People who are into running are always REALLY into running. When’s the last time you said to someone, “Oh, I didn’t know you ran.”? I’m guessing never. Because people who run can’t stop talking about it. If there’s a lull in the conversation, they bring it up. They post about it on facebook all the time. All their family and holiday photos appear to be at finish lines. My theory: they have to keep hyping it up because if they stop, they’ll realize what a miserable thing running is. Of course I only say that because I fall into the only other camp: people who are really into NOT running. Any day I don’t run is automatically a good day.

There is no middle ground. People either love or hate running. The only other option is to not have thought enough about running to love or hate it.

I am not built for running. I have body parts that get painfully jostled when I run (my insides included). You might be fooled by my hole-filled, threadbare sneakers. These are my sneakers:

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These are my sneakers on drugs:

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This photo had a disconcerting time-it-took-to-balance-shoes : joke ratio.  It’s disconcerting because of how funny I think this joke is.

They didn’t get like that from lots of running. They got like that because I hate buying new sneakers for a reason so secret, even I don’t know it. So I let my sneakers get really, really, really old before I replace them. It wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t wear such brightly colored socks that really emphasize the amount of holes in the sneakers.

Now imagine what these shoes would look like if I ran? They’d leave pieces of themselves behind everywhere I ran, like those bits of tire along the highway.

And runners are always injured. I would run to avoid injury; say, if a mountain were about to fall on me. But running to the point of getting injured? I don’t get it and I don’t think I ever will. It’s the same reason I don’t get drunk. As someone who gets migraines, I look at hungover people and think, “You did this on purpose? You paid good money to feel this way? Can I sell you my migraines? I’ll throw in a few allergy headaches free!”

What about the negative verbal connotations with running? The word “run” almost exclusively gets used in bad ways:

    • Run into trouble
    • Run errands (not fun errands. You don’t run baby shower shopping.)
    • Run to the bathroom
    • Run defense (as in someone’s getting attacked)
    • Run into things (like shin into metal bedframe. Not a happy run.)
    • Run a ponzie scheme
    • Get the run-around
    • Run for office

Clearly we have felt negative about running for so long that it has made its way into the vernacular.

But begrudgingly I have to say there are some good things about running (mostly because I can’t outrun all the people I made mad by bashing running)(like I said, they’re a PASSIONATE group).

Running is the Contol+Alt+Delete for dogs. When we go for a walk and my dog gets stuck in a barking loop, I know that I can get her unstuck by starting to run. Example:

Dog: “THERE’S A CAT OVER THERE! STUPID CAT! I HATE CATS! I’LL TEACH THAT CAT A LESSON! IT’S STILL THERE! STUPID CAT! I HATE CATS! I’LL TEACH THAT CAT A LESSON! IT’S STILL THERE! STUPID CAT! Oh, we’re running. But the cat is back there! STUPID CAT! I HATE…This is fun! Anyway, I hate…cats…this is great! We should always run! It’s like we’re playing chase, only we’re on the same team. This is the best day ever! I just hope we don’t see any cats while we’re out.”

Problem solved.

But by far the best thing about running is that I don’t have to do it. With all those marathons they have, I’d feel just awful if no one wanted to run them. Luckily there’s so many people who want to run them, they can not only charge money to let you run (and yet no one will buy my migraines?), but they have some marathons that are by invitation only. I don’t know where they get their list of people, but I refuse to buy protein shakes in case I accidentally end up on one of those invite lists. And thanks to all the runners, even if I did buy fancy sneakers and end up on a list, I’m sure I’d be really far down at the bottom of the list (somewhere between Cher and the guy who played Santa in the original Miracle on 34th Street (who I only beat out because I’m pretty sure he’s dead)).

If you’re grateful to not have to run a marathon, make sure you hug a runner next time you see one. If you can catch them.

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