Tag Archives: Running

Streak Day #28 (and some stuff about not caring)

Day twenty-seveneight. Christ. I’m getting so burned out here. Three two more days until thirty. And five more days until the end of March. No, six. Next Tuesday. Less than a week. Shit. March has thirty-one days as I’m well aware by now. I’ve never been able to recall which months have thirty-one as opposed to thirty days but if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that. March Has Thirty-One Days. I’ll never forget that fact.

Years ago I took up a project like this with running. I began January 19, 2015 and set out to run at least a mile everyday for a year. And I did it. Rain, snow, bitter cold, burning heat and humidity, day or night, sick or drunk or hungover, I ran at least a single mile everyday. I even kept going when I had my wisdom teeth removed which was totally against their recommendations, but I did it anyways. In 2015 I ran 1,236 miles over 189 hours. I kept it going in 2016 running 1,041 miles over 171 hours. This was seven days of running each year!

I kept this up until (apparently, I still have the spreadsheets I tracked everything in) February 25th, 2017, two years and a month after I started. I gave it up because it was mentally taxing to continue running everyday. I dreaded it. It wasn’t fun anymore. It didn’t feel like an accomplishment. I felt like everyday had this dread hanging over it that I had something to do — run a fucking mile — and towards the end I started doing the bare minimum. I’d run a mile slowly around the neighborhood, clocking some totally pathetic 11 or 12-minute miles. Just not giving a fuck about it until I finally threw in the towel.

In the beginning it felt like I had something I was working towards. I had a grand goal to run 365 days in a row and I was also working on training for half-marathons and actually improving my times. My first half-marathon took longer than two hours, and in the midst of my running streak I set a goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon time. I did and pulled off like a 1:40 time or something. I felt great. I felt accomplished. I went on to shave my 5k times down as well, sometimes placing in the top three of my age group. Making this adventure even more epic; I ran barefoot. Yes, barefoot. Why? Because I could. I had nothing to prove besides that it was possible. If I abused my feet enough to where I got blisters, I’d put on some Luna sandals, but nearly every run was done without footwear. The half-marathon, the 15-mile trail run at rock cut. Blistering 5k runs at a sub 7-minute mile pace. I don’t brag much but I’m definitely bragging here. I was a barefoot badass and it felt amazing.

But then I realized I was not cut out to be a runner, genetically, and that no matter how hard I worked I could never be first place or even in the top ten overall. I’m not built to be the perfect runner and no amount of practice or dedication or heart could make me run faster. There’s this thing called VO2 max that basically measures how much oxygen you can use during exercise. This is mostly determined with genetics and dictates how fast you can run. If you’re not born with exceptional VO2 max, you’re not cut out to be a runner. Sure, you can improve it somewhat, but there is a limit to how far you can go. It just isn’t physically possible if you’re not born with the genes. Once I discovered that there is some inherent limitation to what you can be as a person, albeit in terms of a physical sport, it kinda crushed my spirits. I always talk about shit like “am I born to be a writer?” or other bullshit like that, and I don’t think it applies to the arts — you can do whatever the fuck you want — but with running. Yes, you totally can be born to not be a runner. Even if you love running and it’s your passion, you’re simply not cut out to do it. It’s depressing.

I like to say I learned something from that grand adventure but I don’t think I did. If anything I learned how shitty it is trying to do something consistently everyday. It wears on you. You start to not care. You wonder what it’s all about. You wonder if your time and motivation is better spent elsewhere. I don’t have anything grand to say about feeling this way because it caused me to mostly stop running and I still have no regrets about doing so. When I stopped, suddenly I had so much more motivation. I started to write more. I started to play video games. It felt like every ounce of my being was expended daily to run a mile, and when I stopped I felt reborn in a way. Like one chapter was closed and I was ready for the next. I felt like a failure, but also like I chose to be a failure. I made a conscious decision to stop, and I did, and while there was some slight pang of regret and failure, I knew it was time.

Big rant about running aside, this is how I feel about blogging and this 30/31/33 day streak, whatever it turns out to be. I think I’ll finish March off, if I can, but I’m really starting to not give a shit. I have that same dread of waking up and forcing out a post before work. Or the dread of forcing out a post after work. I haven’t even thought about my fiction stories or the Morrowind story this week. I haven’t written in my journal .doc in three weeks. Each day is focused on thinking of a blog topic and churning it out. I feel mentally sick when I open the computer screen, the same as I felt walking outside and taking the first few lethargic steps on my mile run. But it isn’t so bad once you warm up. I’m having fun with this post, and I know I’ll have a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I tidy this thing up and post it. And I know I’ll continue on to the end of March and feel another sense of accomplishment. And then I know I won’t post more than a few posts in April. As the books I’ve been reading say, “The wheel weaves as the pattern wills.” Or something like that. Yeah.

Like with running, I’m wondering what the hell all of this is for. Am I learning anything? Am I gaining some sense of routine? Am I turning into a better writer? Am I writing more without thinking of what I’m writing? I’m getting a ton of views this month which is nice — I might break my monthly viewer record today — but is that even for anything? Is my slow decent into madness obvious to everyone that reads these or am I holding it together enough to fool people? Maybe that’s the point of this: a case-study in burnout and giving up. *big sigh* I’m rambling again and I always seem to ramble about shit like this. I don’t even recall the past three weeks of posts. What have I already talked about? What is new? Has anything been insightful? My mood today is one where I could carry on and on about everything. My antidepressants and how I’m wondering if I’ve always felt this way or if I’m somehow changed. Wondering whether this is good or bad. Pondering how March with the virus has been a great time to do this streak thing, how everything is working perfectly somehow. How I still feel trapped in limbo by something. Something about anxiety and insomnia and synesthesia. Yes, synesthesia. And cough medicine. And serotonin. Okay, I’m done with day #27. Onward!

Snow in April…

It was around 50 degrees here in Northern Illinois about a month ago. It was a sure sign that spring was upon us and I was even able to get out and enjoy a bike ride and a run or two. It was what my sickly, atrophied, SADdened, and vitamin-D deficient self needed: some nice weather where I could be outside enjoy life again. That apparently wasn’t to be because despite being about two weeks into official spring it’s still cold as fuck outside. It’s actually been cold as fuck ever since spring started! Making things even worse, we got snow today! It wasn’t the snow that flurries a bit and then instantly melts once it touches anything either. No, it was snow that actually sticks to the ground. We got a damn inch or so of the stuff. You know, the snow where you have to clean your car off, and where the roads need to be salted, and where people forgot to drive, and where all the flowers coming up in the yard are having a shitty time.

I’d also like to point out that it is April in case you weren’t aware. April 4th to be exact. As stated, the Earth’s northern hemisphere is now tilted back towards the sun and should be getting much more sunlight and heat than it was a few months ago when daylight was non-existent. I’m to the point where I almost forgot how far into the year it was; it gets cold in November and stays cold until it isn’t cold anymore. That’s when you think “Oh shit, it’s spring again!” Not this time. This year I’ve noticed the date on my phone — April 4th — as I looked up and seen that snow was coming down. Seriously? April fucking 4th. Indepence day is 3 months away and we’re getting snow? Come the fuck on.

Radar

At least the everyone’s having a shitty time…

But we’ve had snow in April before, I’m sure of that. I recall my grandmother saying that we can have snow as late as May, and while I don’t doubt that I’m sure it is a rare thing indeed. I wouldn’t be too upset by snow in May because it would probably be pretty warm beforehand. You know snow in May is sort of a joke that isn’t to be taken seriously because it’s May. Go ahead Old-Man Winter, have one more go at it. It’s May and in a few days it’ll be 60 so who gives a shit about your snow. Snow in April is just fucking stupid though. It’s not special enough to be amazed at but it’s special enough to be a rare pain in the ass. Snow in January is typical, snow in June would be unique and something to remember, while snow in April is a fucking piece of shit.

A few years ago I was running everyday. Even in the middle of winter I’d run at least a mile. At least a mile. Obviously once it was warmer I’d run farther. In 2015 I was doing 6-8 miles by April meaning it wasn’t cold and snowing, and in 2016 I was doing 6-9 miles by April which also meant it wasn’t fucking cold and snowing, and in 2017 I had quit running so whatever. My point here is that in the past three years I was out enjoying the beautiful springtime weather well before April 4th. Thanks 2018.

I can wait, sure, but since it’s been cold for so long it’s getting to where I need it to be nice outside so my mental health can improve. I don’t see how anyone lives further north than 30 or 35 degree latitude enjoyably because it seems so unnatural. Humans need to see the sun, be outdoors, and enjoy nature. Sitting inside for months upon months because you could get hypothermia and die outdoors is brutal and the longer it takes it to be nice outside the worse it is. Maybe it’s just me and others love the winter and the cold, but fuck, it sure isn’t me. I can’t wait to get outside and run, bike ride, or just be outside when it isn’t cold. Snow in April Sucks.