Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ask Your Doctor if Getting off Your Ass is Right For You*

You know what I like best about running?

It's democratic.

You don't need expensive gear. You don't need a special field, arena, or course. Hell, you don't even need much talent. All you need is an awesome (but wicking!) outfit and some special shoes. Then all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and go. You may not go far. You may not go fast. But, and again unlike almost any other sport, you'll be doing exactly what the elite runners of the sport do. Only slower. And perhaps, if you're like Moi, spazzier.

Another thing I like about running?

The race you run is against yourself. World record-busting is for the professionals. For the rest of us, well, you'll rarely hear another runner say, "Today, I'm going to try and beat Mary Jo's time of last week." What you'll most like hear is, "Today, I'm going to try to beat my time of last week."

And when a fellow runner tells you, "Great job!" they mean it. They don't just say it and then slink away in a fit of silent, seething jealousy to send you mental darts filled with bad luck poison. You may beat yourself up over your suck ass time, but believe me, somewhere out there is a runner for whom your suck ass time is their Holy Grail.

In fact, runners must be the nicest people in the sports world. Living where I do, I encounter the best of the best out on the trails. You know, those human gazelles from Nigeria and Kenya and Jamaica and Morocco who set world records as easily as the rest of us stuff Twinkies in our mouths and who, when they pass you on the trail, make an audible whoosh, they're moving so fast. But not before first giving you a gigantic smile and a hearty "good morning," as if you, too, despite your plodding stride and sweat-soaked brow, have just as much right to claim this sport as they do.

Finally, becoming a runner has made me realize that the only person on this planet responsible for my own health is Moi. As Bill Maher, my sometimes tenth husband, said on a recent show, we don't have a medical care crisis in this country. We have a health crisis. Personal responsibility? Prevention? Exercise and proper diet? Hell no. Who needs those things when the pusher-men pharmaceutical companies got new drugs hitting the streets every 2.5 seconds?

Sure, I know that I can run/bike/hike/climb/swim/eat spinach until my feet fall off and I'm still going to die. Sure, I can still get cancer, still fall over dead from a heart attack, still get hit by a bus. Can't run away from crap genetics or freak accidents. But at least I can remove myself in some small way from the "demand" side of the equation. And leave it open – and more affordable – for those who really, truly cannot fling their bodies around in the glorious pursuit of sport.

*Blatantly stolen without shame or remorse from Bill Maher.


Doris Rose said...

applause, applause--you go girl. I sweat just reading about your adventures. Sadly, sweating is not something I enjoy, but admire in others.
And you are correct, we all hold responsibility for the care and maintenance of our individual units, we can't blame everything on doctors or the Fates.

Meghan said...

Excellent entry.

I want to start running again. I've been waiting for the weather to cool off a bit... but it seems as that may never happen. It's October and we're running the AC.

Jenny said...

You've perfectly described why I like boxing, too. It's not pretty, but it's effective. Great post and happy running!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

awesome - get out there, girl!

You know what else I think is great about running? You never know who is faster or slower than you just by looking at them.

Orangeblossoms said...

inspirational, as usual!

moi said...

DR: But you will soon have a pool, and so even if you sweat, you won't notice!

Meghan: We're still running the AC (well, in our case, swamp cooler), too. Hey, Xan would most likely so dig one of those jogging strollers! Go for it!

AB: I'm muy impresionado that you box. If I were to try it, I'd most likely punch myself in my own face.

Pirate: Yeah, them tall skinny ass gals are not always the speediest of Gonzaleses! And they don't have much muscle . . . You know, for lifting stuff out of the refrigerator.

Orange: Hey, you're baaaaaack! Nice to see ya!

moi said...

Oh, and of course, no offense intended towards those girlfriends of mine who, despite ingesting copious amounts of cheese and fried vegetables and Doritos on a regular basis, still somehow manage to remain naturally tall and skinny. WITH asses. How does that happen?

Wicked Thistle said...

Good breeding. One cannot take credit for such things, they just happen. If it makes you feel any better, I am being punished mightily for it with a great big fat perimenopause. It's taking the place of my ass.

Anyhoo, my muscles cramped just reading this entry. I love that you run. I can't do it, but I am filled with admiration for those who do. On the few (2) occasions that I've actually tried, my lungs experienced pre-explosive pain and a whiny little voice in my brain told me that 10 steps was perfectly enough.