I do a lot of running. 4 or 5 days out of the week.
As little as 30 minutes at a time. Sometimes 2 hours or more.
In the dark. On a sunny day. On a treadmill. Next to the bay. Around and around the lake in my neighborhood.
Consistently for 2 years now and intermittently for 5.
And I hate it.
Every time. The whole time. I am filled with dread preparing to do it and I am not getting high when it’s over.
So why, then? Why do something that I hate?
I have an uncanny ability to force myself to do things I’d rather not do.
Hate is not as much of an impediment for me as you’d expect
More importantly, I have a big dedication to exercise. And not just that banal pleasantry of “keeping active,” I mean sweaty ass exertion, it doesn’t count if it doesn’t suck.
The fitness element is, of course, important, but exercise also keeps me in check across the board. When I’m in a regular habit of exercising, my eating is more healthful. If I take a week off, then my eating habits slide. Into a bucket of cheesecake caramel swirl ice cream.
So, because I value not being in a constant state of inflation, I choose to subject myself to exercise.
And running? Why does it have to be the absolutely most torturous form of exercise? (Other than rowing. Rowing can suck it. Sorry.)
Primarily, it’s the calorie burn. Weight loss is always foremost in my exercising mind. And if it’s not loss, then for pete’s sake, it’s at least non-gain. Pretty much nothing beats running when it comes to good old cardio. Except cross country skiing. Which blows in San Francisco. I do not recommend.
That running easily sets you up for specific goals is a really close second reason, though. Road races happen every weekend. There is a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon option to shoot for whenever you feel like shooting. Committing to an event on the horizon means that you have to train in order to complete the event. There’s a constant sense of plan and purpose. And the races themselves are actually kinda fun. A weird sort of fun that is over as soon as I start running (but comes back once I cross the finish line). It’s the anticipation and the crowd and the ceremony of it all that’s compelling.
Sure, maybe there are a few other options that might meet these criteria, but those require owning a road bike and/or being a competent swimmer. Even so, there wouldn’t be nearly as many opportunities for event participation in those sports. (And then there’s the sunshine. I shun it. Those people on bicycles are always out there in the vampire killing sunlight. It’s heinous.)
. . . . . . . . . . . .
I kept waiting to catch the running bug, like people said I would. It didn’t happen, but I’m open to the idea that it still could. Maybe as I get faster, fitter, stronger.
But it doesn’t matter. I’m going to keep doing it. And even if I hate it, every time, I do love that moment when I’ve finished and I can say to myself with grim certainty, “I fucking did it.”