Whatcha Running For

Beyond just getting excited and signing up for something because I need the motivation to do what needs to be done exercise-wise? Why else am I running?

First and foremost– because exercise is the easiest and cheapest snake oil* for a lot of what ails ya.

Mildly Depressed? Exercise.
Kind of Anxious? Exercise.
Nights with Insomnia? Exercise.
Too much ADHD? Exercise.
Constantly irritated by almost everyone around you? Exercise. Or move to an isolated island, where it’s just you and a 25 year old cabana boy that does laundry just the way you want it done.

*Better living with chemistry– totally. I’m a personal big fan of chemistry. However if I can change my shit, or lessen my shit, with a reasonably simple lifestyle change, I’m gonna do that, too.

In the interest of full disclosure, lest anyone be fooled into thinking that I listen to my own preaching, I’m not known for my dedication to planned physical activity. Technically I believe the words I’ve said most often to JB were, “I fucking hate it and I’ll do it tomorrow”. I’m active– hell, two kids I don’t have much of a choice. But I’m certainly not running while posting this blog…so.

But I’m suffering from Filter Failure, and getting increasingly frustrated with people (some of which is deserved, some of which is not).

Filter Failure [fil·ter fail·ure]
1. The point which the invisible barrier between the brain and the mouth has been stretched beyond the critical mass point. Prolonged exposure to a compromised Filter is ill-advised. Key Filter Failure prevention methods include: finding Spock-like logical people, avoiding any and all emotional outbursts, submersion in long stretches of silence.

Um… Spock? We have a problem. Assuming that no one else in my life every went batshit over anything, living with a 4.5 and a 2.5 year old is the dictionary-picture antithesis for all of the Key Filter Failure Prevention Methods. And I’m a girl, regularly exposed to other girls. Some of whom also happen to be mothers. Dude, it’s astonishing that my filter has made it this long without suffering from black hole spaghettification.

Obviously it’s time to restructure the Filter Failure prevention methods.

While I ran myself out of a funk on the Treadmill of Love last night, I started thinking about how, for the first mile or so, my brain was in this pattern:

I’ll just do a quick run tonight.
13.1 fucking miles, Stephanie. In October. So far you’ve run 1 1/4.
Dammit. Okay, I’ll do 2 miles.

Then suddenly I got to 2 miles, P!nk was next on the play list and I started thinking, you know what? I’m not going to quit until I’ve gone a little further than last time. 3.19 miles later, and I’m walking upstairs thinking about how I couldn’t run that far last month. Then I get an email from my smartphone app telling me that I had just beat my last personal best. Well! Then I take a shower, read my book, and sleep the sleep of a Quiet Mind.

Impressive enough, the Quiet Mind sleep– but you know what else? For about 30 minutes of that treadmill time, there were only 3-4 thoughts, two of which were actually related to running. The only other time I can say I’ve had that kind of focus was giving birth to Elliot. That no-drugs-birth-thing went a long way toward forcing my brain to be in the moment. Since then, attempts to recreate that attention state have failed.

For me, running is cheaper than therapy. I know what’s wrong with me (other people *snort*). Running that bullshit right on out of my head? Yeah, I could get down with that.

Rephrase: I did get down with it– and it felt great.

My First Half Marathon

Wait, let me say that again– Half. Marathon. Running. 13.1 Miles. Me, at 5’4 carrying 180 pounds of pure muscle leftover pregnancy fat. I’ve totally been running regularly have sporadically ran a mile.

That’s right, party people, Scattermom is going to be hoofing it in the Ramblin’ Rose 1/2 Marathon in October. Of this year.

Training and running a half marathon is totally on my Bucket List. That, by the way, was a huge, whooping lie. The only item currently on my Bucket List is to make a Bucket List. The Bucket List sounds so romantic. Sitting down, either alone, or with one’s partner, and detailing a plan for all this cool life experience. Me? I narrow my eyes at the romanticism, recognizing it for what it will become–yet another documentation of great ideas, unfulfilled, mocking me every time I clean out the drawer it’s been shoved in.

So if not a dreamt of goal, how exactly does one go from haphazardly running a mile here and there, to registering to run 13.1 miles?

1) Both Small People nap at the same time.
2) I waste most of that time on Facebook catch up on the lives of my close friends.
3) A good friend posts about registering to run.
4) I do a “whoot-whoot” and offer to wait at the end with a mimosa.
5) Next thing I know, Annie says, “hey, let’s be our own team and run it”.
6) I scoff for about 25 seconds, find out it’s not until October and before you can say, “Hey, did you take your afternoon dose of adderall”, I’m hitting submit on the entry form.

Then my dear, darling husband sparked my competitive streak by reacting with wide eyed amusement asking, “did you know how many miles that was before you paid” (No, but that’s NOT the point).

As I ran through my first mile in dunno-how-many months, I worked myself up to being obnoxiously excited. Six-ish years ago, I did a 5K– as a smoker, with a sprained ankle, in August. Being almost lapped by an 80 year old could have been embarrassing, but dissing on him would be ageism, and discrimination is wrong.

There are now several motivators, starting with:


I do believe I turn 35 this month. Look, I’m not going to lie. I could shit-care-less about that number. Maybe there aren’t as many 3am party nights, but– you know what? There were many 3am– and beyond– party nights. My liver thanks me for being cool with not being in that place anymore. But what better way to say “fuck off middle age” than to set a crazy goal Right? With the power of a woman that can not hear Mom, MOM, MOOOMMMMYYY I’m ignoring the voice that keeps whispering about slot machines and strippers in Vegas. With age comes realism and all I can see is me, easily distracted by shiny objects, prone to impulsivity, in a pawn shop with a gaping whole where my extra kidney should be.

So maybe no to Vegas.

There are 30 more pounds to lose before reattaining Other Self status. And 40 before attaining the Bad Ass–as in, I could kick yours–Status that floats around my head during games of Chutes and Ladders.

I’ve enjoyed running, those rare times when it’s been a regular thing, because it’s quick, reasonably painless, cheap, and doesn’t require choreographed moves in a group class-setting. Drunk at a bar– I’m a rhythmic, gyrating fool. Routine fitness class– more pathetic, drooling buffoon. Running has a certain grace– if you can zone out.

And there my friends, is the clincher. I can run and let my mind wander off at its leisure. And, wow does it go some places, but that’s for another day. Today I just want to say thanks to my ADHD, as it occurs to me that my (dis)ability to make randomly impulsive decisions also works in my favor.

Now, off to spend some QT with Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, Method Man and P!nk, pretending I’m training for a preternatural showdown, for which my latent powers are the only thing stopping total world annihilation.

What? You think about something else during exercise?