I don’t know if I already asked you this, but when exactly did everyone become marathoners? No, I’m serious. Everyone. They all started running their 5k’s and talking about how many minutes they hoped to run a mile. They formed groups and signed up for runs and launched blogs and began to perpetually train.
All of this happened overnight.
The ones who had kids bought special strollers with clear windscreens and handbrakes. Like it was a goddamn emergency. They got running shoes and running pants and scrawled numbers began crawling on their arms and legs. They talked about their strategies for each mile, the barriers at the 10, 12, and 18-mile marks. And if you didn’t run, they ignored you. They ignored the shit out of you.
They spoke of cities when they really meant races. “I ran Chicago. I soooo want to run San Diego.” They posted pictures of stern faces, popped quads, extended legs, flapping numbers, cheering well-wishers, and one-nostril snot cannons.
And all at once in unison they told their knee cartilage to completely fuck off.
I’m not exactly immune to this. While I never became a marathoner, there was a part of my life when I ran. It started some time after I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. I remember because of a HI-larious joke I made when they were about to put me under. They slipped the oxygen over my mouth and nose and shoved an IV in my arm and the oral surgeon asked if I could run five miles and I retorted: “I don’t know. No one’s ever chased me that long.” So I know I wasn’t running then.
But shortly after that most oral of surgeries I started running. And it ended right when Ian was born (just like going out to movies, eating at restaurants, hanging out with friends, relaxing, smiling, and most everything else that keeps humans alive). And I get it. It was a great experience, to be carried by your legs like you’re a passenger in your own body. The longest I ever ran was 6 miles. And the only 5k I ever ran I came in at 24 minutes. I don’t know if I would have continued to run if I didn’t start reproducing. Somehow I doubt it. Especially after reading things like this regarding chronic cardio.
It seems that running marathons is just a very exhausting way to kill yourself. Along the way, your heart becomes paper-thin, (I read that somewhere, and once I post this someone will read it and say “I read that running makes your heart paper-thin somewhere.”) your knee cartilage erodes, and you have very little tolerance for those who point all of this out to you.
Though I will say, I’d prefer a nation of marathoners than people afflicted with self-induced diabetes.
I, myself, opt for short bursts of exercise. And not just because Mark Sisson and my wife tell me that I have no choice (what a couple they’re going to make when she finally leaves me for him). It’s because pouring coffee counts as a short burst. And I have no time or attention span for long stretches of anything dedicated to myself.
This post was written in short bursts.