Running as Drug
Oh, God! You should have been with me yesterday when I finished my ham and eggs and knocked back some whiskey and picked up my Weatherby Mark V .300 Magnum and a ball of black Opium for dessert and went outside with a fierce kind of joy in my heart because I was Proud to be an American on a day like this. If felt like a goddamn Football Game, Jann -- it was like Paradise.... You remember that bliss you felt when we powered down to the farm and whipped Stanford? Well, it felt like That.
O Ghost, O Lost, Lost and Gone, O Ghost, come back again. --Hunter S. Thompson, Ph.D.
Yes, in case you were wondering, I do realize that most of the time I'm painting a picture of running like it's this thing worthy of philosophizing about in this high, mighty, and mostly serious way. It's a pretentious blog. I am a philosopher after all. And yes, in my last post, I even went so far as to talk about running as a religious experience.
But if we're going to keep the record straight then it should be noted that none of this seriousness or the attempt to paint this mindless trotting as somehow Meaningful in the way that Great Philosophers conceive of Meaning changes the fact that the last thing I thought this afternoon before strapping my Nike Skylons onto my knobby feet and heading out for a hill workout was Fuck.
Yes no shit there I was yet again running/hobbling down the road, down the road, for the umpteenth time like a damned and gaunt specter looking for a fix. My iliotibial band was raking my knee like a strung wire, but I paid it no mind. It didn't matter that there were papers to write or houses to clean or emails to send or tests to write and papers to grade, not to mention other people in the world. All that mattered was wresting some kind of high out of these beat up legs. Or at least conjuring the memory of being high, which is really what drives the addict down and in and towards the next fix. Not the joy but the lovely wadded up memory of joy, like a dinner receipt that you left in your pants that got dried and compacted into a crackling dusty chunk.
No, the fix is nothing compared to the memory of the fix. I wasn't expecting the possibility of transcendence or meaning. All I needed was the vague recollection of a time when it was the realest thing. How did Q. Cassidy put it? It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond? Or am I remembering the good doctor when he was speaking about The Edge? I can't remember their phrasing but I can tell you quite precisely that my mileage over the last week was one hundred and six.
There are ways to rationalize this excess. It was only twelve hours, give or take, of running, which if you think about it is less time than most people, according to the statistics that I am making up right now, sit in front of the television set. Not to mention it could lead at some point down the road to a marathon run in less than two and one half hours. And the fact that spring demands the seeking out of a breeze or two on the face. But really what it is, all this running, what it really is, is an escape and an ascent into a space where none of the things that matter matter.
I know I've insinuated otherwise, and I apologize for the confusion. Running ain't meaningful. We do it because it doesn't mean shit. Just how the alcoholic drinks, as a mode of self-destruction. Running literally destroys the self, however briefly. Fear and loathing indeed. All you rounders take a whiff on me.
That running habit's mighty bad. I've got an easy 14 miler on the docket for tomorrow.