I don’t always blarg about running…

More work on the Project, more stumbling blocks, more throatpunches for the stumbling blocks.

I don’t pity Future Me when he comes back around to the words I got down today.  I went back and forth several times during the writing trying to decide whether I wanted the scene to be set in one place or another, whether or not I wanted a certain character to be present, whether whole swathes of exposition should be there at all… yeah, today’s draft is basically a thornbush of dubious dialogue and confusing directions to my Future Self.  “SOME TIME PASSES” and “PROBABLY GOING TO WANT TO CUT THIS” and “WHOOPS NEED TO DO THIS SOONER” are just a few of the notes scribbled in blood in the margins.  Okay, not scribbled in blood, but only because KEYBOARDS DON’T BLEED.  The id-writer had no patience today for sorting through things, and with good reason: I find myself mired in a scene that probably went on for too long.  It gives a lot of exposition which I feel is useful for me but not necessarily useful for any hypothetical reader; information that is probably better discovered scrawled on the cliff face as you hurtle downward past it toward the rocks.

Maybe that was a bit too stream-of-consciousness to make sense.  Can’t question it.  Today is a day for progress.

Anyway, I got the requisite 900 words (953 to be exact) but I’m not quite satisfied, so I will probably go back to it later.  In the meantime:

A post about running!

I don’t always blarg about running, because for the most part, there isn’t that much to say.  I mean, sure, every run is a good run, and every run is a revelation of the air in your lungs and the majesty of nature and the dodging of traffic and blah blah blah.  But you can only write about that so many times before it all sounds like so much whooshing in the ears.  So when I write about running, I try to have something specific to say.

My running has been in the ditch this year, and that could be more literal only if I had actually fallen into a ditch.  In January I suffered a horrific illness which kept me bedridden for days followed by a truly unpleasant foot injury (I snagged it on a nail in the back porch) which had me hobbling for weeks.  My wife would want me to point out why I was barefoot on the back porch in the dead of winter in the dark, and I would point out that every story needs a little mystery.  (I was peeing to save water vis-a-vis not flushing the toilet.  This made perfect sense to me at the time.  It was a weird month.)  GOLDFINGER IT.

So that was January, and in proper tolerate-no-weakness, progress-or-death fashion I went right back out and attempted to run way more than I should have as soon as the foot was even functional again.  Because I had to make up for lost time, right???  SO I INJURED IT AGAIN.  This time it’s a lot less obvious what the nature of the hurt is — something in the heel, probably a strain or a sprain or plantar fasciitis or I don’t know I’m not a fargoing podiatrist.

Whatever it is is (yes, “is is” is sometimes correct, holy Sharknado I just blew my mind by writing “is is” is and it was STILL correct) bad enough that I’ve scheduled a meeting with a podiatrist in two weeks.  I’ve been to the doctor’s office for my own discomfort exactly twice in my life (that I can recall.  And if I can’t recall it, it didn’t happen.  I think that sounds like a good rule).  Both times were for what eventually turned out to be kidney stones.  You know, only EXCRUCIATING AND BRAIN-CHOKING PAIN, the kind of pain that makes you wish you could literally disconnect your head from your body for a while to make the pain stop.

This pain is not that bad, but it’s gone on long enough that it’s time to acknowledge that there may be something actually wrong.

But here’s why I’m stupid.  (Really, I should be writing, here’s why I’m stupid IN THE HERE AND NOW OF THIS MOMENT TODAY.)  I am doing the classic guy thing: “naw, it’s fine, rub some dirt on it, no problem” in that I have started running again regardless.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not out there gritting my teeth and fighting back tears at every step.  In fact, when I run, the pain for the most part goes away.  It’s later in the day, after I’ve been sitting or walking around, you know, NOT RUNNING, that it starts to hurt.  So I have logicked for myself that it can’t be an issue of actual damage (elsewise it would surely hurt all the time, I mean, that makes SENSE, right?) and must therefore be something more like a strain (some muscle or other gets stretched out and relaxed during activity, then tightens up like a piano wire afterward).  This makes sense to my lizard brain and is how I’m justifying continuing to run.

We will see in a few weeks whether it’s actually fine or whether I’ve destroyed my feet beyond repair like Kathy Bates in Misery.  (Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth a little bit.)  So far it’s fine.  But therein lies the problem.  I convinced myself that it’s not so bad; that I can continue to run.

Let me detour to reiterate a fundamental truth that I believe to be true.  THERE IS SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN ABOUT RUNNERS.  Bear in mind, I’m talking about capital-R RUNNERS.  Ask the average person if they’d like to go out for a run, and they are likely to say anything from “No” to “Get bent” to nothing at all in favor of a speedy shin-kick.  Ask a Runner, however, and the answer will be something like “Hey, yeah, I could go for three or four or five miles, I mean I ran this morning but I could use a few more today, in fact why don’t I run from my house to yours so that I can make it an even 10?”  We are messed up, and I fully own belonging to that group.  Card-carrier.  Except we don’t have cards, we have dirty socks and worn-out shoes.

And yes, I’ve read the articles and some books and the studies that show that humans are basically custom-built to run long distances, and I buy most of it.  THAT DOES NOT EXCUSE THE BEHAVIOR.  What kind of an idiot convinces himself that he’s not really hurt so that he can engage in the activity which probably injured him in the first place — an activity, by the way, which is utilized as punishment in VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER SPORT.  It’s like that parasite that takes over an ant’s brain and forces it to camp out on a blade of grass for the sole purpose of getting eaten so that the parasite can end up in a cow’s digestive tract.  (This is a real thing, I read it on The Oatmeal.)  There’s some similar parasite that infects the brains of normal humans and causes them to think it’s a good idea to run for hours and hours and hours every week.  I’m convinced of it.

So I’m injured and finding ways to run despite the injury.  Such, it seems, is life.  I’m doing it smarter this time than I did back in February; taking nice short distances, going at what feels like a snail’s pace.  So far, it’s working, though it’s tortuous reigning myself in when my brain is constantly whispering go faster, go farther, you’re a wimp, GO GO GO.  But I’m determined to make a positive out of it, and here’s another thing I’ve convinced myself of.  While my physical self has suffered, my metaphysical self has grown. While my body is waning, my mind is waxing, and while my running has been pathetic of late, my writing has been prolific.  The trick will be to keep the two balanced as I (hopefully) bring my physical self back up to speed (oh no, the running puns are starting again, HIDE).  Hopefully there’s enough wax to go around.

+2 points for the continued metaphor, but -10 because… ew.