Diary of a Washed up Runner: Day 7 2/8/2012, An Incomplete Post On an Incomplete Feeling

Posted: May 20, 2014 in Diary of a Washed Up Runner
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(*Author’s note: this is a new feature on Burnpoetry, chronicling my attempts to reconnect to my once-favorite sport of long distance running.  For the detailed explanation, click on this link.  I will periodically be retracing my steps and going back to my first attempt at this running-running diary and this is the one of the first posts so I thought we should begin here.)

Distance: 2.5 Miles

Location: Treadmill, Urban Active Gym

Self-Loathing: (On a scale of 1-Vincent Van Gogh’s Blue Period): 7

It’s been a little while since I journaled about my personal chronicle.  It’s not that I haven’t been going to the gym, although in fairness I haven’t been going with the frequency that I probably should.  It’s that there hasn’t been much to write about.

Running, when used as a key to physical fitness and lacking the killer instinct of a competition season, can be a good amount of drudgery.  It can be miles spent slogging along, detached from the camaraderie that even a pickup game of basketball can offer.

It can be mornings spent slapping bedhead down underneath a headband and evenings watching the sun burn down to dusk as sweat runs down the small of your back.

Those mornings and those evenings are where I have found myself at, of late; a runner’s purgatory that is neither here nor there.  I’m struggling to break out of this self-afflicted hinterland, but today was a modest step in the right direction.

For the past two weeks I’ve been running the same distance and the same speed.  I hop on the treadmill and flip to the same channel while listening to the same sports shows debating the same topics.  I realize that complaining about repetition when running on a treadmill is tantamount to complaining about the smell of paint when you’re trying to become an artist, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you set your feet on the human version of a hamster-wheel.

Today I had a miniature breakthrough.  I was able to run for an additional .25 miles.  A minor, some would say infinitesimal, improvement to be sure.  However, stuck in the greyed out middle of the running netherworld, .25 miles may be enough to keep your feet moving forward even when your pointer finger is itching towards the red “stop” button on the treadmill.

This morning, this challenge of getting out of this all-too-familiar routine, hopping off the treadmill of treadmill running, so to speak, was magnified by the fact that I woke up early to try to get the run in.  My wife is pregnant, a topic that I shall certainly delve into at a later date, and one of the anti-joys of pregnancy for her is that she is consistently awakened at the crack of dawn by feeling like complete death.

I discovered that one of the best ways for me to help her through this morning-sickness-on-a-Canseco-ian-level-of-steroids is by getting up and getting her breakfast for her.  I truly don’t mind.  But, you must understand, that when I wake up in the morning I most closely resemble an extra from The Walking Dead.  Only less coherent.  I have been telling myself, repeating like an insane person trapped in a mental ward on a bad T.V. soap opera, is that while I am making my wife’s breakfast I will then remain awake and will then head down to the gym to get my run “out of the way”.

(*Author’s note: this is as far as this post went, apparently.  I’m guessing I passed out, face first on the space bar, and didn’t make it to the end.  My son is almost 2, now, and my wife survived the grueling morning sickness that was so unmerciful in its treatment of her.  However, my plans to run in the mornings ebbed and flowed — mostly ebbing — throughout that period of time.  Ultimately, it didn’t last.  This feeling of in-between-ness is still there for me, lurking on runs that feel too similar to the one before them and proving to be extremely difficult to push through.)



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