I have a love-hate relationship with jogging. Before I get out there, like if I’m gonna go after work, I spend the day thinking of how great it’s gonna be.
I’ll get some exercise. I’ll see some nature.
Then the moment of truth comes. I almost always immediately regret taking off on a run right when I start.
What did I get myself into? I’m dying. I’m gonna die.
I get a shot of endorphins, and things calm down into a rhythm. Step. Step. Step. Step. Breathe in. Step. Step. Step. Step. Breathe out.
I’m immediately assaulted with metaphors. Does the road represent my life and I have no idea where it’s going? Do the trees add to that by showing I’m locked in destiny and have no way of seeing out or beyond? Does the road, cutting through the brush, signify humans’ struggle to tame nature?
Or is it a photo taken by a fat guy, aspiring to be fit, who thought it was a nice view?
I’ll take that one.
Going the distance
I set my watch to ding when I hit 1.5 miles. Now, I haven’t run that far without stopping since high school. And even back then, I was considered slow and embarrassing by track team standards. But this was about being able to do it. Screw how long it took.
Running by myself removes the competitive element. I don’t get discouraged if I fall behind. I just keep going. Eventually I’ll pay closer attention to the time it takes, but I’m just gonna focus on being able to run the distance for now.
Beep, you bastard
I tried to keep my breaths in time with my pace. Four steps. Breathe in. Four steps breathe out. In through the nose. Out through the mouth. I made it about halfway.
After that, it was two steps. In. Two more. Out. Then it just felt like I was sucking in air, no control whatsoever.
I kept checking my watch, waiting for the cursed blue circle to complete (which indicates I’m done). Sonofabitch finally beeped. It congratulated me on the fact that I made the goal I set out to achieve.
Of course, a stupid “smart” watch has no idea how much this meant to me. Being able to actually run that kind of distance, without stopping to walk, was a huge accomplishment. I might have shouted like Sly did at the end of “Rocky II” if I’d had the breath.
And I’m glad I had the watch to keep track of my distance (and time, I guess). Seeing my progress pushes me to do more.
Only pictures, huh. That’s all I can take. What if I needed to take a gentlemanly piss in the woods? In this case, I’m defining “gentlemanly” as trying to at least sufficiently cover one’s genitals as one relieves oneself.
What if I needed to take a moment to come up with a caption for the picture I just took of the bossy sign?
No. Only pictures, it said.
Well, the sign’s rule be damned. While I didn’t take a gentlemanly piss, I did take a moment to catch my breath and ponder a decent cutline. It’s not my best work, but it’ll do.
Full disclosure: It took me about 20 minutes to run the 1.5 miles. But I did it.