Friday, April 9, 2010

Now that I have a ten dollar jogging watch...

Okay, so right now, I'm running three days a week, and about three miles for each run. (Except when I'm feeling hyper and optimistic and running about three and a quarter; or when I'm feeling hyper and pessimistic and lasting all of a mile before deciding that if I go any farther I'll break my ankle and never run again and, by proxy, never walk again and, by proxy, have never actually spent the last six months running at all, and then it kinda turns into a full-time struggle not to spiral into Woe Is Me.) Now that the weather is GORGEOUS!!!!!!, I'm trying to ease it up. I mean, REALLY trying to EASE it up, because my two instincts are 1: to force myself into five-mile jogs five days a week; or 2: to keep doing what I'm doing and wish I were doing more.

My college boasted a course called "CIE," the common intellectual experience, which all freshmen were required to take. The whole idea was that we'd study the media of great writers, poets, artists, essayists, theorists, philosophers, and dictators, taught by professors trained in any given field, and talk about what we were learning with our new classmates and Best Friends Forever between binge drinking sessions (or, in my case, staring at the same web sites for twenty hours a day without anyone to stop me - FREEDOM! SWEET, HORRIBLE FREEDOM!). They honestly could have saved a lot of time by taping signs saying "Everything in Moderation" to the front doors of our dorms. Turns out that, all those categories of Very Important People above? Were pretty much getting at just that. (Except the dictators, but I think that, historically, those are the exceptions that prove the rule.) I earned a good 8.0 credits towards my degree being taught the same thing my mom got through with the "Only Two Cookies" rule.

So, everyone important would inform me that easing up my running is the way to go - that means starting by adding about a mile and a half of running on one extra day, and then sprinkling in another half mile to a mile per week, depending on how I'm feeling - if it hurts, take a step back; repeat any weeks that felt like a strain. Keep moving forward, but don't foil your efforts.

Yet, I don't WANT to run a mile and three-quarters tomorrow. I want to run three miles, maybe three-and-a-half; and I want to do the same on Sunday; and if I can't do that, I don't see the point of running on Saturday at all.

"But, Amanda," I explain, struggling to recall whether it was Plato or Aristotle who wrote about Socrates saying something worth quoting that I wouldn't recognize without looking it up first, "A mile and three-quarters is MORE than nothing. This is basic arithmetic; it's a full MILE AND THREE QUARTERS more than nothing." I hope that playing the math card will help; I retained a lot more about math than I did about CIE, other than the previously cited vague recollection of something about keeping it balanced.

Yet, still. It might be because running even a little jacks up my appetite, and I worry that I'll eat more if I run a little than I would without a run, after averaging out calories burned. Or it may just be that the human brain is not designed to process moderation. Which might be why those dictators who opposed it, while scorned by the history books, were probably a LOT more popular during their lives than, say, Socrates. Who was the one who was sentenced to swallow poison for talking about things people didn't want to hear. Just wish I could remember what.

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