Monday, March 8, 2010

Ran Out of Excuses

My Love has been trying to persuade me to take up jogging since shortly after we first met which, I feel compelled to point out, was at a keg party.

run-for-beer In those days, she'd arise at an hour still better suited for last call than lacing up one's Sauconys and by the time the sun had even considered peeping out from under its earthly covers, she would have already logged half a dozen miles. Not an attractive trait in my book of love, but I admit that I did admire the dividends her regimen paid in other -- ahem -- areas that grabbed my attention during the early stages of the mating ritual.

In the 17 years we've know each other since, she's run marathons in Honolulu, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City and half marathons elsewhere. To me, these are all certifiable acts of insanity or, at the very least, signs she needs a more stimulating and purposeful hobby. Re-grouting bathroom tile, for example, also has a clear starting and ending point, offers great emotional and physical satisfaction upon completion and results in very similar aches and pains in the lower extremities.

I have tried jogging before. My Love and some co-workers conned me into running a 5K many years back. After only a few practice runs, it felt as though John Daly had lined a tee shot directly into the side of my left knee. I eventually ran the race, but my knee stayed cranky for months afterward and that's where my running career hit the wall.

(This is the point when whenever I tell this story that My Love shakes her head and calls me something endearing like "wuss." Running, it is clear, does not build one's empathy toward the lame.)

Sometime early last year, though, I found myself forced into an occasional run that for once had nothing to do about the urgency to reach an unoccupied bathroom.

I blame our dog, Murphy.

While on our walks, our 3-year-old Labrador retriever, sometimes decides he'd rather be going in a different direction if not going at all. When these moments hit, he simply locks all four legs in "park" or just lies down all together. Since modern dog training methods frown on yanking a dog into mobility and physically lifting Murphy, who weighs about 75 pounds, offers only a solution for the literal short haul, an alternative had to be found.

This is when I'd take a treat, hold it inches from his snout then pull it back while uttering the words I never thought I'd say aloud, with any sense of enthusiasm, to man or beast:

"OK -- let's go for a run!"

These were short burst semi-sprints: a few dozen feet to maybe a few dozen yards at a time. During the winter, when the golf course by our neighborhood lay deserted except for northern winds and rotting snow, Murphy's leash would be detached and we'd run the odd fairway or two.

When I mentioned this to My Love, her face brightened like a child on Christmas morning. I told her not to get carried away by this. I said it again after my subsequent decision to purchase a pair of running shoes for it could just be a passing phase like that time I was fascinated by mutton chop sideburns.

Spring, summer and fall went by without anything more than my occasional run to jumpstart the pup. Then three weeks ago, in the dead of New England winter, I did it. I hopped onto our treadmill in the toasty basement and put in a little more than a mile.

Twice.

I did it again last week.

Once I even did a mile and a half, picking up the pace so it was less of a brisk walk and more of a vague approximation of an ungainly trot.

I can't say I loved it, but I definitely didn't loathe it, either.

Hallelujah! I've achieved indifference!

That's the same as an endorphin high, right?

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17 comments:

  1. Indifference. Endorphin high. Not quite the same thing, but you're getting there. Love the T-shirt logo.

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  2. Im impressed! As a fan of the couch, running and I are not friends. I enjoyed a few months of gym membership last year but thats about the extent of my exercise regime. Tomorrow I am picking up two poodles to foster from the RSPCA so maybe i will take inspitation from you and kick start my daily running!

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  3. I applaud your commitment to health and exercise. And to further inspire you, here is the perfect race.

    "The 20th annual Phi Psi 500 (fundraiser) race will take runners wearing traditionally wacky costumes on a 1.1 mile journey through the streets and BARS of downtown State College."

    You can train for this one on so many levels. Good Luck. I'll cheer you on from my lawn chair.

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  4. Congrats on your new ambivalence. Good luck. I've heard exercise is good for you. Also, I believe there is a direct correlation between liking mutton chops and not liking running.

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  5. My plan is to start running again as well. I even bought new running shoes. But since I wake up at 4:30 anyways to get to work by 6. I would have to wake up at 3:45 maybe to get ready to run.

    Not happening right now. :\

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  6. I ran once. Once. I never reached the point of indifference. Just pain.

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  7. I only run if someone's chasing me - and even then, they have to have the intent to kill me.

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  8. I couldn't run if I was being chased by a team of knife-wielding maniacs. Thus, I stay away from places where I might bump into knife-wielding maniacs.

    Kudos to your indifference, though!

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  9. I hate even running to the grocery store to pick up cream for my coffe. Blech.
    Congratulations to you!

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  10. I also hate the way I spell coffee

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  11. Ok. Here's my deal. I've never ever been a runner. Like the last time I ran was for that PE test in high school-and I was walking w/ the kids in wheelchairs. But? In January ?My friend signed me up for this 5k in Boston-ish. Some big Irish race. In my drunken stupor, I agreed and she registered me and all. So - I had to start running. In New England. Yah - been mainly on the treadmill. And, I've done a 5k a week for the past month...and a couple of 2 milers on the off days. Last night? I ran outside.

    Let me just say I agree that your Love and runners like her? Totally insane.

    I hurt. I hated it. But I haveta run that damn 5k on Sunday. Grrr.

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  12. We bought an exercise bike in January. Then we got 30+ inches of snow. It sits dusty now, just as everyone said it would. Now the weather is nicer, so hopefully motivation will ensue for being outside.

    Hopefully.

    Hopefully your indifference will lead you wherever it is you want to be!

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  13. Yay for indifference! I, too, am an aspiring runner...but I'm battling cranky shins and underdeveloped lungs. My saving grace is the treadmill (easier on my shins) and my iPod (I wouldn't run 10 feet without some tunes to keep me distracted). Good luck to you! Keep trying!

    PS....thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a relative newbie around here, so I'm tempted to kiss your feet just for checking out my writing! Well. Not really. Feet are kinda gross.

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  14. I loathe running. Yet if I want to be involved in triathlons I have to practice running, so I do.

    And I get roped into things like 5K's 10K's and 1/2 marathons and yet, never experienced a "runner's high"--total myth I say!

    But good 4 u!

    At least I know one other person is out there with my same mind frame! :)

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  15. Congrats on coming out of the closet with your recent acts of running.

    Looks like your blogger posse are all couch potatoes.

    Don't stop. You run for beer, it's OK. It's a healthy beverage. You just have to run a mile for each beer.

    Now that the days are nicer,you can borrow my IPOD anytime if you dare to run outside! :)

    My Love

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  16. I ran 2 miles on the treadmill this morning, My Love. I'm coming after you!

    And I still think your nuts.

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  17. "Ran out of excuses" - what a pun. Don't think it will make me follow your example (this running thing is totally sick!) but it makes for a nice read. Of course, being on the wrong side of sixty might color my opinion about running.....

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