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It's Not the Calories, Stupid

This post has been a long time coming.

I think we're on the same page, most of us.  Probably if you read this blog, you like running, or roses, or fake blonde girls, or the Gentleman.  You probably don't like deprivation, and self-torture, especially in the form of running even though you don't like to, for the sole purpose of burning calories.

For those of you who do like that, or are trapped by a voice in your head that makes you run for that purpose, I'm sorry, I hope you conquer that, and this post means no disrespect.

Well my friends, there is a lie out there in the world that many people I meet on a daily basis seem to believe is the truth. 

These people believe, without a doubt, with full conviction, that the only possible reason that anyone runs distances longer than one block, is to burn calories.  To keep their lady-like figure.  Let's take a journey through time.

Scenario 1:
New years day.  The year is irrelevant.  I happen to go out for a run that day, somewhere around 10:00 a.m., because I run 4-6 days a week, every week, and this happened to be one of those days.  Odds are in that favor.  I'm in my hometown of Napa.

Dude drives by that I know from growing up in Napa, and shouts out his window, "Is your New Years resolution to lose weight?!?" and drives away.

No you f-cking idiot, look at me.  I'm skinny.  And sometimes I eat while I run.  Sometimes I wake up at 5:00 a.m. so I can eat sugar, just so I can run.  I HAVE TO EAT THREE BLOODY DINNERS because I'm so hungry all the time due to that fact that I run. 

If my New Years resolution was to lose weight, I would go pay $49983459 to Tracy Anderson and eat macrobiotic kale chips for lunch, tea for breakfast, and dry fish for dinner.  I would not go on a two hour run.  I will eat EVERYTHING after a two hour run.

Scenario 2:
Happy hour, with some older dudes who have sad wives who have given birth and are so obsessed with losing weight that these men only can comprehend that women torture themselves through exercise and diet because they all share this obsession with losing baby weight and looking like they did when they were 22.

I order a stout.  And then a second.  And then maybe switch it up with an Allagash White.  While eating nuts and pickles and whatever else there is. 

Knowing I run, dude asks, "So, like, are you going to run 20 miles tomorrow since you drank two beers?"

Good god no.  I don't run to burn off my food.  I'm drinking these two beers because they taste good, and if I'm lucky they will help me run tomorrow.  Carbs, you know?

"Really?  You don't run to be skinny? Um...what?"

I said HELL NO.  It's my hobby, my passion, my favorite thing to be doing of all things, it feels amazing, haven't you ever broken a sweat or been on a hike and you feel strong and free and -- eh, I'm not wasting my time.  You don't get it, do you?

"No.  My wife runs at 6:00 a.m. and she hates it."

Well that's pathetic, but also, I hope she doesn't hate it.  Or at least I hope she grows to love it.

Scenario 3:
Hi, I'm a blog!

I started running when I was 22 to lose the freshman 15.  Check out my journey where I use running as a mathematical measure to compare to my cups of oatmeal because it's calories-in, calories-out guys and RUNNING HALPS ME WITH THE CALORIES-OUT PART.

Listen, I know that right there, scenario 3, isn't fair because people out there do need to lose weight, and running probably works in some cases.  It just seems so cruel to me to use running in that way. 

I hope for everyone who runs to lose weight, it becomes about more than that.  And they see the true therapy and religion and cleansing of running, the mind clearing wonder of it all, the strength when you look in the mirror.  Not the loss of flab.

Those three scenarios are true, fact.  It is also true that running will always be mired with disordered persons.  In my underweight college days, running was my religion and security blanket.  I didn't intend to be a poster-girl for the strange women who would sometimes approach me and ask what my secret was to being so thin (answer: go to college, falter into adulthood, and find your stabilizing element in a regimented schedule of running mixed with "too healthy" eating. Oh and have the metabolism of an 18 year old.)  Underweight runners, even elites, should not be poster girls for the rest of society.

Who here has gained weight while training for a marathon? Due to all the tapering and carb-loading and extra dinners and snacks and hunger? Raise your hands? yes.  aha.  See? Runners come in all varieties, but I like those who run for all there is to gain in running, not those who run for all there is to lose. 

[This post is my first ever picture-less post.  I thought you could use a break from the last post.]