Sunday, November 7, 2010

Running: Not for Me

Today was the NYC marathon. This is really a shining example of human potential. Tens of thousands of people all pushing themselves to the limit. They are driven, enthusiastic, inspiring, and out of their minds. 

I get tired if I stand up too fast. I don't know how these people can run for hours at a time. Sometimes I can't even stay asleep as long as these people run. Think about that for a second. The thing that takes the least amount of energy possible, and I can't keep it up as long as other people can run. I'm not saying I couldn't get in shape for it if I put my mind to it, I just refuse to because running for long periods of time kind of sucks. Here's a few of my "pushing myself to the limit" experiences.

My senior year of high school, I was talked into doing cross country by my asshole friends who I think must've actually hated me. I had done it before in junior high, but that was peanuts compared to high school. So anyway, first practice of the season, and I think the coach said something along the lines of "go run for awhile." Haha really!? That's the equivalent of "write an essay about anything" for English class. Simple right? Until you've started the essay and realized you're a fucking horrible writer and what the hell have you done? Well, during my senior year I was a mere 135 pounds, so I figured I could run forever. Well I got tired after a little while, but thought "I'm tough as hell I'm just gonna push myself and not have to pay the price for it whatsoever." 

I could do this, I just gotta believe.

The next morning was the worst morning of my life. 

Have any of you read that tidbit: "It takes 200 muscles to take one step." Well all 200 of them were sore as hell. Probably more, because muscles I didn't even use just got sore anyway cause all their friends were doing it. Well I was still young and spry, so it didn't take too long to get over the soreness, but for those few days, doing anything was painful.


Years later a bunch of us climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine for the first time. Katahdin is the tallest mountain in Maine, and it did not let me forget that. Once again I overestimated my own endurance, and just hauled ass up the mountain. I felt great! Oh what's that you say? Going up is only half the journey? Turns out, it was actually way less than half, since several of us hiked across the knife edge, and then down a meandering trail. 

Yup, we climbed that whole length, and still hadn't even gotten to the "going down" part. Now, that may not look very long, but if I had to guess I'd say the length was about one billion miles.

Going down, which anybody that has ever hiked can agree, is the most taxing part. On the way up, I was supporting my body weight. On the way down, I was supporting a slightly heavier body weight, because of the added effect of gravity, and the fact that I was full of hatred for myself and the world. 

After stopping for breaks about every 30 seconds for miles on end, we finally made it back to the bottom. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret the experience at all. Exhilarating views with good friends and a great sense of accomplishment. But, remember how everything hurt after that long run? Well this felt worse. I was sore everywhere for a week. A WEEK. I could've told a commercial pilot "My legs are sore" then told them to fly around the world three times, and you know what I'd say when they got back? "MY LEGS ARE STILL SORE."


This past Summer me and my friend Keith went for about a 10 mile bike ride. Keeping my past exploits in mind, I thought "I'm reasonably in shape, and as long as I'm not going up too many hills I hardly have to work at all! I'll be fine." Well it turns out not only am I an idiot, but there were hills everywhere. When we reached a dead end, and thus the halfway point, we took a break. I bent down to stretch, and then silly me I thought standing back up would be easy. To not be able to support your own weight effectively is not a comfortable feeling. And we were only halfway through! Near the end of the ride, my chest felt like a big sad empty room from which all hope, joy, and good will had been sucked out. It wasn't so much pain as it was a feeling that I had lost something that I would never get back.


Now, do I know anybody that has run a marathon? Why yes. 

My dad has run multiple marathons. He has said they are unbelievably rewarding, and also unbelievable challenging. He remembers his legs almost completely giving out with miles left to run. My mom mentions smelling acetone on his breath when he finished the first one. What does that mean? Oh, just that your stomach is starting to digest itself. Sounds bad right? Must've not done too well? Well, what was his average mile time for the entire 26.2 mile journey? OH, ABOUT 8 MINUTES. Now if you're not a runner, allow me to elaborate. THAT IS FAST AS SHIT. My dad trained for months and months, finished in an amazing time and was still miserably tired! (Obviously, it is a marathon.) I remember on one of his long ass training runs he came home exhausted, went upstairs, puked up something that will probably outlive us all, and just went to bed. 

So, these are the kinds of things I don't think I want to go through. I'm happy being tired after just a few miles. Plus, as you can see from my past experiences, whenever it comes to feats of physical endurance, I always end up overestimating myself, and paying for it. If I was training for a marathon I'd probably be like "bro I got this I'll go for a few runs the week before I'll be fine." Then the day would come, I'd start the marathon way too fast and at about mile 6 the weight of the horrible realization that I have made a terrible mistake would crush me right there in the street. 

Anyway, kudos to everyone that ran! (But you're all fucking crazy)


  1. If you wrote a book I would buy the first ten copies.

  2. This Blog Post, Or: The Only Thing Matt Johnson Cannot Accomplish

    "Katahdin is the tallest mountain in Maine, and it did not let me forget that" is Mike-esque in its personification of something inanimate.

    Jet pilot hypothetical is LOL-esque in its LOLiness.