The Sound of Summer Running - Alison Brown (mp3)
God Shuffled His Feet - Crash Test Dummies (mp3)
I mean no intentional offense to anyone reading this who likes to run, but it's just about the most horrific hobby/interest/passion/whatever in the entire fuckin' world.
Yes, I'm writing this intoxicated. Which is something runners don't generally understand or appreciate, because they're mostly too busy stretching or getting rest for a run they've gotta do in a couple of hours, 'cuz they're gonna wake up at, like, 4 a.m. and run 20 miles and buy groceries at Greenlife or some other hoity-toity grocery store like Whole Foods and then run 20 miles back home with their groceries strapped on their back. Then they'll run in little circles around their kitchen while the whole-grain bagel is warming in the toaster. They wouldn't dare be awake at midnight having poisoned their body with three or four or God forbid five beers. (Even dedicated runners mock those Michelob Ultra commercials.)
If you run, I mean no offense, but you people are friggin' weird. I mean, like, messed up in the head. Like, as in you should be institutionalized. Forever. But no offense, seriously. I'm just funnin'.
Anyway, when they raced, they had these two "coaches" who served as the "rabbit." Which is to say, two human beings who can only be described accurately as "beanpoles" served the same purpose as a mechanical "rabbit-looking" device would to dogs who race around in circles for a living. Except these men seemed to think this responsibility was an honor. Being a damn rabbit.
What scared me is that apparently young runners are no safer from obsessive and crazy parents than kids whose parents shove them in other sports. You had parents warming their kids up and getting there an hour early just to walk the course. You had parents feeding them particular energy bars or standing several hundred yards from the finish line and running with them, shouting at them all the way down the stretch.
At one point, I wanted quite badly to shout, "Go, Seabiscuit!!"
Ultimately, however, my discomfort at the thought of my girls becoming dedicated runners goes back to my original comment: all the people I know who are obsessed with (or "dedicated to," if you prefer) running are isolated and isolating people.
In all the world, of all the ways one can choose to condition and hone one's body and health, running is far and away the most solitary, the least sociable. Hell, just ask a runner!
Runners would read my criticisms and joyously proclaim, "Exactly!" Running is the perfect exercise for an introvert. The activity gets them out in the open and even, occasionally, around other people, but they don't ever have to actually acknowledge those other people anymore than you have to acknowledge some toll booth operator.
Never once -- not when I ran cross country in middle school and high school, not when I tried running on tracks or up and down hills or even running away from a dude I thought wanted to beat me up -- have I run a long way, finished and thought, "There couldn't possibly be a better way to get from Point A to Point B than this!"
Runners want to run away from people. They want to run away from interaction. The only time they seem to want to interact is when they are trying to convince others about how great it is to run.
I'm not much of a fighter, but the very small part of me that enjoys physical activity (heyyyy) really needs someone else to participate with me (heyyyyy stop that!). Competition is a minor motivational factor for me. It's more about the need to enjoy someone else's company. Misery loves company; when I'm exercising I'm miserable; ergo, I need someone with me.
Runners don't need anyone. They don't want anyone. They just want the isolating joy of their feet hitting pavement, moving them away from troubles. And wherever you find troubles, you find other people. They want to run away from people.
But I'm sure they'll deny it. 'Cuz who wants to admit even unintentionally being a misanthropist just 'cuz you enjoy running?
Today's post was inspired by Ann Coulter. I hope she runs. Off a very large cliff.