There are a few different running events happening this weekend in my city. There’s a 5K, a half marathon, and a full marathon. I know some people who are participating in this weekend’s events, and I know several others who are runners. I respect the discipline they have with their training, but I don’t feel compelled to participate. As a general rule, I don’t run. I don’t just mean that in a figurative way either. Aside from any situations in which I’m actively avoiding death, or if I’m going through a haunted house and a loud noise behind me scares the hell out of me, I don’t participate in the physical act of running. I do, however, participate in the activity of putting one foot in front of the other and propelling myself forward. I do that all the time. I just do so at a much more leisurely pace than runners do.
I don’t have any sort of philosophical problem with running. When I see people running down the sidewalk, I don’t shake my head and wonder what the world is coming to. I’m not morally or ethically opposed to anyone using their feet and legs to get somewhere quickly. Running isn’t an exercise that I enjoy, so I opt for other activities. It’s just a matter of preference, really. I could joke about how running doesn’t really get you anywhere since you end up back at your starting point, but runners could say the same about the apparent futility of me lifting something heavy and putting it down again. Variety is a good thing. No judgment here.
Okay, maybe there’s some judgment. Not about all runners, of course. There’s this one guy I sometimes see in the fitness center locker room. He painstakingly puts on sixteen layers of spandex and fleece in order to go run, and he’s very smug about it. Not smug in the “everybody should run because I run” way, but he’s very showy and he has a smirk which says, “check out all of my sweet running gear and all my layered clothes and my obnoxiously bright shoes. I’m super serious about running!” He even wears all those layers when it isn’t particularly cold outside. That may be due to the fact that his torso is as wide and as thick as a full roll of toilet paper, and his diet of grass clippings and granola bars doesn’t enable his skin to get warmer than 62 degrees. So yeah, some judgment for that guy’s attitude. But that’s all.
Maybe my aversion to running stems from something deeper. I walk past people on treadmills. Some are walking, some are running, but all are essentially stationary. The surly, cynical part of my brain chuckles and says, “now that’s a metaphor for my life”. Then I either get on a stationary bike and go nowhere really fast or I lift heavy things only to put them down again, and that same part of my brain chuckles again with the same realization. But then another part of my brain reminds me that I can have pizza and beer on weekends if I keep doing this shit, and I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Still not running, though.