Most importantly, running feeds a certain type of obsessiveness that informs my hobby-picking. The type of obsessiveness that takes, “Hey, I like to read books,” and turns it into, “Let’s go to grad school because of some silly idea about liking books.”
With a hobby that involves being alone outside with only myself, sometimes the question of what I do to pass the time comes up. And the short answer is: I think. And listen to Girl Talk. But mostly I think.
Running time is my clear-headed space. I do a lot of yoga, but I can’t quite meditate there. During breathing exercises, I spend more time making sure I don’t get snot on my hands** than I do making sure the prana’s flowing correctly. If you were to transcribe my thoughts during shavasana, you’d end up with this:
I’M SOOOOOOO HUNGRY. BLRGHHHH. I’M SOOOOOOO HUNGRY.#
Followed by a few moments of panic when I try to figure out whether or not I’ve fallen asleep.
Running gets me to that other level, where I don’t realize I’m thinking and I have space to clear the brain junk. It’s my time to wrestle with all the great “what ifs” of my life:
1.) Would things have been easier if I had majored in accounting?
2.) What happens culturally to boys that changes them from eight year-olds who are really open about the fact that they’ve saved you a cupcake from their school birthday celebrations because they know you’re babysitting them later to dudes who are all like, “There’s cake or whatever, if you want it,” even though the sentiment behind it HAS NEVER CHANGED? They still want to make you happy and saved you cake. What makes them grow up to be people who don’t want you to think they cared?
3.) If I planned a solo lady vacation to Vermont, how many American Flatbread restaurants would I visit?
4.) What rationale could I develop for visiting San Francisco?
5.) If tone deafness is actually something quite different from what people think it is, what’s a good word for my musical abilities?
6.) What should I have for dinner? (This is a question I have all day, every day.)
7.) Why are bridesmaids’ dresses so ugly even when they’re not really all that ugly?
8.) What’s creepier: father-son honkers or dudes in crossover SUVs?
9.) How many ice pops can I eat today?
10.) Would I recognize a celebrity if I saw one right now?
11.) Why are other grapefruit sodas not as tasty as Fresca?
12.) Do I need new pants soon?
13.) How dumb would I look dancing to this song?
See? Deep thoughts.
* Pursing any and all other graduate degrees would be the worst thing I could be doing.
** Bonus points if you can name/do the breathing exercise I’m hinting at.
# My entire internal monologue takes place in caps.