Friday, September 30, 2011

The Healing Power of a Good Run

I know people that are always looking for a miracle fix-it:

< mocking sneer in lilting fancy-boy voice >
Oh, I have a headache better pop an aspirin.
Oh, no, part of my tooth fell out. Time to go to the dentist for a filling.
I was just hit by a car. Someone call 9-1-1 while I gather the bone shards from my diced clavicle.

< / mocking sneer in lilting fancy-boy voice >

Sheesh…ibuprofen, alloy amalgams, Vicodin, ambulances…folks, these things don’t solve all of life’s problems. Sure, the Vicodin can take you on a distractedly strange and magical journey that lasts a few hours before depositing your tattered consciousness back into the hot stew of your troubles. Well worth it - just to get re-acquainted with Salvador Dali style surrealism if only for a short time - but hardly a miracle fix-it.

You don’t have to go all Anna Nicole if life’s physical and mental woes have you down. See those running shoes over there under the Ab Lounger/coat rack? Go on, put them on. There’s the miracle fix-it you crave. C’mon, just one little step. I’ll give you the first mile free. Try it. I bet you like it. Plus, have you seen all of the sold out marathons? Everyone’s doing it.

Case(s) in point: I was recently struggling with some post-half marathon upper respiratory tightness. I felt my annual chest cold coming on. I went out for an 8 miler. Three miles in, I wanted to quit. I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt uncomfortable and fatigued. Did I quit? Am I not Nitmos? Of course not, I pressed on as the slave to my running log that I am. Facing a few hills and a sharp headwind, it was not going to be pretty. I was wishing I had some Vicodin. At one point, I was wishing that I tripped and shattered my clavicle. But, mostly, I was wishing for the Vicodin (and maybe some Vicodin-flavored whiskey*).

Then, the clouds parted, a ray of sun shone through, and a giant floating clock appeared and ticked…then tocked…then melted in front of my very eyes. Then I remembered that I had consumed some Vicodin-flavored Gu a few minutes beforehand. At any rate, a miracle occurred. An epiphany ephiphaned. I charged up the remaining humps of the hills with frenzied spinning legs, like a teenage boy’s arms fumbling with Anna Nicole’s bra strap, and huffing breaths. At the top, I turned and looked into the valley of abandoned despair. I could see the red little devil-horned chest cold baby floundering on the sidewalk amidst its bioslime covering. He could no longer cling to a healthy body in motion.

I bounded down the sidewalk like a gazelle and never again looked back. Chest cold? No. Lungs tight? No. Breathing labored and fatigued? No. Clavicle intact? Yes. Nipples hard? You betcha (Hi Sarah!), it was cold out.

This same sort of miracle fix-it happened a few days later too. My left foot was throbbing due to some impromptu yard soccer-rugby that the boy and I tend to play. (It involves me trying to tackle/trip/push him while he dribbles the ball in circles around me.) The first mile was miserable. Did I quit? Am I not Nitmos? Hell no, I kept running until I couldn’t feel the foot anymore. I figured I either damaged it severely and it is now numb - so better keep running and deal with that problem later (you know, get as many miles in as you can while you can't feel anything) – or it worked itself out.

Guess what? It worked itself out. No foot pain whatsoever. I must have lost it on the run like that miserable little chest cold baby.

Bad day? Get a good run in. Bad kidney stone? Good run. Bad toothache? Good run. Bad break-up? Good run. Bad cirrhosis? Good run. Whatever your ailment, a good run is the cure. And approximately 1500mg Vicodin**. But, mostly, the running thing.

The only side effect? Apparently, a nasty habit of asking rhetorical questions. How many have I asked in this little blog post? Seventeen.

Happy trails?

Eighteen. Happy trails.

*Don’t take medicinal advice from me.
**I warned you, don’t take medicinal advice from me.

It's been years since I revisited my Enjoy These Links sidebar (which you probably didn't even know I had there) and, lo and behold, half of the links were either downright dead or no longer updating. I have updated my links. This is not a complete list but, I think, are some of the most consistently enjoyable/thought-provoking/entertaining runner writers (or, exercise writers) out there. Check them out! Yes, I left Half-Fast on there despite the fact that he cares so little about anyone that he isn't even bothering to put a crappy Happy Labor Day! post out there. What an ass.


Sun Runner said...

No one bests me in a contest of pointy nipples. NO ONE!

You know what else is cured by a good hard run? A nasty hangover.

Thomas said...

I was recently plagued by a very consistent cold that refused to leave for 6 weeks.

I did the last cough around mile 9 of my last marathon. That running stuff really is a magic cure.

BrianFlash said...

Sore calves today - 3/4 marathon tomorrow. I predict the calf soreness to disappear by 9:05AM to be replaced by an overall sense of well being.

Xenia said...

I read 'annual chest cold' as anal chest cold. I've got problems.

Thanks for keeping me on your link list though I see I've been moved to the bottom. And under Razz. (Good god, the nightmares I'm gonna have now.) Since I barely post anymore, I won't quibble. But I will point out that there are no footnotes for the asterisks. Pity.

Nitmos said...

You know, I was on my run shortly after posting this and thought 'Hey, I don't remember putting a footnote in there.' Good catch...problem resolved. I'm glad you read so closely.

Elizabeth said...

Everyone loves a nice set of cold weather nipples! And where might one find this Vicoden-flavored whiskey you speak of? Sounds like good long-run fuel to me.

The Merry said...

I like your medical advice much better than the stuff I was hearing from the knee doctor. Plus, he never once mentioned the possibility of whiskey-flavored anything. The fiend.

Sean and Rain Gowens said...

The Anna Nicole references are sort of kind of creepy. And I like your idea of just running through the pain. but maybe you should put a disclaimer about not taking running advice from you either :)

The Sean said...

If only you had posted this earlier we might still have Anna Nicole with us... Well I am sure we still have some of her with us... at least a copy parts.

(& Thanks for the link over there)

"antstram" or... ant's tram

Running Through Phoenix said...

I was 'small', and having trouble because of that in my marriage. Sure my wife loves me, but my job requirements, and her lengthy night time tennis lessons with coach Stephon, and frankly my vienna sausage wiennie, made things in the bedroom a bit strained. I went out for a nice little 5 miler and low and behold, our lovelife is on the rise. Yep, a 5 mile run made my man kickstand larger. Now we are on our second honeymoon and hooked on running (and vicodin, and whiskey) and thIngs have never Been better. Thanks Dr. Nitmos!!

Drea said...

Amen! Course a glass of wine helps now and then too depending on the size of the glass ;)

Anonymous said...

Your medical advice is sound if approached with caution lol

Angela @ SF Road Warrior said...

Hah, awesome. I am a firm believe in running until it doesn't hurt anymore (whatever 'it' is). Let the naysayers have their 'drugs' and 'rest' and 'emergency rooms.'