Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Running vs. Walking vs. Sleeping

So I have recently started running in attempt to be healthy. After I finish I usually feel nauseous, have a headache and my lungs and stomach hurt. Is this what people call the "runner's high"? If so, it's grossly misnamed. Actually, there was one time where I did feel a bit of a high, but that might of been from all the hallucinogens I had done beforehand.

It’s probably more accurate to say that I have recently started running and also have recently started quitting running. At first I was pretty good about it. I would head out early in the morning three to four times a week. I then started to replace running with some brisk walking which eventually got replaced with simple stretching which has now been replaced with sleeping.

Pat on the other hand came out of the womb running with headband and all, so it is up to him to convince me to continue. Pat?

Pat: I still have that first headband. Little small, now...mostly wear it on my wrist. Actually, friend, you have the story wrong. Running and I began our steady relationship in the year 1986, as my father bet me that he could quit smoking before I could lose the 20 pounds that my 5’4” frame desperately needed to shed. If only I had known that his motivational trickery would be the beginning of a 24 year long tumultuous affair!

Yeah, that feeling you describe so eloquently is indeed the sure-fire sign that your body is enjoying the exertion you are forcing upon it. That pain, my friend, is the first sign of fitness, and it only gets better. Agonizing sideaches, painful-to-the-touch shin splints, lactic acid emergency bathroom runs...all evidence that your body is on it’s way up!

I’m hesitant to say so, but running is kind of another form of mowing the lawn. Do you know what I get done on my runs? It’s crazy! I listen to all those recently pirated albums I’ve been meaning to get to, I advance my knowledge of trivial minutiae via “This American Life”, “Radiolab” and “Stuff You Should Know” podcasts, I get beer at Plaid Pantry, I scope out the neighborhood for surprise real-estate deals, and I perform good deeds like scaring squirrels out of the road. All in the space of a 30-60 minute run. And then I get home too tired to do anything of value for my family (but at least I picked up that beer). How can you not be sold on that?

Christian: Wait... it continues to be painful? Then why do you, and other people for that matter, get so into it and enjoy it so much? Does having me continually kick you in the groin also sound like fun to you?  

As for all those things you said you get done while running. I can accomplish those too by driving to the store to get the beer and then parking in my driveway for 25-55 mins while drinking it. Afterwards I’m pain free and intoxicated enough to really lay down some stellar parenting.

Pat:’s not that it continues to be painful, it’s just that the pain becomes relative, and, perhaps like a budding masochist, you begin to kind of enjoy it. Those aching muscles the day after a long run...joyous! That nausea after pushing yourself up a hill...invaluable! That sweat dripping slowly down your forehead and right into your eyeball, creating a sting unlike anything you’ve felt before...immeasurably beautiful! “Pain” becomes a nice word, actually. That, my friend, is how we in the club convince ourselves that we’re doing the right thing by running.

I’ve never thought about your proposition regarding the car, the convenience store and the beer. Sounds damn tempting enough to prompt a lifestyle change. However, much as I’m usually slow to recognize the more pathetic elements in life...isn’t that scenario just a wee bit...sad?

Christian:  Sad schmad, it’s easy and pain free (just like my shampoo!).

You do have a good point about the day after “good” pain. I do like the feeling of sore muscles after a good work out. It does somehow make me feel healthy. And it allows me to then eat a whole log of beefstick and port wine cheese without the guilt! (That reminds me, are Hickory Farms still around? Hopefully yes.) The thing with running though is that I can completely handle the burning aching muscles etc. It’s the out of breath part that I dread. It’s like what someone who has never smoked imagines quitting smoking must be like.

What about brisk walking? I heard that brisk walking is actually better for you than running due to fat burning slower than sugar and math or something. Somewhere at some point someone told me this so it must be true. Brisk walking I can handle. Plus I really like the word brisk.

Pat:  Healthwise, brisk walking does for you pretty much what running does, just slower. It just makes you look like a wiener. I would pay good money, though, to see you “brisk walking” in a slick shiny Puma™ health suit!

Christian: I think you misspelled “winner”. And thank you. I guess brisk walking does make me look like a winner. As for wearing a “health suit”, I don’t think so. In my experience anything with the word “health” in front of it usually turns out to be disappointing.

Just to make sure we are on the same page here, when we say brisk walking we aren’t talking about those speed walker types that swivel their hips about and chug their arms with ridiculous might, are we? Those guys look like weenies. When I say brisk walking I mean walking at a moderate pace with the occasional stopping to pet neighborhood cats. If this is just as healthy as running but slower, then I’m in no hurry.

Pat:  I should acknowledge that in a moment I will be talking totally out of my ass, without any background or otherwise credible knowledge to speak of other than hearsay and ideas that I have thought of myself, and then delusionally attributed to someone else, real or fictional.

Yes, I believe that walking amounts to roughly the same health benefits as running, provided you walk an equitable distance. Walking an equitable time does not result in the same...results. In simpler terms, 30 minutes of running is not the same as 30 minutes of walking. However, 10 miles of running (which, by the way, is about what I can do in 30 minutes) IS the same as 10 miles of walking. Kind of like that lame elementary school joke that used to get pulled on me:

Thug:  “Hey Pat, which is heavier--10 pounds of rocks or 10 pounds of feathers?”

Pat:  “Duh! Everyone knows it’s the rocks. WAIT, no...”

Thug:  “Hah! You’re so thought rocks were heavier than feathers! Sucker!”

Idiots. Anyway...I think if you’re willing to put in the distance, your body should respond the same. But, c’mon, walking is just lame. Running does the same thing but faster, and you get to wear cool slinky shorts and tank tops. What would people think if you wore that sexy garb while walking?

And to be clear, I did not mean “winner”. I meant “wiener”. As in penis or a sausage style developed in Vienna, or, I guess, simply a PERSON from Vienna (such an unfortunate moniker!). And you would look like one of those Austrians if you took on brisk walking as a form of exercise, whether or not you’re wearing the track suit or sporting the wide-swinging hips.  

Christian: I only exercise under a cloak of darkness (early morning), therefore it doesn’t really matter to me which European nationality I look like. For now, I’m going to stick to my brisk walking. The only argument I might buy into, which you haven’t presented I might add, is that running regularly would help me out when being chased by bad guys. Although for me, it would more likely be me being chased by good guys that think I’m a bad guy due to me being falsely accused of a crime I didn’t commit. But either way, it means I wouldn’t be able to stop to pet neighborhood cats anymore and I just don’t know if that’s worth it.


  1. It's so weird- just this morning I was thinking that I need to post a witty status update about the direct proportion between my level of exercise and the amount of pain relievers I take. And now- here is an even better forum to complain in!

    I like to exercise. It makes me feel great and I find I'm a lot less stabby. However, running is for chumps. I live by a strict rule that says don't run unless someone is chasing you.

    There is a finite amount of jarring that your joints can take over your lifetime. Why use it all up now? What are you going to do when the shit hits the fan and civilization crumbles and you eventually get chased by a pack of wild dogs? You are going to lay there and get torn to bits. I am going to run away and live to tell another tale. Probably to your children.

  2. OMG, you have a Schmoo in your header!
    I heart Schmoo.
    And walking. But not real briskly.

  3. Megiweg - Excellent points! So what your saying is that when civilization disintegrates into chaotic hell, we have to look after Pat's kids? Crap.

    Tumbleweed - I'm always amazed at the power of Schmoo. Although for copyright reasons, around here we refer to him as Schmi (rhymes with fit without the 't').