There’s a reason tonight’s review is going up so late – it’s because after work, I went for a three and a-half mile run before playing 90 minutes or so of basketball. This isn’t to brag – I’m sure there are plenty of people reading this post (fact error) that worked out harder and for longer today. But this is relatively new ground for me – at least in the post-college world. I could count on one hand the number of times I went for a run in my four years at Syracuse University. Because it’s not hard to count to four.
But I ran track and cross-country in high school, and I was fairly good at it. (I’m not trying to brag, I’m just being transparent. We’re all about the truth here on Kevin Reviews Things.) I thought about running in college, but I ultimately chose not to – a wise decision. I would have been a walk-on, the back of the line while wasting time that could be spent focusing on broadcasting or homework. (Yeah, mainly broadcasting.) And I’ve never forced myself to run, because I’ve been blessed with a good metabolism. I could eat just about anything and wake up the next day weighing the same as I did before. Whether it’s a hamburger, two hamburgers, a double cheeseburger, a steak, a stake, a pizza pie, a cherry pie, a hardcover copy of Life of Pi or an elephant – I’m not moving much below 172 or above 175 pounds. That’s just how it is.
So I haven’t been tremendously out of shape recently – but I certainly haven’t been in shape. Why? I’ve fallen back on the metabolism as an excuse. But at some point, as evidenced by some people I closely associate with (not naming names), that’s going away. And plus, I like being in shape, in case I’m ever being chased by a man with a flaming torch. Or a gun.
So yesterday, I decided it was time to get back in the game, and Shayne Ryan and I went for a four-mile run on the Long Beach boardwalk. (Shayne is a good friend of mine who I ran with in high school – he’s also the reason I ran so much in high school.) And it was about a half-mile in that I realized – running isn’t exactly like riding a bicycle. You pick it up in some respect, but you don’t have your form, your pace or most of all, your stamina right away. It’s sad to say, but that four-mile run might have been the longest I’d gone since…the summer before college? Is that possible? I battled some stomach cramps despite the light pace, but ultimately it was a fairly painless run. I woke up this morning feeling just fine, too.
…and then today happened.
Shayne and I went for a 3.3-mile run around my town – a smaller distance than yesterday, to be certain. But the stomach cramps didn’t go away, despite another slow pace. For two or so miles, I struggled to push through a pace that I would have laughed off in high school. How did it get this bad? We finished, crossing the imaginary tape on my front lawn’s fresh green grass, and I immediately bolted inside for a Gatorade.
But it wasn’t over. After a short break, we headed back to Long Beach for some four-on-four basketball. That in itself presents a challenge – do you play half-court with four-on-four, or do you run the full length? Five-on-five is always full. Three-on-three is always half. Four-on-four is a ‘tweener. We went full-court, which was a good decision at the time, but feels like a ton of bricks afterward. I’d estimate that, in three games, there was one basket every four or so possessions. (Maybe an over-estimate.) Since there were a combined 72 points or so in our three games, that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 total possessions. I stayed back for maybe five of those 300. In retrospect, it might have been nice to take off, say, forty-five.
So here I am on the couch, completely wiped out. And I’m asking myself these philosophical questions. Why are we so obsessed with running in this culture? Why, after four years of running nearly every day, do I struggle to get through a half-mile? When will my metabolism decide to stop working? How absurdly sore am I going to feel tomorrow? And above all else – am I going to stop doing this?
I know the answer to that last question – no, I don’t think I am. I’ve got seven months in between now and baseball season, and pretty soon, these cramps are going to stop. And pretty soon, I’ll be able to get up and down the court for all 300 of those possessions. And I’l feel really good about myself after I’ve done it.
To make this legitimate, how my legs feel right now: D-