"Why, why... tell them that it's human nature.... why, why, does he do me that way?"
So... I have an embarassing habit.
If a Michael Jackson song "shuffles" into my playlist while I am running... I kind of start crying. Yeah, I start crying. For real. I think this is the essence of my workout: to pound out all of those circling thoughts, worries, aggression, fears, to-do lists and general over-caffeinated-ness. Now that I *try* to consistently run a few times a week, I find that it gives me an outlet for the trials of simply being human. While that is awesome (and better for my stomach than ice cream therapy), it also comes with the side effect of emotional vulnerability. In the presence of everyone at the YMCA.
I don't mind though. Consider it more of an emotional swell than a bona fide breakdown, with tears of awareness more than sadness. I dare anyone to listen to "Man in the Mirror" without some sort of self-introspection occurring. It's just that running brings all of these emotions and questions to the surface. And when the two collide: it's crazy town on the treadmill! :)
Reason #1 - Running makes me think of my father: a complicated, happy then sad then happy again person. He has been out of my life (deceased) for 15 years, yet time doesn't make a difference when it comes to that specific loss. He was a runner. He ran marathons. Of all the things he probably should have been consistent at, one of those things that seemed always to be in his life was running. I remember how he would go running after work and then come home to finish his workout with sit ups on one of those generic camping mats. He was gross and sweaty, and probably sat on the couch without taking a shower first. He would open a Rolling Rock and sometimes let me have a sip. Therefore, it is my most nostalgic flavor in the world after zucchini fritters.
When I was old enough to run, he helped me "train" for the Osborne marathon. Our elementary school made a big deal about running laps around our school - probably to the tune of a mile or two. He supported my dismal races on the middle school track team, coming to cheer me on until I stopped wanting to go. His biggest rule: don't stop running. Hold your arms above your head if you have cramps, just don't stop running. This could be a HUGE analogy for life if I could just get a grip on the words.
I am nothing but an amateur runner: I don't have hopes that I will ever have the discipline to run a marathon. But it's my default exercise and it always brings me to a space in my head that is calmer. I wonder what my father thought about on his runs and whether it had any sort of Zen affect on all of those grown-up troubles he must have had.
Reason #2 - Listening to Michael Jackson will always make me sad. I miss him. Duh.
Reason #3 - Ever since the Boston marathon bombing, I have come to equate the spirit of marathon runners as an untouchable grace. Humanity is one screwed up venture. People are often so shitty and so awful that it makes you question "why, why does he do me that way?". To attack runners and their spectators in an event that takes months and years of training, for something so quintessentially innocent, is baffling. Of course I felt the same way after the Newtown shooting and many other senseless tragedies. But I think my reactions to ALL of the garbage I have seen in the world is culminating in this most recent shitstorm.
It all comes down to my inability to accept that life is going to be unfair. I want bad people to be known for who they are and to be punished. I want good people to be recognized and left alone. Gregory would qualify this as my black and white thinking. It's true. I have major beef with humans. I don't like that otherwise "good" people can become crazy or delusional and do "bad" things, all while completely rationalizing it. I don't understand it. I'm not perfect... but as an adult, I keep busy with crafts and my kids and trying to think of what new recipes to try: not how to actively hurt people. It bothers me that I live in a world where people do horrible things and that my kids will grow up and learn that fact as well.
So, on my runs, I cry about that too.
And then the moment passes. I laugh at my ridiculousness. I feel better that the run is over and I can cross that, metaphorically, off of my daily to-do list.
***And as an emotional disclaimer: I know I come on here every few weeks and rant, I promise the next post will be a little less philosophical and little more haha, my kid did something funny anecdotal. ***