So, I've been running for a while now. When we moved into this house I was excited to map out a serene, isolated route for my morning jogs, one where I wouldn't have to worry about crossing busy streets and running in the grass to dodge traffic. Two paths presented themselves: Running back through our neighborhood, complete with streetlights and houses and a general feeling of safety. Or I could run on the golf cart path that winds its way through the middle of our neighborhood, with no lights and very few houses around. This is what I pictured when I thought about running the golf cart path:
Needless to say, I chose to run through the neighborhood. "This is gonna be GREAT! And QUIET! And so peaceful! Not to mention that I have the safety of other houses being nearby, but I run early enough in the morning that no one will be out to witness my ass jiggling up those huge hills" I thought. So I set out at 5:30am for my inaugural run. Everything was going great until I reached a stretch of road that is completely, 100% pitch black, with no houses....and it crosses under the interstate overpasses. Having lived in the city my whole life, interstate overpasses mean one thing to me: homeless people. They live under them. They have grocery shopping carts full of god knows what, probably rags soaked in gasoline and some carving knives. But! In the city, this is not generally a problem because you are on a CITY street, with lots of other people around. Lots of witnesses. Not so at 5:30am on a country road that runs straight in between a deserted golf course and a not-corn field. City homeless people know that they are surrounded by people, and thus they remain harmless. But country homeless, left all alone in the forest, could start to get ideas. The husband eased my worries by pointing out that homeless people don't generally hang out near the golf course. Well, he tried to ease my worries, but I tend to catastrophize things until my brain can see nothing but DANGER! FEAR! TERROR! and I have a mini freakout over something that just isn't really deserving of that level of panic.
So off I started, into the darkness with my ipod blaring. This is another thing that is problematic: I am incapable of running without music pounding into my ears. I hear people say that going for a run centers them, lets them think about their problems and meditate, in some form. Well, I hear enough whining and bitching during my days, thank you, and I do not need to hear it from myself for 45 minutes every morning. "You just shut your brain off, young lady, and you RUN", I tell myself. The idea that it makes sense to listen to myself is insane to me, I would much rather listen to The Killers screaming into my ear about what someone told them about a boyfriend or a girlfriend or whatever. This becomes a problem when my brain starts spinning its wheels and realizing that I couldn't hear the overpass-dwelling homeless guy's footsteps approaching with my music up so loud. So I settle for turning my head every ten steps or so just to make sure I am truly still alone out there in the wilderness. While I am looking back, preparing for the inevitable attack, I approach the interstate. Enter fucked up brain again. The interstate is so loud, my brain tells me, that anyone could do anything to anyone out here and no one would hear a thing. Well, shit. So now on top of looking behind me every ten steps I am also now sprinting in the darkness at full speed. Also? Sometimes the pants that I run in tend to slip and slide and maybe start to fall off a little, so what I am doing at this point is sprinting, head-turning, and pulling up my pants at the same time. Somewhere in between the first interstate and the second I become increasingly afraid and maybe start to sing whatever song is on my ipod, just as a coping mechanism. Or, quite possibly, the Homeless Murderers who live on our golf course will think I am certifiably insane and leave me alone. Just then, when the fear has ramped up to Code Red, PANIC, I spot the field. In this field there are very large hay bales scattered about, and in the dark, at 5:30am, they look remarkably like hiding spots for someone to lay in wait for an innocent jogger to pass by and then BAM. What is the "BAM", you might ask? I once saw an episode of CSI where there was a pig farmer who abducted young girls and then killed them and fed them to his pigs. Brain: Stage Left. Running at a heart attack inducing speed, singing "Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake, pulling my pants up, looking behind me in terror, and now scanning the horizon for pig farmers. This? Is not the peaceful morning jog that I had in mind. As I near the entrance to our neighborhood and see the sweet safety of a street light, I can only imagine what anyone inside their house who might be witnessing this insane spectacle is thinking. "God bless her little heart, there's that retarded girl again. She must really like jogging, she always runs so FAST. She also sings Britney Spears songs while she's coming up that hill, which is weird."
About a month ago my new chiropractor told me that due to me having the "spine of a 55 year old", I should most definitely never, ever run again or I could cause horrific back pain and a possible future surgery on two of my discs. Do you think if I explained to him that the country was trying to kill me, so I had to RUN FOR MY LIFE, he would be cool with it? Sorry, Dr. Josh, but there was a pack of pig farmers after me. Plus the homeless guy. I had to run, the voices told me so.