Skinny Daily Post


I hate having to run.

(That’s what many runners say.)

Get a group of people prepping for a marathon in a room, and you’ll hear this line over and over, “I hate running.” Or, “I’m a terrible runner.” And what these people have in common is that despite hating it, despite being bad at it, they do it. And they cannot stop.

It’s like having a nicotine addiction. When we smoke, we hate that we do it, we want to stop, know we’ll stop eventually, wish we could stop now.

I know, I know, I know. I’ve been bitten, smitten with running. It’s because of the way it feels when I’m running, sometimes, but mostly because of the buzz I feel when I stop. It’s a warm juiciness that lasts and lasts, all day and into the next. All the little aches and pains of my mid-40s come to a dead stop after a long run. I become loose, warm, liquid, and outrageously smug.

I stay that way until it’s time to run again.

A narcotic, this feeling, the smugness. Just knowing that I could cover a lot of ground on foot if I had to makes me feel more confident in the world. I record mileage in my car constantly, always working on another route, a path with hills, a new way to the beach.

I love it.

And I hate it. I hate it because it doesn’t always feel good, because I’d rather sit on the couch and read a book. Sometimes it’s cold. Sometimes it’s icy. Sometimes I want to sleep in, and sleep and sleep.

But I’ve been doing too much sleeping lately and not enough running. So when reader LynneD at asked me to consider the Chicago marathon, even though I’ve been quite sure I will NEVER run a marathon (crazy talk!) I thought, well?


LynneD feels she may be making up for lost time, having lost loads and loads of weight, (80-some lbs. so far) armed with a new body that does things, that endures, she explores the very edge of her endurance all the time and finds that she can just keep pushing that edge out farther and farther. In one email she described her intention to run a marathon, her rappelling class, her great lakes kayaking adventure, and her various preparations for “adventure racing” as near and long-term goals.

No, she’s not 20. She’s in her mid-40s, and just sent the last of her brood off to college.

Peer pressure.

I’m thinking of the tapes we saw in high school that explained how cigarettes led to marijuana smoking, which lead to dropping acid and shooting heroine, and more and worse and more and worse.

I may not be as big of a junkie as LynneD, but I want to be. I’m succumbing to peer pressure, and I couldn’t be happier to find a peer to put the pressure on. I love that we’ve been through the same battle, are fighting many of the same demons.

I haven’t signed up for any marathons yet, but I’ve got training buddies hooked up for a half-marathon in late September. Toronto.

I’ve got a new training schedule. A new goal. Another motivation.

And you? Got a peer to put the pressure on — in a good way? They’re not hard to find, people in your boat. Troll for them in weight loss groups, online at the diet boards, among your cronies. Call them training partners, diet buddies, your peers are people who get what it is you’re going through because they’ve been there before or are going through it at the same time. You can double your learning, double your confidence, double dog dare one another into broader, deeper goals.

LynneD got to me, and I’m running tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that warm looseness again. Tomorrow morning it’ll be mine, all mine.

Jonesing for pavement,


Peer Pressure
William Safire on Jonesing
Running Addiction

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