Conclusion – Running |The Unvictimized Edition| #8


The Runner’s Journey

Welcome to the club, you crazy winner. You did it, you went out there and got addicted to running, addicted to using your body to get high, addicted to working hard for yourself and getting results for it. Maybe even addicted to my writing, hah! It’s the best addiction to have, that running one; you’ll meet tons of great human beings, you’ll explore forests and towns and all sorts of exotic locales, you’ll get higher than a dirty dope fiend, and you’ll be healthy while doing it. A crazy dude from New Jersey is proud of you.

So what now? Keep doing you, and keep running. Hell, convince your friends to run. Convince them to buy my book, too. Other than that, maybe give running barefoot a try. It seems a little hippie-dippie, I know, but it’s actually good for you. There’s a ton of science about grounding (being in direct, uninsulated contact with the Earth) and all the health benefits that come from it, so why not? You’ll feel connected to the Earth in a way you probably never have, and it’ll only hurt until you graduate from tenderfoot to… toughfoot, I guess.

Or, do the opposite of what I’m telling you. It’s your life, hypothetical reader. Do whatever the hell you want.

Before we wrap, I want to muse about the structure of this little book. You may have noticed that the first chapter (the one about me) was by far the longest chapter, then the rest of the chapters just kind of petered off. I wrote Running with the runner’s journey in mind; my intent was for each chapter to mirror a stage of the journey. When you start running, you learn who you are – how much pain you can take, what you’re capable of, how your body works, how your mind works, all that good stuff. You also may find yourself working through a lot of pent up you-problems as you run. This is normal. Running is a form of meditation, it brings everything you keep bottled up inside to the surface so you can either deal with it or bottle it up again and wait for it to resurface in the future. Before you can progress to the next stage, you need to deal with all your nonsense (at the end of the day, that’s all you-problems are: nonsense); that’s how it works. If you opt to hold firm on your incorrect stance regarding your nonsense (remember, there would be no nonsense if you were not incorrect), your journey will get held up again in the future and you’ll have to buckle down and rewrite this entire book – take it from me, you do not want to have to do that.

The longest and most difficult part of the runner’s journey – which is, like all journeys, symbolic of the journey of life – is in the beginning when you find out who you are and learn how to put up with yourself; when you realize which character you play in the grand drama that is Existence. Once you’re aware of who you are, the next logical step is to play your character. This part is easier said than done; why should you even play a character in the first place? Why should you define yourself, thereby trapping yourself in a niche you might have a difficult time getting out of later? Why should you go running to get high if you can do drugs (or work!) (or volunteer!!) to get high instead?

Because running directly benefits you while all that other stuff directly benefits other humans. Running is good for your body, mind, and soul, and it teaches you how to work hard just by doing it. You may not get it at first, but that’s okay. Reading words displayed on a screen or printed on a sheet of paper is very different from understanding the meaning of those words. Even if you try running once or a few times, you still may not immediately understand. That’s okay. Keep trying. Once you figure it out, the process becomes easier. Then all that’s left is to put your understanding into action.

The third chapter, How To Run, was more about how to start running than how to actually run. To start doing anything, you just have to get out there and start. To quote humanity at large, “There’s nothin’ to it but to do it.” You’re not going to be a master straight out of the gate (unless you’re notLT’y), and everyone has to start somewhere. Accept it and get going.

The remaining chapters are about how to keep running after you get yourself started – record your statistics, follow your progress, make it real. Find others to establish yourself among and hone your technique, perfect your training, evolve your workouts. Then, compete against other runners. Before you know it, you’ll have won yourself a medal. And then another. And then a few trophies. Eventually, you’ll get sick of winning medals and trophies because of how many of the damn things you have lying around; this is when the really tricky part comes in, the reason I taught you how to run in the first place.

Through running, you’ve taught yourself discipline and how to focus for extended periods of time. You’ve taught yourself endurance, patience, perseverance, when it is necessary to rest, and when to ignore that voice in the back of your head nagging you to stop. You have learned how to work hard and directly benefit from it; hypothetical reader, I’ve taught you how to torture yourself and enjoy it. Now, take what you have learned and apply it to whatever you might have going on in your life.

You think it was fun writing this book? I mean, it was kind of fun, but at the same time it was grueling. And rewriting it? Fuhgeddaboudit. The amount of hours I sat staring at the computer screen maniacally tapping at the keyboard just to publish what I wrote so I could go back and republish a more baller version of it later… and I don’t even have an English degree! I’ve never taken an elective writing course in my life. This shit is a whole seventy pages long, that’s a lot of pages. Hard pass, homeslice; I would’ve rather gone running. But, I buckled down and got it done. And now you’re reading it. That’s proof of concept right there!

Running, and life itself, is like a savings account: the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. So, when you’re ready, stop putting effort into someone else’s life and start putting it into your own. You have the tools – all you must do is use them. To quote a character from one of my favorite novels: “You can take that to the fuckin’ bank.”

Thank you for reading this pamphlet, and double thank you for getting out there and improving yourself. If you suffered through the insufferable first edition of Running and still, for some reason, believed in me enough to purchase and even read this edition, I cannot thank you enough. We live in a world that can be pretty scary and unforgiving at times, but that’s only because so many humans are torturing themselves and not enjoying it. By running, you’re putting forward the effort to make the world a better place. Big changes don’t happen overnight – they happen in tiny increments over time, and you’re out there doing your part. Who knows, maybe somebody will see how much you have improved and they’ll want to start improving themselves too. It’s a chain reaction, just like dominoes: to get started, all it needs is a little push.

Be well, runner. I’ll see you on the course.

This has been the conclusion of the book Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|. Here is everything you need to know about it:

Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It
|The Unvictimized Edition|

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page, too. Here’s that.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~

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