People have always thought that I was weird for running when I’m drunk or have been drinking. I used to run in D.C. all of the time. I would be in the U Street area and my other friends would be in Dupont Circle. I could A) take the Metro and spend 35-60 minutes waiting. I could B) take two buses to get down to Dupont plus walking. I could C) take an expensive taxi or Uber ride. Or D) I could walk/run there.
I usually chose to run because it was, to me, the most efficient way to get there. It may not be the most normal way to do it (it most certainly isn’t, actually), but for me it was fun. I was totally fine running barefoot, in flats or in heeled boots (sometimes) to my destination, oftentimes with a nice buzz aiding my efforts. I did this all throughout D.C. (mostly in the “safe,” well-populated areas), and I have done it a couple of times here in Cambridge/Boston.
One of my favorite times to run is in the morning or the evening in the dark. I feel like I’m all alone and running in the stars to some faraway galaxy. I don’t have to worry too much about what other people think of me when I run by them because they don’t always see me.
Of course this isn’t the safest thing to do in the city. Obviously I know that. But, I like to take risks and figured if I was running most people would have to stop and think about messing with me, and by then, I would have already flown by them. The most interesting thing about my night runs were the odd stares I get from people while I’m flying by, grinning like a fool. The wind blows through my hair as I run, and I feel alive as the alcohol-buzzed blood flows through my veins.
With drunk running, I get to my destination in no time. I get some exercise to burn off those beers I just drank. And, I get to do what I love – running at night. Seems like a win-win to me. As I mentioned, this isn’t the safest thing to do. But, if we spend our time just worrying about safety all of the time, we forget that we can enjoy ourselves living somewhat on the edge.
I just finished reading ultramarathon guru and legend Scott Jurek’s book called Eat and Run which is about his life as an ultrarunner and a vegan/vegetarian/raw foodie. He talks about runs being for people to escape worries and thoughts for the alternative of being present in their lives and in existence. One with the body and the mind with not a care in the world other than the basic essentials.
I love this philosophy of running and it makes sense. Coming off of my first marathon, I still have that runner’s high and that sense of tranquility of the long run in my mind. People think I’m crazy to have done 26.2 miles, just as people thought that I was crazy that I used to run randomly at night. People say “I would never do that. I could NEVER do that” about running in general, let alone night running.
But, as Jurek points out in his book, running, especially ultras (think 100+ mile runs), makes people realize something about life – it is all about the way you do something not the end result. For me, running is a means and an end but it is mostly about a journey. It’s the sense of being a basic part of nature and doing something that your body loves to do.
It’s amazing. I really have become a running convert. I used to run many years ago when I was a child, but then I broke my leg and had various surgeries and problems with my legs and was afraid to run. Coming back into it the past year and a half has reawakened a sense of longing and joy in me that I have only found recently in Bikram yoga.
So, for all of you people out there who think runners are crazy, you’re right. We are crazy. But you wanna know what else? We’re crazy happy most of the time and we get that way by putting ourselves on our feet and going. Life IS about the journey and we should spend our time enjoying and doing rather than worrying and thinking too hard.
Go for a run and just keep going. Don’t stop after one attempt. When did anyone get good at something after one shot? Open your mind and enjoy.
Maybe you’ll catch me night running sometime when you’re out on a weekend.