Since my senior year of high school, I’ve been a runner. This does not mean that I enjoy or take pride in running, or do it well. This means that I shove myself out the door anywhere from once every other month to six times a week and trot miserably around the neighborhood or park for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
I do this because if I stop doing it for more than three months, when I jog up a flight of stairs, I feel like my lungs are going to explode. That’s the only reason. I run like I brush my teeth – it’s necessary, but I’m not interested in it. I don’t want to talk about it with others, or join tooth-brushing clubs, or discuss strategy on how to maximize and perfect my tooth-brushing sessions. I don’t want to spend a gorgeous Saturday brushing my teeth with a gaggle of other oral hygiene freaks.
I don’t understand people who genuinely enjoy running. There’s no narrative to it, no plot. Nothing’s ever going to surprise you about a run, unless you have a heart attack or get hit by a car.
Everybody talks about the runner’s high. It took me years and years of consistent running before I finally experienced this, and having had one, I can only conclude that people who go on about a runner’s high have never actually been high. If an orgasm was anything like a runner’s high, the human race would have died out long before Lucy. I get the equivalent of a runner’s high when someone favorites one of my tweets.
Why do we all pretend we really like whatever exercise we’re making ourselves do? “I feel a thousand times better now that I’m doing this!” “I never want to go, but once I start, I love it!” “I hate, hate, hate that I couldn’t do my exercise at all this week because I had…laundry.”
We’re all clearly lying to ourselves, which is why the second our lives get busy we “forget” to exercise for four years. We don’t forget to eat ice cream.
I have always said that I enjoy running, in the same perfunctory way that you say you like things that you do regularly because you can’t figure out how to quit doing them, and you know other people assume you enjoy them (bad jobs, pointless relationships, boring hometowns, book clubs). But lately, I’ve realized that running is actually the only part of my day that I don’t genuinely enjoy.
So I’m ready to come out of the closet and admit it. I don’t like running. I don’t, and I don’t care who knows it! I don’t like it at all. I just do it sometimes.