Dear Running

19 Jul

Dear Running,

First I praise myself: “Look how well you’re doing! Look at how well you’re breathing.”

Pretty soon, though, I realize I’m lying.

Then I start scolding myself: “What’s wrong with you? You have two legs and two lungs and you’ve only been running for six minutes. Grow a pair.”

Then I mock myself: “Oh, you think this is hard do you? This is too hard for you? Too hard for you? A two-year-old crawls faster than this. People run with prosthetics, and you want to sit down? Are you effing kidding me?”

Then I clear my throat, which always sounds to my own ears like I’m about to throw up, then I wonder if I’m about to throw up, then I tell myself to stop thinking about throwing up, then I focus really hard on the trees so I don’t throw up.

Then I start bargaining with myself: if I can run to the water fountain, I can stop running for as long as it takes to get a drink of water. If I finish my run all the way, I can watch trashy tv when I get home. If I finish my run without throwing up, I can have an ice cream bar after dinner.

Keep in mind these supposed “rewards” are things I was going to do anyway, would do as consolation prizes were I not to finish my run, would have done if I hadn’t gone running at all that day— ice cream after dinner is actually a reward for feeding myself dinner, not for exercising— so their motivating capacity is limited to whether or not I can keep the thought “Psh I get it no matter what!” out of my head for the two minutes it takes me to reach my goal.

This usually fails.

Then I start really bargaining with myself, aka lying: “If I finish, I can get a puppy.”

“I finish, I will win a Pulitzer.” “If I finish, I will be rich.”

Then I do it all again:

Nice Me: “If I finish, I will be so proud of myself!”

Mean Me: “Oh yeah? So proud of the fact that you ran for less than the time it takes you to shave your legs? So proud of yourself for not throwing up all over yourself like a pansy little chicken thrower-upper?”

Then the bell dings and I weep for joy.

And then I think, “I totally could have kept going. Better stick to the schedule though.”

But we both know the truth.


One Response to “Dear Running”


  1. Dear Confessions from a Girl who is Moving in a Month « Dear Mr. Postman - 20 April 2012

    […] I am running. I have to be in a very specific state in order to want to go running. It’s a sort of restless, humming energy. Maybe anxiety, but it has to be anxiety without conflict. When I’m anxious because of conflict, I want to sleep, watch tv, argue, and eat. I want resolution. I want to finish the damn conversation. So: anxiety without conflict: I’m wide awake. I shuffle papers, I tap my feet, I can’t sit down to finish reading a story. […]

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