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Avid runners will tell you that the high makes it all worth it. It’s called “runner’s high” – a feeling of euphoria experienced during or after the completion of a run. In the spring and summer months there is nothing like taking off on a Saturday morning for a two or three mile jog around the neighborhood and just taking it all in.
I don’t like to excoriate those that want to make their lives better through fitness – whether that’s by jogging, lifting weights, participating in high intensity classes or otherwise. But as with everything, there is a line.
Last night I woke up from a deep sleep absolutely freezing. I like to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees. I think it’s the premiere temperature for sleeping.
But last night I think it dipped down into the single digits outside and I had no choice but get out of my warm bed and punch the ‘stat up to a spicy 71. The rest of my night spent sleeping went by without consequence. I woke up, got a hot shower, and made my way into work.
The thermometer on my phone read 21 degrees when I stepped out of my apartment and started making my way towards the train but it felt more like 10.
I couldn’t feel my toes after a few minutes walking outside. Chicago is about to enter into it’s worst months (weather-wise) of the entire year and yet on my way to that train I counted a dozen people jogging outside – their faces red, their lips chapped, and a look of absolute anguish on their face. I watched these people jog past me with a look of utter astonishment on my face.
“What are you doing out here?” I thought to myself. What are these people trying to prove right now?
I see joggers everyday during the winter months and pay them no mind. They’re out there in rain, sleet, and snow despite the fact that no one, as far as I know, is forcing them to do this.
These are hardcore runners. People who live for that runner’s high and get a certain satisfaction out of running long distances and for that I commend them.
When I’m on a jog I max out at three miles before I get bored and quit and that’s on a good day. I ran a little bit of distance in high school and after a while you stop thinking altogether. That’s a nice thing to be able to do. Running is a form of meditation I think and I understand why people do it.
What I don’t get is why they’re out there when it’s 20 degrees outside and there are perfectly good treadmills in gyms all over this city that would love to have them. The worst is when there’s actually snow on the ground, though. Many of the sidewalks go unsalted here in Chicago when it snows which means slippery conditions. But do you think that stops the hardcore runners? No way.
They buy attachments for their running shoes that allows them to run over slippery surfaces safely, wearing hats and gloves with that look of anguish on their face that is impossible to hide. I don’t care what someone tells you about a run outside in subfreezing temperatures. They’re miserable even if they tell you otherwise.
I watched a documentary the other night called Meru. It was about three professional climbers who wanted to conquer what is arguably the most difficult peak in all of the world. They suffered mightily to get to the top of that thing, and while I watched it I couldn’t help but think about these buffoons who run outside that think it somehow makes them tougher or better than their treadmill using counterparts.
A person who willingly jogs outside when it’s as cold as it is here in Chicago is not tough. They are not better than anyone runner that chooses to hop on a treadmill to get their runner’s high. They are assholes, plan and simple. Attention seekers of the highest order. You want tough? Climb Meru in -10 degree blizzard conditions with limited food supply and a constant threat of death looming in your subconscious. Don’t be an asshole. If it’s below 32 degrees outside – hell, if it’s below 50 degrees – just jog inside. You’re getting a workout in you’re not training for the fucking Olympics..
Image via Unsplash