running around the block, I’d be the first in line. However…my body forbids it. And my impatience demands instant gratification, so I can’t even start slow and build up to running proficiency because I get too discouraged to continue after the first few times. I’m doomed then, it seems, to a life of runninglessness and a small brain.

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