Born to run — on steroids, which makes the running substantially easier

GateHouse — If you page back through human history, you’ll find a pretty short list of reasons that people have had to run for long distances, which are all basically some variation of “I was being chased by this thing with blood in its teeth and meat-tearing claws, and what’s with all the questions anyway, Glunk?” This is, it is logically said, the primary reason our ancestors north on the evolutionary scale developed foot-speed in the first place: When you wake every morning to the very real possibility of being ground into a hairy goo by a predatory hellbeast whose name includes the word “saber-toothed,” it probably doesn’t take long before you develop a singular talent for panicked escapes. (Our creationist friends are invited to substitute “velociraptor” in previous sentence. Also in this hypothetical the human’s job is something he can do with a club, obvs.)

But in modern times, with the whole hunter-gatherer situation pretty well replaced by a land stuffed with a surfeit of Golden Corrals and/or meat-ish clumps stacked three high and available without your removing yourself from your car, there’s really only one reason people run long distances: they are crazy fools whose brains have been replaced by oatmeal and a deep enjoyment of simply avoided injury.

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I don’t mean to speak out of turn; I am, needless to say, one of these fools, one who this very weekend horked down a superfluity of pancakes and about a half-Babe of bacon and elected to spend the next two hours doing a training run for a half-marathon, rather than do something else, and by something else I mean “ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL.” (You’d be surprised how easy it is to do Anything Else At All instead of running, but for you non self-starters out there, I’d suggest beginning by sitting on the couch, and using a soup ladle to shove some ham and Skittles into your mouth and mashing them into your gullet with your clenched fists, for hours. If it helps you with the squashing, turn on some relaxing music.) Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the physiological after-effects of the pancake/trail running situation, the answer is yes, it does result in a series of extremely angry messages from your stomach, many of which are delivered using curse words that most of your other digestive organs are not allowed to use. (You get your Wii privileges back when I say so, liver.)

This said, I am under no illusions that 12 miles is any great shakes; I, quite literally, know a woman in North Carolina who could do this while pregnant, a terrifying guy who qualified for Boston this year and a bearded monster near Atlanta who recently ran 31 miles both competitively (and well) and over a couple of mountains, a combination which would rightly lead the reader to surmise that there is something very, very wrong with him. So believe me when I say I am not here looking for medals. That said, if you’d care to send a care package of Shot Blocks or about a million bananas, Twitter me.

But the thing about running is that it’s one of those pursuits that will result, inevitably, in the breakdown of your aging body, much like being a major-league pitcher or Madonna. And indeed, being of the age where the aches that once might have vanished overnight now make themselves comfortable for three or four days and make it cumbersome to get out of the car, I’ve got a little slight hip-twinge thing that I am addressing in the manner recommended by my nearest Medical Professional: Ladies and gentlemen, I am on steroids.

Now, obviously, these aren’t the same injectable goodies that have famously ravaged baseball, causing weight gain, memory loss and absolutely freakshow stat lines in your last year or two, but non-inflammatory some sort of yada yada, I don’t know, there’s a lot of words on this piece of paper, and most of them are in Spanish. But here’s what I do know: they work great. I’m a little disappointed at being officially ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame (who wouldn’t?) but my small hip situation hasn’t hurt for several days, a medical achievement I’m celebrating by going out and throwing some buses into a river. Somewhere, I like to think that Glunk is smiling.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

27 responses to “Born to run — on steroids, which makes the running substantially easier

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