RUN LIKE HELL

I’ll run in the rain till I’m breathless / when I’m breathless I’ll run till I drop

I’ve been running sporadically and inconsistently for a few years now. It started as a way of getting out of the sludge of melancholy, and escape the swamp of a house for a little while. Also, I heard that physical exercise is really good for your health, too (who knew?!). Then I started to like it, it grew into a little bit of a crush and (for once) the crush liked me back. I grew more restless every day and wanted to run faster and further away. I never knew my limbs could stretch and be pushed like I pushed them, and it felt instantly self-gratifying. I would clench my fist and sprint and pretend instead that I was running amongst gods and clouds and I just loved the feeling of being so uninhibited.

It works for me because I like to be alone, and I’m good at it. Team sports have never worked for me because I’m not competitive and honestly the thought of having to touch sweaty strangers and be face-to-face with an aggressive girl like myself is just a nightmare. This is why running works. I’m not comparing myself to anyone but focusing on my own strengths and myself.

My mother advocated to me certain ideas about health equaling happiness and I hope I’ll retain those sorts of sensibilities for the rest of my life. Do not think by any means that am I a crazy health hippy; I have my moments of consuming impressive enormous amounts of ice-cream in my moments of despondency, but I can always pick myself up and try, try again.

I will be honest, though: since I started, I have been through the occasional stages of laziness, a high-maintenance love-hate relationship with my secret running affair (with my alarm ringing at 6.30 and a throbbing hangover, I am not going to get out of bed to make even more stomach fluids slosh about, thanks). And I’ve been nearly run over a few times, stepped in fresh morning dog shit more times than I’m happy to admit, and tripped over my own uncoordinated feet even more times than that. But who cares, honestly, because as long as far as I’m concerned there is nothing but the ground and the sky.

I do it for the feel. I assure you running in the sunshine is great but running in the rain is even better. It tends to my romantic idealist tendencies like no shitty rom-com could ever amount to. I can get lost in the melodrama of it all; pretend I’m running towards a lover, or into the sunset. Take an overactive imagination and pair of legs that are too restless for their own good and you’ve got me.

So I go running and I push myself enough but not too far to injure myself, and I’ve come to the realization this is an apropos metaphor for tackling most things. I can’t extend myself to limits without stretching a little more each time. It’s taken me this long to rekindle friendships with exes, finding nice balances in the delicate dynamics of relationships, and finally curb the tumultuous relationship with my own insecurities and self-doubts.

I try to have the illusion of control: I can choose Karen O’s roar, or Led Zep’s twang, or WU-tang’s beats pounding to the same rhythm of the blood in my ears. Or I can slow it down and have Sinatra’s croons manifesting images of New York and stroll. I may not be able to be in charge of all aspects of my body or my life, but the least I can do is run with it.

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