I was running

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 09, 2003

For the thirty years I’ve been on this earth, I’ve been getting by on my good looks. Or so I thought. Recently I realized that this approach had never worked for me and was probably doing more harm than good. I further realized that my pretty face wasn’t going to help me get my ass into shape. Not that I’m out of shape exactly. It’s more of a health thing. I eat alright and briskly walk several blocks a day, but mostly I sit in front of various screens (computer, TV, movie) all day. I’m feeling unexercised and no amount of Brad Pitt-ness is going to help with that.

It is with all this in mind that I began thinking a few weeks ago that I needed to start exercising. But what sort of exercise? The gym is out because, well, I’m not a gym person. Getting one of those home gyms is also out because we’d need to get rid of the bed to fit such a contraption into our tiny apartment, and sleep takes much priority over exercise. Team sports are generally more competitive than I’d like (I just want to play, I don’t want to hear about how much I suck and how you’re going to kick my ass), so those are out too. Swimming? Tennis? Curling? Inline skating? Restaurant dining? All out for various reasons.

What’s left? Running. And so I found myself jogging yesterday for the first time in my life ever.

Running and I have never seen eye to eye. It just always seemed dorky and purposeless. Running where and for what purpose? Why not put a racquet in your hand, grab a friend and head for the tennis court? Now there’s some fun exercise.

Meg has always said that running is fun, that it provides an environment for thinking, almost like being in a trance. I know that feeling; I get it when I play basketball, just me, the ball, and the hoop. After a few minutes of play, I get “in the zone”. The ball and hoop disappear, as does most of me, excluding my brain, which becomes a fertile loam for the sowing of ideas, thoughts I’d never have any other way. It’s how I meditate.

I was doing anything but meditating during last evening’s run, so self-conscious was I about how goofy I looked, running for no purpose other than to run, decked out in my new running shoes and rumpled exercise clothes rescued from the bottom of my dresser drawer, finishing exactly where I had started, no discernible progress made. That and concentrating on my form and not pushing myself too much the first time out. And tiredness. I’m sure the zen-like state will kick in at some point and running will become an enjoyable and rewarding activity for me. If not, I can always give the good looks thing another shot.