Yesterday. 6:45am. Saturday. I went for a run.
Putting aside the not-so-subtle #pleasecongratulatemeforexercising nature of the above statement, I’ve genuinely never done this before in my life. Ever. Mainly because:
- I hate running
- I hate running
- I hate running
- It was raining
- Did I mention I hate running?
I’ve always loathed running, mainly because it seems such a purposeless thing. Running for the sake of running. Why do such a thing? It’s boring. It hurts your joints. It’s tiring. Etcetera.
I could’ve sat inside, in the warmth and eaten breakfast with a coffee. Why go outside, punish myself and get wet? I had the option to relax. Why decide to swim laps in the bath tub?
Mainly because fuck how it feels, fact is, it’s a good thing to do. Exercise = good. Good luck coming up with arguments to discredit this nugget of wisdom.
I ran to a park you could mistake for a farm (if not for the massive hill with a phallic sculpture on top) due all the sheep and cows roaming around, and did a mini-lap of one section of one part of the park. And when I say mini-lap, I mean MINI-LAP. It took me eight minutes to run to the park, five minutes to do the mini-lap, and eight minutes to run home. That’s a short-ass run. Mainly because… did I mention I hate running?
As I ran, a confused concoction of rain and sweat formed all over my body. I closed my eyes and felt it all. The rain, the ground at my feet, the sensations of my body, and my breath. It sounds a little corny doesn’t it? Well, it was.
During my mini-park loop I found myself hit a zen-like stride. I was running on a blackened tar-sealed road, green grass and trees sprawling either side, no cars anywhere in sight. I felt tired and with this feeling a thought popped into my mind to stop and walk a little. I chose to let that thought go, and with its disappearance my feet continued to hit the ground in front of me.
Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right.
I just kept going. And it felt good. Deep-fried-chicken-on-waffles-smothered-in-maple-syrup style good.
In this moment I felt like I was in my own Hollywood movie montage, like Rocky Balboa overcoming adversity by smacking up a cow carcass and fist pumping at the top of some steps. The rain-run might get me a whopping half a second of montage footage, but all this means is I’ll need to go beat up some cows next time…
Just before I ran around the final corner onto my street, I encountered a real Running Man. Short fluro shorts, tight singlet, floppy baseball cap, sweat band on forearm. The kind of dude who doesn’t give a F**K whether he looks like Richard Simmons in his running attire because he eats 6:45am Saturday morning runs in the rain for breakfast, then asks, “what’s next!?”.
Running Man saw me, and without breaking stride lifted his sweat-banded arm and nodded his head as if to say “I see you, running, 6:45am in the morning, Saturday, in the rain, in your short shorts. Respect… but where’s your sweatband at?”.
Of course, he didn’t say any of these things. I interpreted such things from a single hand wave, which could’ve meant anything… for all I know, he was just stretching his arm…
Misinterpretation or not, Running Man’s gesture was, at the very least, an acknowledgement. Of me. In the rain. Saturday. 6:45am. Running. An acknowledgement by Running Man, a dude running in the rain, that I too was there, running in the rain.
I’ve never in my life claimed myself a runner. And I won’t do so now. One run in the rain at 6:45am on a Saturday morning does not make one a runner.
But… does it really matter this was the first time in my life I’ve ever run in the rain on a Saturday morning? Fuck no it doesn’t. Who cares. Everyone has to start somewhere. No one is born a Demi-God of anything (except maybe Hercules, but I think he’s dead anyway so he’s not any competition). This is especially so when it comes to running… show me a baby who can run and I’ll show you a demon-child possessed by Satan.
I waved back, then ran around the corner toward home, which is precisely when this question popped into my head:
Am I a runner?
It’s Sunday now, and an added day’s wisdom has made me realise that’s a stupid question. This one’s better:
Who am I to tell myself I’m not?