Running with Eminem

I love to run. I’m not fast. I don’t look like a runner. But I miss it if I’ve gone a few days without a run. I started running track in high school and I was dreadful. They always had me run the 3000 meter, because so few people ran it, that you got points for the team if you just finished. I always finished. At the end of my senior year, we had a track awards luncheon and in the program, the coach gave me an “A+ for effort”. That would make a lovely epitaph on a headstone.

Running in the Army, sometimes in full gear, sometimes in the creepy, creeping gym shorts we were forced to wear, was not enjoyable.  I was motivated only by the fact that I didn’t want to fail a PT test and that there was usually some florid-faced sergeant bellowing behind me. The only thing that ever changed was the scenery and the weather – red, dusty heat in North Carolina, dry, windy afternoons in Texas, cold, foggy mornings in California, and diesel scented morning runs in Germany.

The joy of running hit me when I was in college, juggling jobs and too poor to do anything except add to my credit debt and run. My run always started with a miserable, long hill and I never modified my route. About a mile in, I’d feel a tempo and I’d stop thinking. By the two mile mark, I was thinking again. I had to start having that conversation with myself “just make it two more blocks and you can stop” and I would have to repeat that conversation with myself every two blocks, until I got back home in the 4th mile.  As I would round the corner and see my apartment building on the straightaway, I’d really start cussing myself out. “Move it! Screw you! Faster, you’re near the finish line! Bite me!” I was an angry finisher, but I was committed.

It’s hard to tap into that angry motivation these days. Life is a little easier and it’s hard to get worked up on a treadmill at the Y during the winter. I have to manufacture the angry drill sergeant within to push through the discomfort and get to the good stuff – that magical runner’s high. It still fizzes out around mile two and I have to push myself, but I have a friend in Eminem. That man is angry, but his poetry is powerful. Every time the intro to  “Till I Collapse” begins, my pace picks up, I square my stride and pound through the next mile. As a workout philosophy, it explains the rather frequent injuries I get, but for pure adrenalin, it does the trick.

6 thoughts on “Running with Eminem

  1. This is wonderful. I especially remember the runs in the Army in “infantry weather.” Your voice is very clear in these pieces. I can hear your humor as well. I especially like the swimming, running, walking, and climbing blogs. The heated yoga class comments were also a hoot!
    Running to Eminem accompaniment sounds interesting. Maybe that’s why I could never get into running. I’ll try him on for size.
    Best to you and keep writing.


  2. Very effective at carrying us along with you–both what you experienced and what you thought and felt about it. Made me feel like working out the way I used to–but not to Eminem. Don’t think the pace would go with yoga alternated with weights. Weights are so peaceful…kinda zen. Can see how great he’d be for running. Concentrate on those lyrics instead of your own self. Smart.


      1. More fun, and smart, too: Gain the same benefits if you put in the time (and if you do something for your arms–been neglecting my own door push-ups), and most women’s bodies–knee joints and internal plumbing after child-bearing–are not built to take high-impact workouts.over the long haul.


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