What a smooth week of being physically fit and observing a healthy, balanced diet it has been. What say we gather 'round the chiminea and swap stories of our personal triumphs? And share music, too. Here's a Spotify playlist. Let's get to it.
"Irony Is For Suckers," Lifetime
So, that was all a lie, naturally. Except for the playlist part, there is a playlist. Everything else is false. I'm sorry to betray the trust of so many of you but I have to believe you kind of saw through all of that. What good is this time spent together if we're sitting here slapping each other on the back instead of bitching to beat the band?
I was sick for a good chunk of the week and since I turn into the World's Biggest Baby whenever I get sick, I did not do much running. But I did do some. So you've got to give me credit for that. You don't really have to give me credit if you don't want to. Frankly, I'm not sure I would want credit from someone who has to think about it. So, no, you know what? Forget it. I don't need your credit. I don't need any of you. [Runs off, buries face in pillow, whispers] I don't need any of you.
I actually felt myself getting sick last Saturday night. You know when you just get that weird sensation in the back of your head, in the very top of your throat, and you just know the next morning you're going to feel like garbage? Well that was me Saturday and I was fucking pissed. For the past few seasons I've been working Sundays on Deadspin doing football. That is how I started, writing up stupid previews for the games. It was awesome, obviously, but it also made it near-impossible to actually enjoy the games. You just couldn't really. There's too much going on and even though I would watch the games, I never really felt like I was watching them.
"Neutral Territory," Lifetime
This year, I am not doing Sunday football. I was very excited about this, as the season approached, because it meant I could watch and go to games for the first time in what feels like forever. I was going to the Jets season opener, where I would tailgate and eat hot dogs and get drunk and weep green, salty Jet tears. And the night before I could feel myself getting fucking sick. First time in literally years, I could go to a game and this is when I got sick. I was all passive aggressive and snippy with my wife, that's how pissed I was.
I'd heard from Runners, including my wife, that running when you're sick actually makes you feel better. Or staves off sickness before it sets in. I guess it's kind of like the hair-of-the-dog concept for non-degenerates: make your body feel worse so it feels better. So that Sunday morning I got up, feeling kinda loopy in my head and ran two miles. I was scheduled to do it, but I was thinking about blowing it off. Something about saving my energy for the game or some other rationalization for "I don't want to." Eventually I decided to give the running-helps theory a try and....it didn't hurt. I can't say it stopped me from getting sick—I drank a lot of beer that day and alcohol as we all know kills bacteria and germs—but it definitely didn't make matters worse.
"The Blue Channel," Taking Back Sunday
But once I woke up from my drunken-and-victorious stupor on Monday—If I blew into a breathalyzer after that win against Tampa Bay it would have read hugging-strangers drunk—I felt like a garbage omelet that was put in a broiler with extra garbage on top, you know how they do that in some Bed & Breakfasts, with the cheese, so you get that crisp top? It's nice. Don't touch the plate holding your double-garbage omelet, it's hot. Monday through Wednesday I was basically on the couch, watching sports radio on TV, which is exactly what it sounds like: you watch a guy talk into a microphone and argue with other disembodied voices about the most idiotic, weeping-for-humanity things you can imagine.
It is still better than running.
"Timberwolves At New Jersey," Taking Back Sunday
Sometime after embracing strangers and sometime before waking up feeling like a garbage omelet I received distressing news. My wife informed me that she and her brother signed us up for some crazy-ass relay race where the team has to run 50 miles or something. We are currently a three-person team. Some things about my wife: she's crazy and a Runner. Some things about my brother-in-law: he is an Army Ranger/Green Beret. Basically the Army's version of a Seal Team Six guy. Some things about me:
This is going to be bad. Like, real bad. I vaguely remember having the conversation with my wife that night, but at that point I was asleep with my eyes open. I woke up thinking it was dream. A horrible, nightmarish guilt trip from my subconscious, punishing me for having, like, nine pumpkin beers—what's up Post Road Ale, I see you—and burgers and hot dogs and I think probably a pretzel or two to soak it all up. Oh yeah, and a sausage wheel, definitely had a sausage wheel somewhere in there. My wife reads these for me before I post them and she told me something that let me know just how whacked-out on fermented drink and cured meats I was: she said I was excited about the whole thing. She was showing me something about bison or buffalo shirts or something? Anyway, I was evidently super pumped up about it.
"A More Perfect Union," Titus Andronicus
This is like when you get all tanked and you think you're going to tell your boss what for, or call an ex-girlfriend to tell her exactly what you think of her father. Terrible ideas become can't-miss ideas.
The worst part of the whole thing is that it's two weeks before the half-marathon. Maybe that's a good thing, but it sure sounds awful. Two races, in two weeks, is not something I am looking forward to. Another truly shitty thing is, we've been meaning to get to Kansas City for a while now and it sounds like an awesome town to eat and drink in and now I will be doing stupid fitness stuff there with my psychotic wife and her lunatic brother (who is actually a fucking sweetheart who just happens to know 17 different ways to kill you).
"Titus Andronicus," Titus Andronicus
So, not only am I behind the wheel for my original race, but now I am decidedly behind the wheel for this other crazy race I didn't even volunteer for that is actually earlier than the stupid race I did sign up for.
It was Thursday before I did any running and I had to run because the basic rule I have is, if you're going to play you have to work. Snappy rule, isn't it? Anyway, the Jets played Thursday this week—I don't wanna talk about it—so if I wanted to drink beer and watch the game, I had to at least work out some. I went to the gym and hit the 'mill for a bit and was feeling pretty good. My wife told me not to worry about whatever I was scheduled to run (3.5 miles) and just ease back into it with a mile.
"Catostrophe And The Cure," Explosions In The Sky
Pffft, mile my ass. I was feeling like an animal. Hacking up all the old phlegm and flexing those atrophied muscles; I felt alive for the first time in days. It was invigorating. I can do 3.5. I've got my pop-punk ripping, pace is good, nice and hydrated-water at the ready just in case, weirdo guy doing pliés in the middle of the gym-what the fuck? Nevermind, I've been running for at least 30 minutes, should be almost done, let's take a peek under the shirt covering the treadmill and—DAGGER—15 minutes. 1.46 miles.
I ran two miles. Still, better than a mile.
Life really is a lot better when you don't expect too much of yourself. That's not, like, a personal philosophy or anything, just a reminder not to treat every single event in life as though it's The Most Important Thing To Ever Happen To Anyone At Anytime In History, Recorded Or Otherwise. Sometimes you really are just a speck on an orb hurtling through space and, sometimes, that's a comforting thought. Sometimes a bad week is just a bad week and not Newell's Second Treatise On Why You Are A Worthless Human.
"Take The Picture Now," Mineral
Sometimes, though, your failures (and successes) do matter. Or at least, they should, because then why else are we even doing anything. It's a delicate balance between being well-adjusted, successful and happy and a miserable failure of a human being. Sometimes a bad week is symptomatic of something larger: lack of motivation or self confidence, so you gotta pay attention. If your bad weeks start to outnumber your good weeks, you might be a Worthless Human. If you think running a mile a week justifies a case of seasonal craft beers, you might be a Worthless Human.*
Anyway, I'm not getting too down on myself this week. This week I'm just a dude hurtling through space on a watersphere.
I'm OK with that.
*A little high-brow Foxworthy for your Sunday morning reading.