Sunday, February 26, 2012


"Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."  Christopher Hitchens

I've talked a lot about how my weekend runs build armor to shield me from the minefield of the coming week and also talked endlessly about how I gain a sense of serenity that I find no place else. What I haven't talked about is how my mid-week runs are absolutely fucking horrible. I dread them, I struggle through 3 and 4 mile runs, count down the miles and minutes until I can go home, and hate myself for doing so. While I was throwing down a massive 4 mile run this morning I started to think about why this has been happening to me in the last few months. I came up with a few theories, none of which I'm completely convinced of.

 Theory 1: Ever since I started taking care of the tangle of misdirected wiring in my head I've been told that my threshold for feeling any sort of emotion that matters is far higher than most. It takes a far greater stimulus for to engage me. It explains why Starkweather sounded the way we did; 15 to 30 minute long songs that swung wildly between beauty and dissonance, explains why I will not be satisfied running until I can run the Massanutten 100 Ultramarathon in Virginia, and it's certainly why my relationships have always burned too brightly to be sustainable. The daily activities and pleasures that make most people feel happy, sad, content, etc., make me feel nothing. The person that I go to see for one hour every week has been trying to convince me for years that there is a middle ground that doesn't involve wickedly manic episodes or glacial depressions, a life that can be satisfying and offer a level of contentment that has so far escaped me. I frustrate her. I would rather be the wax winged Icarus falling into the sea than to feel nothing at all. So maybe these weekday runs, with their monotonous and empty miles, aren't engaging enough to bump the meter enough to register as anything more than a chore for me. Maybe they don't allow enough time for me to burrow into the squalor of my mind and clean house for the coming week. Anyway, this seems the most reasonable of my explanations, probably because it's the most complicated.

 Theory 2: I have an unusual running schedule: 2-3 runs of no more than 5 miles each during the week and a run of 18-26 miles over the weekend. It has allowed me to so far remain injury free and worked well with my newly busy work schedule. Maybe I'm not banking enough overall miles and that's why I feel completely burned out for the week? It doesn't feel like that's the case physically. By Tuesday my legs may be a little bit stiff but I'm certainly not feeling hobbled or injured. That doesn't explain why these runs, which should be a breeze, are so fucking taxing. Maybe less weekend miles and more weekday miles are in order? That will be a tough one to swallow because once I ran 18 I wanted to run 20. When I ran 20 I wanted 22. When I ran 22 I wanted 26, and now that I've run 26 I want 31 (see theory number 1). I'll need to convince myself that it's the act of running, not the physical and emotional punishment that builds my defenses. Common sense? Yes. Easy for someone like me to accept? No.

 Theory 3: It seems to take me a pretty long time to warm up and get my legs moving. Maybe the short miles during the week never get me to the point where I feel primed and ready to go.

 Theory 4: Some fucked up amalgamation of theories 1 through 3.

 So what am I left with this Sunday morning at 9:45? One short run, some food shopping, and hours and hours of day that feel more like a minefield than a respite. I feel like I accomplished nothing and want to spend this beautifully sunny day laying in bed watching TV and reading the book 46 Days: Keeping Up With Jennifer Pharr Davis On The Appalachian Trail. It's a book written by Davis's husband documenting her record setting 46 day thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. So yes, rather than doing I'll be laying in bed reading about someone else doing. Blah Blah Blah.

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