Posted in Writings

Appendix – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (9/9)

Hello Commons, here is the appendix of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.



Hello there, Hunter Adom Wallace here. While the rest of my book was non-fiction, you may have chosen to perceive it as fiction. That’s okay; this part though? This part is about as non-fiction as it gets, and I need you to both understand and accept that. Even if you disregard everything else I’ve written here, please, please pay attention to the following.

The Lyme Demon

What you’re about to read is weird, very out there, as it were, and reading it back to myself… well, if I was anybody else I would think it was a work of fiction, but like, I wrote it, so I know it happened. So…  I think I had neurological Lyme disease, as in the fucking bacteria was inside my brain. I’ve felt symptoms of Lyme since I was 10 years old, but after a head injury in ‘17 I slowly watched myself descend into a dark pit of pseudo-schizophrenic insanity over the course of a year and a half, and then something happened. I think I cured myself, somehow, and I think it has to do with spirituality and Moksha Medicine. But that’s all what I think; what I know: after what I call “The Banishing” happened, I woke up feeling better than I have in literally years.

I forget exactly when I learned it, but one time while I was tripping on Moksha Medicine, I learned how to do this thing I call Spiraling. You focus on a spot just outside of your perspective and you bring that point in a clockwise or counterclockwise circle around your head and, depending on the direction, your energy level will either go up or down. Like, I’d literally feel it; if I would Spiral in a clockwise direction I’d feel my energy get more intense, I would feel more awake, more alert; if I Spiraled counterclockwise I felt my energy relax, I would get a bit sleepy, everything would just slow down. I thought it was kinda like a superpower so I just played around with it for a few years, never thought into it much. I taught a friend how to do it when I was shamanically guiding him through a Moksha trip and it worked for him too, he could feel his energy changing just like I could, so it’s not just a me thing; it’s an actual, self-observable and teachable phenomenon.

Flash back to my summer vacation before or after fourth grade: I caught Lyme disease from a tick bite. Bullseye and everything, tested and diagnosed by a medical professional registered with the US government; I word it that way to add legitimacy to this otherwise bullshit-sounding account of my experiences. Again, this is all true, strangely enough.

I was on antibiotics that whole summer. I couldn’t go outside because the medication made my skin extremely sensitive to the sun, BUT I caught the disease early enough that I didn’t need to spend years in bed, so it all balanced out. After I finished the prescribed round of antibiotics, the doctors told me I was cured and, not only that, but now my body is immune to the disease forever. Well, as it turns out, that’s not really how Lyme disease works.

At all.

Lyme disease is… I don’t know how to word it. Let’s just say there is a TON of controversy and conspiracies about the government, the US healthcare industry, the Plum Island Research Facility in Montauk Bay and Lyme; if you want to look into the sketchy stuff on your own you’re more than welcome to. But anyway, Lyme Disease is a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and it’s shaped like a corkscrew. The way it works is that it bores into, tunnels through, eats and breeds in every part of your body that it can possibly get to; soft tissue, muscles, joints, nerves, and in really bad cases, the brain. Now, humans with Lyme in their brain say that Lyme is worse than cancer because cancer actually kills you – with Lyme, you just get to watch yourself slowly but surely lose your mind on account of the corkscrew-esque bacteria tunneling through, eating and breeding in the neurons that make up your brain. Again, look into it and get tested, especially if you frequent the forests and especially if you do so on the east coast of America. Lyme is a fucking monster, or should I say, a fucking demon.

So, as I hinted at above, I don’t think I was actually cured when I was ten years old. As far back as I can remember, I’ve experienced what I now know as nerve problems like twitching, random numbness, muscle spasms to name a few, exhaustion, fatigue, constant mental fog, blah blah blah to name a few more. Joint pain, too. I literally always thought I was just born fucked up, but now, I’m thinking I’ve had Lyme since I was ten and, even in its dormant state, I think it’s slowly been eating away at my body, just for my body to eventually repair itself as we go. The pain and nerve issues aren’t constant; when they present, they’re just kind of there for a few days and then they go away. They always come back eventually though, or at least, they always would.

I don’t think it got into my brain when I was younger, thankfully, because of a thing in the head called the Blood Brain Barrier – you’ve probably heard of it in one level of school or another. Well, fast forward to Christmas 2017: The Burst, which is my name for the time that I was coloring and I randomly felt a pop inside my head in the exact spot that my skull caved in a few months earlier, happened, and was followed by the sensation of liquid running down the side of my skull. I also passed out, I think; I remember that I lost all bodily sensation but I was still conscious, just floating in a pure white space. It was like… honestly there’s no way I can accurately describe it, it was a very sketchy situation.

Six months prior to The Burst is when I hit my head and my skull caved in and I died and came back to life. When that happened, I’m pretty sure it created a weak spot in my BBB, a ticking time bomb if you will.

Back to Christmas, I smoked a very Moksha-heavy bowl of Moksha Medicine. Immediately after my powwow, I felt The Burst. I think when I smoked, a lot of extra blood rushed to my head really quickly on account of the high-potency Moksha, putting sudden pressure on the weak spot in the BBB and causing it to pop, leaking a tiny bit of blood into my brain cavity before my body did some mystical shit and patched it up/healed itself so I wouldn’t die. Ever since then my life hasn’t been the same, I’ve literally been watching myself go downhill faster and faster physically and mentally and there’s been nothing that I could do to stop it. I thought I had chronically worsening brain damage from the head injury and that’s just how I would go, slowly and tragically over time with no chance of getting helped, fixed or healed.

Until a week or two before I wrote this appendix.

The whole “Lyme doesn’t really go away” thing? Yeah, so I’m pretty sure the blood that leaked into my brain cavity had the Lyme bacteria swimmin’ in it. So essentially, since the beginning of 2018, I’m pretty sure the corkscrew-shaped-ass bitch-ass burgdorferi has been in my brain slowly screwing me, eating away at my neuro-bits and destroying me from the inside.

So prior to two weeks ago I was helping one of my uncles, who is diagnosed with and has been warring against very severe neurological Lyme disease for years, move all his shit between upstate New York and northern New Jersey. During that experience he told me A LOT about his experience with the disease and his symptoms, and what he said matched what I was going through to the T – same symptoms, same feeling not right all the time, same searching for answers and going to doctors and getting nothing; the numbness, the uncontrollable nerve firing, the extremely fucking unnerving, uncomfortable, and unsettling sensation of my fucking body vibrating/feeling like electricity is running through it that’s one step down from seizure-style convulsions, everything. I thought I was schizophrenic for a while now, as you probably aren’t aware of, because I didn’t want to mention that in my running book, but now I’m pretty sure I’ve just had Lyme this entire time.

Fun fact: the most common misdiagnosis of neurological Lyme disease is paranoid schizophrenia because it literally makes you go fucking crazy and hallucinate, etc. – that et cetera including all the wild shit that happens in the brain up to the point of goddamned fucking hallucination. Terrifying is an understatement.

All right so finally, a week or two ago. I was lying in bed, zonked off my ass on Moksha Medicine and playing around with the Spiraling technique, thinking existentially, as I do. I kept Spiraling clockwise because I liked when things got more intense, but then something clicked inside my brain: Lyme is a corkscrew, it works by screwing itself into the body. Corkscrews go into things in a clockwise direction and come out in a counterclockwise direction. When I’d Spiral clockwise, everything became more intense; what if that was because I was metaphysically Spiraling the Lyme deeper into my brain and the increased intensity was my brain/body freaking the fuck out?? That probably seems like a stretch, but I’m the shamanic type and I’ve literally had visions of worms squiggling and digging into the center of my brain, among other things that are related to my brain being under attack somehow. So, on a hunch, I then started Spiraling counterclockwise over and over, faster and faster, refusing to stop. That’s when shit got weird. Well, weirder.

I didn’t expressly feel my spirit leave my body, but everything faded away and I was, like, floating in darkness. I think I was literally inside my brain, but I can’t be sure of that. I kept Spiraling, darkness got darker, I started hearing a high-pitched ringing and I started to see stuff moving around. At first it was just shapes and very subtle colors, but as I kept Spiraling it got clearer and clearer, started taking shape. It was this… thing, it literally looked like the face of an evil, twisted, demonic and demented worm creature. Eyes everywhere. This horrible, retching mouth with razor sharp teeth hanging off its body on a tube. It was just… it was evil. I could feel that it was evil. And it roared, it made this horrid, bellowing roar that almost sounded something like the TARDIS from Doctor Who, but not comforting whatsoever. I will literally never forget the sound it made, the shit haunts me to this very day.

The more I Spiraled, the clearer and louder the thing got. So, naturally, I Spiraled faster and faster and at some point I heard myself yelling, “BEGONE LYME,” over and over inside my head, and every time I said it, the thing would roar louder and louder. I felt like Doctor Strange trying to bargain with Dormammu except way too real and instead of an infinity stone, I had… well, a history of Moksha Medicine use and an open third eye.

So basically an infinity stone, if we’re being real here.

So I keep up the Spiraling and the BEGONE-yelling for somewhere between like, five and ten minutes or so, and then, suddenly, the thing is gone. All’s quiet inside my head, I’m back in my body and everything just feels at peace. A sense of relief washes over me. I felt normal for the first time in years, like I’m the only thing controlling my body, and I’ve felt great ever since. I don’t dread waking up anymore, a lot of my nerve problems have gotten considerably better and less severe since then, my head is a lot clearer and I don’t feel like I’m going to randomly just drop dead, which, ever since the resurrection head injury, has been at the forefront of my consciousness. And the kicker: Spiraling doesn’t really do anything for me anymore. I’ve tried going both clockwise and counterclockwise and while I can still find the point and bring it around the outside of my perception, I no longer feel a change in energy after the loop.

So, to recap, I’m pretty sure I accidentally banished the spirit of the Lyme disease (which is the closest thing to a fucking demon that I can imagine) from my brain, maybe the rest of my body too, literally curing myself of one of the worst neurodegenerative diseases in Existence, all through spiritual means and techniques that I acquired (for lack of a better term) by opening my third eye through meditation and the ingestion of Moksha Medicine. If I can cure myself with Spiraling, and it’s possible to teach others how to Spiral whilst under the effects of the Moksha Medicine, then that means others can be cured of their Lyme disease too. If, that is, Spiraling actually cured me of Lyme, and what I’ve said here has any bearing.

I say that because I’ve yet to get retested for Lyme disease because I can’t afford health insurance and I don’t want the United States’ government’s health insurance, and I can’t afford a doctor’s appointment to get retested. But I do feel significantly different after The Banishing than I did before it happened. And I’ve been functionally better too: less twitching, less aches and pains, less numbness. Happier mood, clearer head, more creative state of mind. I’ve been cooking for myself, writing upwards of two thousand words a day, I can even work out without feeling the need to take a nap immediately after. Everything is just better; the most startling thing about this whole experience has been realizing how far from baseline I fell without ever really noticing.

That’s not to say I’m suddenly in perfect health, either. I still feel symptoms occasionally, they aren’t nearly as severe and they don’t last as long, but I do still feel them. I think a lot of healing still needs to be done to get me back up to par because the bacteria did damage my body, and might still be damaging it for all I know, but considering how I feel better every day, I think I might actually be cured. The future is bright again for me, like, I actually feel like I’m going to end up okay. For the first time in a long time, I’ve noticed myself thinking like a sane human; or at least, as close to what the “general public” considers to be “sane” as I can get.

And I can’t accurately express how good it feels to be able to write that, to write all of this, and not be full of shit. I’m not looking for recognition, status, anything; I wasn’t even going to type this up originally; if somebody I know reads this and asks me about it, I’m going to be embarrassed as fuck, but… fuck it. If there’s a single human being out there, if there is one hairless monkey out of the seven-something billion on this planet who’s been going through the shit monsoon that I’ve been weathering up to this point and reading these words could have a crotch hair’s of a chance to improve that human’s life… I would be a demon if I didn’t put it out there.

I, Hunter Adom Wallace, banished the Lyme demon. And if I can do it, that’s proof enough that someone else can do it too.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Conclusion – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (8/9)

Hello Commons, here is the conclusion chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


The Runner’s Journey

Welcome to the club, you crazy little winner. You did it, you went out there and got addicted to running, addicted to using your body to make yourself feel good. Addicted to working hard for yourself and getting results. Maybe even addicted to my writing, hah! It’s the best addiction you could possibly have, the running one; you’ll meet tons of great humans, you’ll explore forests and towns and all sorts of exotic locations, you’ll get higher than a dope fiend and you’ll be healthy while doing it. Just know, a crazy dude from New Jersey is proud of you.

So what now? Keep running, keep doing you. Hell, even convince your friends to do it too. And convince them to buy this book, of course. Other than that, give running barefoot a go. It seems a little hippie-dippie, but it can be really good for you, there’s a ton of science out there 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 that you probably never have, and it’ll only hurt until you graduate from tenderfoot to… toughfoot, I guess. Plus, you’ll get to call other humans tenderfoot. How great is that?

Before we wrap, I want to talk about the structure of this book. You may have noticed that the first chapter, the one about me, was by far the longest, and then after that they just kind of petered off. I wrote this book with the runner’s journey in mind; my intent was to mirror each stage of the journey with the subject of each chapter. When you start running, you learn who you are – how much pain you can take, what you’re capable of, how your body works, all that good stuff.

You also may find yourself working through a lot of pent up you-dilemmas as you run. This is normal. Running is a form of meditation, it brings everything you have bottled up inside to the surface so you can deal with it, or so you can 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 of your nonsense (because at the end of the day, that’s what you-dilemmas are: nonsense. If you’re going to take it from anyone, take it from me). If you decide to stay firm on your nonsensical stance on your nonsense, your journey will get held up and you’ll have to go back and rewrite this entire book.

The longest and most difficult part of the journey is the beginning, finding out who you are and putting up with yourself, figuring out which character you play in the grand epoch that is life. After you figure out which character you are, the next logical step is to play that character. Again, it’s easier said than done. Why should you play a character? Why should you define yourself, thereby trapping yourself in a niche that you can’t get out of? Why should you run every day to feel good if you can run once in a blue moon and do drugs every day (or work every day!) (or do volunteer service every day!!) to feel good?

Well, because running directly benefits you, and 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 on a screen or a piece 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 do figure it out, the process becomes easier. Then, all you really have left is to put that understanding into action.

The third chapter is called How To Run, but really it’s about how to start running. To start doing anything, you just have to get out there and do it. To quote about a million different humans and specifically one rapper: ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it. You’re not going to be a master straight out the gate (unless you’re notLT-y), and everyone has to start somewhere.

The remaining chapters are about how to keep doing it – record yourself, see your own progress, make it real. Find others to establish yourself among. Hone your technique, perfect your training, expand and create your own workouts. Then, start competing against other humans. Before you know it, you’ll have won 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 damned things you have laying around.

Then comes the really tricky part, the reason I taught you how to run in the first place. Through running, you’ve taught yourself discipline, you’ve taught yourself how to focus up for an extended period of time. You’ve taught yourself endurance and 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’ve learned how to work hard and directly benefit from it; in other words, you’ve learned how to torture yourself and enjoy it. Now, take those lessons and apply them to whatever you have going on in your life, actually or potentially.

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 spent sitting down, staring at the screen, and maniacally tapping the keyboard just to publish it and then go back and republish a more baller version of it a few months later… and I don’t even have an English degree! Never took an elective writing course in my life, and this shit’s a whole hundred pages long. Hard pass; I would have rather went running. But I buckled down and got it done, and now you’re reading it.

Running, and life itself, is kind of 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 book, and double thank you for getting out there and improving yourself. And, if you suffered through the insufferable first edition and still, for some reason, believed in me enough to get this edition, I can’t 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 someone will see how much you’ve improved yourself and they’ll 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~

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Tricks Of The Trade – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (7/9)

Hello Commons, here is the sixth chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Chapter 6
Tricks Of The Trade

The Last Chapter

If you’re not running at this point, I really don’t know what to say! Unless it’s because you’re so engrossed in this book; in that case, it’s fine. You’ve been shown how running has helped me, why running is so great for you as a human, and you were even given detailed instructions on how to run. You were given a training regimen to start yourself out and you were shown how to make a log to keep track of your progress. You even caught a glimpse into the minds of other crazy humans who run.

Now we’ve arrived at the last chapter. Here are some tips and other words that I think will help you along the journey.

Tips For The Lifestyle

– You have to do it every day. It gets easier, but you have to get out there and do it every day. That’s really the hardest part, convincing yourself day after day to get outside and run. But I can promise, every day you force yourself out the door will be a good day.

– Always stretch yourself out before AND after you run. Your body is a muscle; if it isn’t primed for action, you’ll have an easier time hurting yourself.

– Know the difference between being hurt and being injured. When you’re hurt, it isn’t serious, and you can push through it and still be okay. When you’re injured, pushing through it will result in you not being able to run. This will come naturally, but not immediately – it’s all about being comfortable in your own body and learning your limits.

– Don’t be afraid of pushing your own limits. That’s not to say you should get out there and kill yourself beating your feet against the planet, but everyone has a comfort zone they exist in. For some, this comfort zone is very big, so big that they don’t think they have one. For others, the comfort zone is very small, so small that they don’t believe they have one. What you should strive for is being aware of your comfort zone, living on its edge and expanding it whenever you can – comfort is the polar opposite of progress.

– Get outside and run in the rain. I know what you’re thinking: ‘No.’ Well here’s what I’m thinking: ‘Yes.’ Not only will you feel like an alpha for being the only one tough enough to be doing it, but the rain is just another stress variable that your body will learn to overcome. Remember, we’re just hairless monkeys on a rock spinning around a ball of fire; it’s okay to get wet. In fact, during the summer when that ball of fire feels like it’s four feet above your head, the rain feels pretty damn good.

– Running during a snowstorm is fun too, just throwing it out there.

– Don’t let other humans tell you how to run. Don’t let other humans tell you you’re too slow or that you’re too fast, or that you’re anything. Usually when humans have stuff to say about you, it’s them projecting their own shortcomings onto you because they can’t deal with themselves. Ignore the peanut gallery, you have running to do.

– Time yourself on every run and convert that time to a 5K time, or a time applicable to the distance of your chosen punishment race. This will not only help you track your progress, but it’ll also help you teach yourself how to vary your pace. You’ll organically figure out the difference between your long- and short-distance paces over time, sure, but finding your baseline is always a challenge. If you time yourself, finding that baseline effort you have to put in to improve becomes all that much easier.

– Run in the woods at least once a week. I don’t mean hiking, although you should do that too, but actually run the trails, even if they lead up a mountain. Especially if they lead up a mountain. Hiking to a viewpoint is great and all, but running up there and mixing that view with a runner’s high? You’re welcome. As for why: the uneven terrain and sharp turns/steep hills provide a fantastic workout. Plus, there’s just something primal about running through the forest!

– Run in the morning, before you do anything else. Okay, maybe go to the bathroom and drink some water first, give your body some time to wake up before you put it to work, but definitely run in the morning. You’ll have that runner’s high unlocked early and it will carry you through the day on clouds of bliss, mark my words. It’s just like the stoner’s wake and bake philosophy, except better because the sweat will make you sparkle when the early morning sunlight hits you. In other words, rise and shine.

– Don’t look at pain as a bad thing. Pain is just a certain signal your body sends to your brain when it’s doing something it isn’t used to doing. You’re running, you’re using your body in a way you probably never have before. It’s going to be confused, especially during that first month or two. Pain is weakness leaving the body, nothing more and nothing less.

– Vary your workouts, don’t just do the same thing every day. That’ll get real boring, real quick. The last thing you want is to become is a creature of habit.

– [PLEASE] DO NOT ADOPT A GOD COMPLEX BECAUSE YOU RUN. It’s one thing to feel divine, because you are divine. But so is everybody else, and just because you lit a fire under your own ass and made the decision to run every day doesn’t make you better than anybody. Well, it kind of does, but the other humans don’t like to be verbally made inferior. We’re all on our own journeys, each of us are at a different point than the others are. Instead of belittling someone for being where they are, support them. If you want what’s best for another human, that human will want you in their life. And if you want to make someone feel inferior, well, doing so with your presence alone should be enough.

– Find a tribe of humans to run with. Dogs run in packs, birds fly in flocks, humans run in tribes. Training alone can be tough, especially when it comes to holding a steady pace, but when you’re out there with your tribe it’s all that much easier because they hold your pace for you.

– Stretch your body out before and after you run. To warm up before you run, focus on dynamic stretches, which is just stretching with movement. To reax your body after the run, focus on static stretching, which is stretching with as little motion as possible. Or do the reciprocal; honestly, as long as you’re stretching, you will be just fine.


Next, I’ve detailed a small amount of workout ideas that you can try to incorporate into your running. They are meant to challenge you and add some spice to your running life – nothing more, nothing less. Feel free to follow them to the T, or use them as foundations in creating your own custom workouts. Also, when doing these, you should have some form of a stopwatch ready.

Speed Workouts – Do these anywhere you normally run.

The Fartlek
The name (pronounced “fart lick”) is hilarious, yes, but it translates to “speed play” in Swedish. This involves alternating your pace throughout your run, breaking up periods of high exertion with periods of jogging. Say you’re running for 30 minutes; for the first 4 minutes, give 25%. Then, for 2 minutes, give 75%. Then, back to 4 minutes of 25%. Rinse and repeat.

The Tempo Run
Go for a shorter distance run at a slightly slower pace than you would run a race at. To do this, calculate your desired 5K time, for example, 20 minutes. If you do a 2-mile tempo run, strive to finish it around the 14-minute mark.

Fox and Hounds Run
Find yourself a friend or three to do this one with. Half start the workout first. After a predetermined amount of time, the second half starts the workout. The goal for the first half, the foxes, is to not get passed. The goal for the second half, the hounds, is to either pass the foxes or to finish the workout within the amount of time the foxes got their head start.

For example, say you’re doing a 3-mile workout. The foxes get a 2-minute head start. If the hounds finish their run 1 minute and 30 seconds after the foxes finish theirs, the hounds win.

Track WorkoutsDo these on a track, preferably one with a lap distance of a quarter mile (that’s 400 meters).

The Indian Run
Get yourself a tribe to do this one with, and a baton. If you’re not a freak and you don’t own a baton, a stick or even a rock will do just fine. Line up single-file and start running, the human in front sets the pace. Steadily pass the baton/stick/thing from the front to the back of the line while running. When the human in the back gets the thing, they run up to the front and set the pace. Then, the thing is passed to the back of the line again and the cycle is continued. Do this over the course of at least a couple miles for a solid competitive workout, and don’t be afraid to end it with a race.

Note: this one is fun in parks too!

The 10 Mile Relay
Get yourself a partner and a goal pace. For example, for a runner with a 5K time of 20 minutes, 1 lap should be 96 seconds. Human One runs their first lap, aiming to finish in 96 seconds. Then, right when they finish, Human Two starts their first lap, aiming to finish at 96 seconds. Each human rests while their partner runs. Do 40 laps total, meaning 20 laps each – that translates to 5 miles of running per human, 10 miles total.

Straightaway Sprints
The straightaways of a standard track are 100 meters long. Run from beginning to end, aiming for a pace of, for example, 24 seconds. Then rest for 24 seconds. Then run back, aiming for a pace of 24 seconds. Each rest period should be as long as it took to run the previous straightaway is what you should be getting out of this. Repeat this anywhere from 8 to 20 times, depending on how ballsy you’re feeling that day.

Hill WorkoutsFind yourself a hill, preferably one with a bunch of side streets branching off it, and get ready.

The Haul
Run, from the bottom, to the top of the hill. Don’t stop on your way up. On the way down, jog slowly to recover. Boom, 1 set done. Do 3 to 5 sets and call it a day. Give yourself a minute or 2 of rest in between each set, too.

The Ladder
Pick four points on your hill. In my day we’d use a hill called Croissant, and our four markers were the first fire hydrant, the second driveway on the right, the first street sign on the right, and the sign that said don’t let your dogs shit everywhere. Run, at a fast pace, to the first marker, then slowly jog down. Then gun it to the second marker and slowly jog back down. Then to the third, down, fourth, down. 1, 2, 3, 4, one set done. This is essentially a suicide workout, but it’s up a hill so we call it a ladder. You could also do it 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1, but you have to be the one to make that call.

Repeat 3 to 5 times, giving yourself a couple minute’s rest in between each set, and call it a day.

Additionally – and this goes for the next one too – make sure you are descending slowly. If you’re sprinting back down the hill, you’re missing the point of the workout entirely.

Side Streets
Run, from the bottom, to the first side street. Continue running to the end of that side street and the double back to the hill. Go to the next side street and repeat until you’re at the top of the hill. It’s basically The Haul except you’re running all the side streets, too. Then, slowly jog down the hill; 1 set done. This is more of an endurance hill workout, so don’t worry about doing it at a superfast pace, and always remember to jog slowly when you’re going downhill. Do 2 to 4 sets, if you’re still breathing at that point, with a minute or 2 of rest in between each set.

Fun Workouts/Running Gamesespecially fun to do at 5Ks, these can help build camaraderie among runners while simultaneously giving a great workout.

– Ultimate Flying Disc
The official sport of cross country teams everywhere. Make 2 teams, at least 3 humans each, and set up end zones. The goal is to pass the reverent flying disc to a teammate standing in the opposite team’s end zone. When you have the flying disc, you can take up to 3 steps forwards or backwards and unlimited steps left and right in relation to the end zones. If you step out of bounds with the flying disc or drop/fail to catch the flying disc, it gets turned over to the other team. Game to 5, game to 10, whatever man. Go nuts.

Beanbag Relay Race
Make 2 teams, anywhere from 1 to 10 humans each. Set up 2 rows of 5 markers, whether they be cones, sticks, extra beanbags, rocks, anything, all spaced out evenly. Get 10 beanbags. When you say go, the first human takes a beanbag, sprints to the first marker, puts the beanbag down (note: do not drop, place it down) and sprints back. Then, the second human sprints to the second marker, puts the beanbag down, and sprints back. Repeat until all 5 markers have a beanbag. Then, the next human in line sprints to the last marker, picks up the beanbag, and sprints back. Repeat with each human until all the beanbags are picked up and securely grasped in a hand. First team to do it wins.

Toe Tapper
The ultimate game, requires a handful of humans to be done correctly. Set up a square with 4 markers – we would usually use draw-string bags or t-shirts – the size of the square dependent on the number of contestants. Everybody stands on the inside perimeter of the square. Then, you go. The object of the game is to tap – I SAID TAP, NOT KICK OR SHATTER – the top of everyone else’s foot. If your foot is successfully tapped, you are out. If you step out of bounds, you are out. Last human standing is crowned Champion Of The Universe.

The Competitive Edge

Lastly, here are some tips for if/when you get into the competitive side of running.

– Looking for somewhere to start? Nonprofits often hold 5K runs to raise funds for their organizations; it’s a great way to get together with your local community of runners, support a worthy cause, win some awards and eat free food!

– The most important thing you can do: run your race. Competition is fun, you want to see how you stack up against other humans, you want to be better than them, and that’s great, but, you won’t go anywhere if you’re paying more attention to your competition than you are to yourself.

– Persevere! Running a race against other humans is much harder than just going for a run – it’s also more rewarding. Remember: it’s the worst twenty minutes of your life, then you’re done. Then you get awards, free food, and… well, what else do you really need??

– Every time you pass somebody, you get a morale boost and they get deflated; use this to your advantage.

– Encourage your fellow competitors! Whether you pass them, lap them, get passed or get lapped, finish before or after them, it doesn’t matter. They’re running the race just like you are, so make sure to show your support. Eventually, other humans will do it for you, too. Also, when you finish, shake the hand of whoever finished in front of and behind you. Be a good sport.

– When you first start racing, don’t worry about anything except finishing. Don’t worry about time, place, age groups, anything – just finish your first couple races without walking and know that you’ve done well. Racing is a very different animal than just running, it has a different temperament. One should look at it through a different lens.

– Don’t go out with the rabbits; at the beginning of every race, there are always going to be runners who sprint out ahead of the crowd to “get a good start.” All too often they end up burning themselves out early and their race suffers because of it – don’t be one of them.

– Know the difference between a sprint and a kick. A sprint is, at the end of your race, when you take all that energy you’ve saved and burn it, battling the competitor next to you through the finish line. A kick, however, is when you’ve been giving everything you’ve got for the whole race and, as you approach the end, something comes from within you and takes over, blasting you through the finish. When I would run races in high school, I would hit the beginning of the final stretch and black out, suddenly coming to when the race was over. I never actually lost consciousness, but all my attention and awareness went into pushing harder than the guy next to me. I rarely got out-kicked.

– Races are the time to go as hard as you can. During a normal workout, if you’re doing it right you’re giving 100%. During a race, give 110%. Or 120%. Or better yet, 1,111%. If you don’t, by the time the race is over, you’ll have an overwhelming feeling that you could have done more. And that is NOT the feeling you want to have after a footrace. That doesn’t mean sprint the whole race either, just give your best attempt.

– Put forward your best effort during the entire race. Not just at the beginning, not just during the middle, not just at the end, not just when somebody’s about to pass you, not just when you’re running alone. From the moment that gun goes off until you cross the finish line, you’ve got to be giving yourself 100%. Otherwise, why do you even bother?

– NEVER listen to anybody telling you to run with a strategy called “negative splits.” What this comes down to, essentially, is running the first leg of the race slower so you can gun it for the second leg of the race. This does not work; if you aren’t giving 100% throughout the entire race then you are wasting not only your own time, but your competition’s time too.

– Don’t go it alone. Running a race is fun and all, but a lot of races have the option to sign up with a team. Get a couple of buddies together and make one!

– The starting line carries a lot of anxiety with it. What if the weather is bad, what if it’s too hot or too cold outside? What if someone trips you? What if the course is full of potholes? What if a meteor strikes and kills everybody? In the event of these things, well, everybody else has to deal with them too. Just breathe and get out there.

– Lastly, always stay positive. Life itself is psychedelic, meaning mind-manifesting. The things you think have a tendency to become real in mysterious ways. If you go into a race thinking about how bad you’re going to do, how much it will hurt and how you wish you were still sleeping, chances are you’re going to suck wind and perform terribly. However, if you go into a race thinking about how great you’re going to do, how you can’t wait to compete and how amazing you’ll feel after you cross the finish line, chances are you’re going to kill it. And even if you don’t, well, at least you’re not that obnoxious loser who’s openly doubting themselves for all to hear.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Into Some Minds Of Madness – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (6/9)

Hello Commons, here is the fifth chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Chapter 5
Into Some Minds Of Madness

Running Makes Life Better

At this point in your reading, you may be skeptical. You may be thinking I made up the whole story about myself, that I’m just pulling all of this “running makes life better” stuff out of my butt and trying to make a quick buck. You may even think that I am legitimately crazy, that my words hold no weight and that your time spent reading this book has been a total waste. That’s just fine, I won’t take your insecurities to heart.

Listen, you can think whatever you want, it doesn’t make a singular nevermind to me. I set out to help you improve your lifethrough running and I’m not about to stop – running has taught me better. This book is prepared for your doubts; I went out and interviewed over a dozen runners from a variety of age groups, asking six simple questions about their running experience. You may find that… well, I’ll just let you read it for yourself.

1.  When & why did you start running?

“I started running in August of twenty’sixteen because my friend recommended cross country to me. I was fourteen years old.”
– Mazonn Murkthee, 17

“I started running almost a decade ago. I started because I was at a race with my family but I watched and everyone else ran, I had never run before in my life. Then my friend asked me if I wanted to try it. Two months later I ran my first race.”
– Glauria Wallace, 53

“I started running track when I was in middle school, but I took a hiatus to pursue academics and theater & the performing arts throughout high school. I picked it up again my freshman year of college, the same year I kickstarted my fifty-pound weight loss and maintenance.”

– Pam Happy Robertson, 20

“I actually started running a little before high school, I really enjoyed it. Football wasn’t my cup of tea because I’d get trampled, and I ran everywhere with my friends. One day I got into a fight with one of the better runners and I was only about one hundred twelve pounds at the time, so I took off. The coach saw me and the rest is history.”
– Jo-jo “Joey” Jennings, 66

“I grew up around animals, specifically one dog named Roscoe. He was a pit bull we rescued; my mom didn’t let him stay inside our trailer so I always ran around outside with him. These days I run to stay sane because my boss Chuck is a freaking nutjob.”
– Karen Page, 29

“I was a former marine, and marines pride themselves on being physically fit. A few years ago I was concerned about gaining weight and I heard about some local five-kays so I figured I’d give it a try. I started a good seven years ago.”
– Mikhail Vitulano, 52

“I started running when I was five or six because in gym class I was really fast. And I beat my dad at a five-kay when I was six.”
– Arnold Oysterman, 12

“I started running because I was terrible at everything else I tried. Just not coordinated. When I picked up middle school cross country, the more I put in the better I got.”
– Brob Outrano, 28

“I was twelve. My family is all athletic, we grew up on a Native American reservation, and I played soccer. I really just loved long distance running. It wasn’t really a choice, but I loved it all the same.”
– Renee Pallet, 32

“I started eight years ago after a health scare. I was working on my bucket list and I wanted to do a five-kay and I was a walker so I didn’t think it would be that bad.”
– Karla Holula, 57

“Because I liked it and thought it was really fun. It’s fun to race your friends. I was eleven, or however old you are in sixth grade.”
– Jesohaia Campogreen, 16

2. Why do you run? In other words, what does running mean to you?

“That’s a good question. I run because, with all the things going on around me, it acts as a stress reliever. When I run well and with good competition, it brings me joy.”
– Zacharia Voll’Kayno, 16

“I run to keep my body in optimal physical condition. I am a machine, or rather, my body is. If I let it sit and stagnate for even one day it will rust, it will degrade. Unacceptable. Now get out of my face, I have lesser humans to stomp.”
– Sean Hymarc, 36

“I know I get conditioning, but that’s like the third level. The first thing is… it’s hard to describe. I like to run outdoors because it’s like a metaphysical experience. I like to enjoy nature. Then there’s the racing; I like to push myself and do well, and the friendships aren’t bad either.”
– Glen Jakobs, 70

“For one, it keeps you in good shape. I’ve also found it’s a good way to relax – if I have a bad day at work I’ll go for a run, and I may not solve a single problem, but I will sure feel a lot better. And it’s a lot better than hitting the bottle.”
– Jo-jo “Joey” Jennings, 66

“It’s a way of becoming fit, and of improving yourself. Most of all it’s about meeting the others, making friends that have similar desires, goals and motivations. I’m also trying to get my seven-year-old into running. It’s really the camaraderie of the sport.”
– Mikhail Vitulano, 52

“I get faster. It also makes me have something to work for, like goals. And it’s fun!”
– Arnold Oysterman, 12

“That’s a good question. Fear of what will happen if I stop, really. It’s just the one escape, it’s the only time I’m in sync with my own thoughts. Usually everything is so real, but when you’re running it all melts away.”
Brob Outrano, 28

“Self-improvement, self-development. Every aspect of my self, my mind, my heart, my body benefits from it. It becomes an improved version as a result.”
– Obito Osuki, 34

“It’s like a challenge to overcome. Nobody wants to go for a run, but the feeling after is always worth the challenge.”
– Bradley Canning, 21

“It is physical, spiritual, emotional and mental therapy. Nothing connects me more with the earth, God and myself than pushing myself to extreme limits.”
– Renee Pallet, 32

“I enjoy running because it’s like my quiet time away, it’s also an outlet for all my energy.”
– Joe Corridoro, 36

“Competition – medals, beating my peers, seeing my own improvement.”
– Mazonn Murkthee, 17

3. Do you have any words of advice for those who are new to running?

“Start at your own pace and eventually as you keep running you will get better and better. Don’t give up too easily, keep pushing yourself.”
– Jesohaia Campogreen, 16

“Number one, have fun. Number two, don’t get hurt. Number three, keep your weight down, especially older runners. Number four, push yourself like I do, but do it at a level you’re comfortable with.”
– Glen Jakobs, 70

“Just learn to enjoy it, try not to be so competitive that you can’t enjoy it. Look at all the stuff you get to see when you’re out there, it’s a very relaxing sport.”
– Jo-jo “Joey” Jennings, 66

“Keep at it. You’re not going to lose all the weight the first week, you’re not going to be the best runner at first but if you keep at it you’ll get better, you’ll lose the weight and you’ll just feel better.”
– Smitty Holula, 66

“Just come out and try it, don’t feel embarrassed or afraid of being beaten. I’ve seen everyone from eight years old to folks in their eighties running and it’s just amazing.”
– Mikhail Vitulano, 52

“Don’t do too much too soon, don’t start off too fast. You need to be prepared to a certain point, but don’t just start off with a sprint, because you’re going to hurt yourself and lose the motivation.”
– Karla Holula, 57

“Just keep going. Don’t stop, don’t take three weeks to stop because then you won’t do it anymore. And also do races, it makes you really push yourself!”
– Arnold Oysterman, 12

“Just enjoy it. As long as you’re enjoying it, that’s what’s important. If it becomes a chore, you might have to change something.”
– Joe Corridoro, 36

“Get competitive with it. Even if it’s against yourself.”
– Hewitt Corridoro, 9

“Don’t give up on it right away. Take time to adjust yourself to it and as you run more, you’ll see your progress and the mental and physical benefits.”
– Zacharia Voll’Kayno, 16

“Definitely don’t stop. When I first started, I thought I couldn’t do it, I thought I would never go anywhere with it and that I would quit after the first week. But I didn’t, and now I’m varsity. And if I could make varsity, then anyone could do it. Make sure that I is italicized, okay?”
– Jack Monta, 15

“Get out the door; that’s the hardest part most of the time. And don’t worry about pace. Worry about minutes – don’t even think about miles until you can go for forty-five minutes straight.”
– Brob Outrano, 28

“Try to run every day. When you’re out there don’t walk, try to at least do a slow jog. Walking is giving in, it’s all in your mind.”
– Mazonn Murkthee, 17

4. Any words for those who are on the fence of whether or not they should run?

“Definitely try it out because it only benefits you. If you don’t like it that’s fine, but if you get more involved, you’ll see the benefits that come along with it.”
– Zacharia Voll’Kayno, 16

“If I can do it anybody can do it! Try it, you don’t know unless you try it. It’s hard, it all comes back to it’s hard but when you accomplish your goal, there’s no better feeling.”
– Glauria Wallace, 53

“Try it. It’s not bad for your knees, that’s the big excuse but the more you use the joint, the better it gets lubricated. If you’re always babying it, it’s going to get hurt.”

– Smitty Holula, 66

“There’s an implication that as you get older you should be slowing down, but it’s good to try it anyway. Stay active, get involved with a running club.”
– Karla Holula, 57

“Just do it! It becomes an addiction, it’s very contagious. Try it – five-kays are a race where it’s not too long, it’s something you can complete. And if you train for it, you will see yourself improve.”
– Mikhail Vitulano, 52

“Depends why they’re on the fence. If there’s a medical concern, see a doctor. There are other endurance sports. If you’re physically capable, there’s no reason not to. The more you put in, the more you get out of it. Don’t compare yourself to others, just do you.”
– Brob Outrano, 28

“I would say, for one thing, running is not for everybody. Talk to your doctor to make sure you won’t hurt yourself, but work your way into it. Don’t get so competitive that you can’t enjoy it.”
– Jo-jo “Joey” Jennings, 66

 “Give yourself a chance, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself.”
– Renee Pallet, 32

“Just try it, it’s not like it’s a long-term commitment. It’s a half-hour commitment, or even a ten-minute commitment, however long you want.”
– Bradley Canning, 21

“Oh gosh, just do it. If being seen or watched by other humans bugs you out then hit the woods, run some trails. Do yourself a favor and just get lost out there for a day. You’re more likely to run into a bigfoot than you are to come across somebody who will judge you. Sprinting through the forest at full speed is literally the greatest thing you could ever do, ever.”
– Sam Monta, 19

“Give it a try, see how you feel. Even if it doesn’t feel good at first, stick with it. It might take a little while, but eventually you will enjoy it.”
– Joe Corridoro, 36

“If they decide to, they should start off with a little race. Start easy.”
– Hewitt Corridoro, 9

5. Any words for those who think running is a bad idea?

“That’s stupid.”
– Zacharia Voll’Kayno, 16

 “You shouldn’t call it a bad idea if it actually helps others out and if it’s someone’s goal to take them farther.”
– Jesohaia Campogreen, 16

“Those who think it’s a bad idea probably don’t do anything. Everything you do involves some type of motion, so… I think if you think it’s a bad idea, you’d rather sit on the couch and watch others do things.”
– Jo-jo “Joey” Jennings, 66

“They’re probably right, but that’s coming from me. Look, cards on the table, I know I weigh far too much to enjoy running. The only reason I’m doing this race is because my boss Chuck is paying me overtime. I’m sure for healthy humans it’s unreservedly incredible.”
– Sigmund Durham, 41

“Well you’re not going to change their mind, but you just have to see what it does for you. It’s more than words, it’s the actions that count, and when others see that you’re improving yourself, they might start too.”

– Karla Holula, 66

“There’s always things that are going to be bad, as far as health-wise. If you lift weights you can overexert yourself – go at a slow pace, stretch, eat the right foods and you’ll find out that it’s not such a bad thing.”
– Mikhail Vitulano, 52

*laughter* Try something else. Just keep moving, don’t let the fact that you don’t want to run keep you from doing something.”
– Smitty Holula, 66

“Uh… it’s not. It can make you a better human. It can make you reach your goals.”
– Arnold Oysterman, 12

“I think everybody has their hobbies. If they think it’s a bad idea they probably haven’t tried it themselves.”
– Joe Corridoro, 36

“If they think it’s a bad idea because they’re going to ruin their knees, it’s a load of crap. Humans are built to run, it’s as simple as that. Form is correctable – those who doubt it either haven’t taken the right steps or they haven’t tried it. Give it time.”
– Brob Outrano, 28

“Run on the grass, run on the dirt. If you think it’s bad for you it’s probably because you think running on pavement is bad for your joints, but this planet has plenty of places to run that aren’t pavement.”
– Obito Osuki, 34

*clears throat* Why? Why is running a bad idea, I don’t know. If you don’t want to run, find something that motivates you. The important thing is to keep moving.”
– Glauria Wallace, 53

“I don’t even think humans like that exist. Doesn’t everyone just acknowledge that it’s good for you?”
– Bradley Canning, 21

6. How do you feel about the phrase “Running is an art form”?

“Everyone has an outlet to express themselves, I believe the same way with running. Running is like art; your shoes are like the brushes and the places you run on are your canvas. So go paint.”
– Mazonn Murkthee, 17

“It is an art in its own way, just like anything else. A sport with a ball has its own significance and so does running. Van Gough’s painting and Beethoven’s music are both beautiful works of art, and so is running. It’s just more physical.”
– Zacharia Voll’Kayno, 16

“I believe it’s kind of an art form. You go out and watch a race and everyone has a different way of doing it. You can look at someone at the beginning of a race and think, ‘This guy ain’t going anywhere,’ and then he’ll beat you. It’s very unique.”
– Jo-jo “Joey” Jennings, 66

“It is, because there’s not one particular method or motivation that works for everybody. You have to find it in yourself, running makes you a better human and being a better human makes you a better runner.”
– Karla Holula, 57

“I’d agree with that. I think there’s a lot you can get from running other than exercise and health. There’s a peacefulness to it. Running alone is like meditation, running with a group is a social thing.”
– Joe Corridoro, 36

“Well I feel exquisite about it, thank you for asking. Running is… when I was younger, my father and I would go out to sea to explore tropical islands, right, and on these islands – one island in particular, actually; it was shaped like a foot, you would have loved it – I would run through the jungles. When I was out there, something changed in me… I felt like I was a cave painting, but animated. There is something primal, something real about running. It’s one of the most human things you can do. Damn fuckin’ straight it’s an art form.”
– Chuck Leary, 37

 “Yeah, yeah I agree. It’s definitely one of the most essential physical arts that has been around since the beginning of human creation, and it will be around until the end of us. We just need to learn to create better art than the machines. If we do that, we will survive. Remember, in Zombieland, the first to go were… well, the key to survival is cardio.”
– Obito Osuki, 34

“I would say it’s probably an art form. It depends on how you do it, like, Steve Prefontaine? The way he did it was an art form.”
– Bradley Canning, 21

“Running has its own uniqueness compared to every other sport, and each runner has their own uniqueness compared to every other human. It’s special.”
– Jesohaia Campogreen, 16

“I’ll be honest with you. I never thought about it that way, because I’ve never been much into art. Aesthetically though, I have to agree.”
– Glen Jakobs, 70

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Your Runner’s Log(s) – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (5/9)

Hello Commons, here is the fourth chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Chapter 4
Your Runner’s Log(s)

Getting Started

Deciding to get out there and start running is a big step, but not as big as actually getting out there and physically doing the running. To help you keep track of your progress and see your own improvement on paper, I have created a series of runner’s logs for you to use on your journey. There are three total: one for the first week, one for the first month, and then a template to use for when you’ve made it through the first month. Feel free to write right in the book, tear the pages out, make copies for you and your friends, whatever you need to do. You don’t even need to follow these suggestions if you don’t want to; as long as you’re getting outside and you’re running around, you’ve accomplished the goal.


The First Week

The first week you decide to get out there and start running will, without a doubt, be the most difficult week of your life. In high school we called it Hell Week. Well, we didn’t, but I’m calling it Hell Week in here so myah.

The goal of the first week as I have outlined it is to have you steadily build up to a 5K, the standard distance for local charity races. For now, don’t even worry about how long it takes to get it done. Just go outside and run the distance.

As far as plotting out your run goes, you can get a GPS watch that tells you how far you’ve run, OR you can use one of the multitude of websites that let you design your own route using a GPS map – my favorite is called MapMyRun. Remember: at this point in your journey, completing the run is the goal. Good luck.

Week 1
Day 1: Run for 15 minutes without stopping. [  ]
Day 2: Run 1 mile without stopping. [  ]
Day 3: Run 1.5 miles without stopping. [  ]
Day 4: Run 2 miles without stopping. [  ]
Day 5: Run 2.5 miles without stopping. [  ]
Day 6: Run 3 miles without stopping. [  ]
Day 7: Run 3.11 miles without stopping. [  ]

The First Month

You did it, you survived Hell Week! Great job! I bet you got super high doing it too, good for you! You may have noticed that you were able to run one mile, maybe even two miles in less than 15 minutes. That’s great, and sort of expected! The reason I started you off with 15 minutes was to shock your system, to make the first day tough so the next two days seem a lot easier by comparison. Be real with yourself, that feeling of satisfaction kept you going. You proved me wrong when I called you a bitch. You’re welcome.

Regardless, the first week has come and gone and the next three are at your doorstep. Now that you’ve made your body aware that it’s going to be running, we’re going to start keeping track of how fast you finish the workouts so you can start trying to improve.

There are three types of workouts you’ll be doing: short, medium and long. The short workouts are to be no longer than 2 miles and should be done at a faster pace – really put effort into these, focus on your speed to gain the maximum benefit. The medium workouts are to be anywhere between 2 and 4 miles and should be done at a good pace – don’t kill yourself but don’t dog it either, try to focus on your breathing and finding your baseline pace. Lastly, we have the long workouts, 4 to 6 miles that should be done at a slower than normal pace – these are about building endurance and working through the stress of running for an extended period of time without stopping.

Additionally, there are two other types of “workouts” that I threw in there just for you, ya little snowflake: fun runs and rest days. A fun run should be just that – a fun run. Don’t worry about distance, time, pace, none of that. Just stretch yourself out and go for a nice run, wherever you want. A rest day, again, is pretty self-explanatory: it is a day focused on rest so your body can recuperate. On rest days, stretching should be the main goal; I would recommend that you also go out for a little run but be easy about it and, realistically, don’t run for more than 10ish minutes/1 mile.

Always remember: do not stop. Even if you have to drop it down to a baby jog, don’t stop running until you’re done. Good luck out there, champ. I’ll see you on the other side.

Week 2
Day 1: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 2: Short Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 3: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 4: Fun Run!
Day 5: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 6: Long Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 7: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:

Week 3
Day 1: Long Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 2: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 3: Short Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 4: Rest Day!
Day 5: Short Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 6: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 7: Long Run (_______ miles)| Time:

Week 4
Day 1: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 2: Long Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 3: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 4: Fun Run!
Day 5: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 6: Short Run (_______ miles)| Time:
Day 7: Medium Run (_______ miles)| Time:

Now let’s figure out your average time per mile. It’s very simple to calculate, I’ll walk you through it. First, total up your miles per week, then total up the time you spent running per week. Put your numbers down here:

Week 2
Total miles: _______      Total time: _______

Week 3
Total miles: _______      Total time: _______

Week 4
Total miles: _______      Total time: _______

Great job. Now, add together your total miles and your total times, and put them here:

Grand total miles: _______   Grand total time: _______

Whoop! We’re almost done. Now, divide the total time spent running by the number of miles you ran, put the number on the line, and bask in the greatness that is yourself being a real runner. Also, remember that you’re mathing with temporal numbers, not normal numbers.

Your average time per mile: _______

The Rest

Hello there, Feetbeater. You did it, you got through the first month. At first your times probably got a little slower with each workout, and that’s fine. In fact, that, too, is expected! Things have to get worse before they can start to get better, otherwise they would always stay the same. You ran every day for four weeks straight, except maybe that rest day (which is just fine!), and now you’re firmly addicted to that sweet, sweet feeling of freedom.

Here’s the bittersweet part… I’ve taught you all I can teach you. The rest is up to you; I guided you through the portal into the running dimension and I even helped you along the path to establishing yourself as a runner. Now it’s time for you to take over, put both hands on the wheel and drive your body to great heights. You came this far on foot – now it’s time to fly.

I do have one more gift for you though: a proper runner’s log. Or at least, instructions on how to make one. Take a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and a ruler. Draw a table that looks like this:


Now, from left to right, assign the following labels to the columns: Date, Course Name, Distance, Time, Pace, Notes. Boom, you have your running log for the week.

Why keep track? Because taking note of your progress makes it real to you, it solidifies what you’re doing in your head so you’re less inclined to fall off with it. Plus, after four more weeks of running, you can re-calculate your average time per mile and compare it to your time from the first month, and then you can keep track of how much faster you get with each passing month, and then, and then, and then…

You see, when you’re teaching someone how to run, they need guidance; that is why I provided you with guidelines for your workouts in the beginning. But the beginning has come to a timely end; now you’ll get to choose your own distances, set your own pace and keep track of your own times; you can even throw in some speed and hill workouts to really mix things up. The world is your racecourse – I’ll see you at the finish line.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

How To Run – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (4/9)

Hello Commons, here is the third chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Chapter 3
How To Run

Go For A Run

Just go outside and do it.

Hush up mortal, the shaman is speaking. Lace up your shoes – or go barefoot, if you’re into it – and go run.

Stop your thinking! I don’t want to hear it, nothing you can say is an acceptable excuse to not run. You are a human being a hairless monkey living on a rock spinning around a ball of fire, blasting through an infinity of empty space that is occupied by other rocks and balls of fire.

In other words: you don’t matter, and neither do your foul-smelling mouth noises that you call excuses.

So, just go for a run.

Just fucking do it. Bitch.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Why You Should Run – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (3/9)

Hello Commons, here is the second chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Chapter 2
Why You Should Run

A Key To A Tolerable Existence

When I stopped running after high school, my ability to block everything out and get stuff done deteriorated until it was completely gone. My focus evaporated, my endurance and lung capacity deflated, my physical fitness peeled away, and everything got worse for me. Then, I started running again and it all started coming back! It’s miraculous as far as I’m concerned; don’t you want these benefits for your life? Back when I was completely out of my mind, batshit crazy, running helped me level out and stay sane… so imagine the good it could do for you!

Simply put, running is a key to a tolerable existence. Notice that I said a key, as in singular but not solitary; it is certainly not the only available path. Some choose to isolate themselves in mountaintop temples and meditate their way to contentedness. Some practice martial arts and learn how to kill a human using only their pinkie finger. Some record themselves playing video games and put the footage on the internet. Some spend obnoxious amounts of money traveling the world, and some do it for cheap by living a nomad’s life. The truly crazy ones make art – music, paintings, sculptures, some are so far gone they even write and publish books! For these types of human, the thought of running may not cross their mind – although for some it does! – and their existence is still pretty tolerable; they can torture themselves and enjoy it. They’re sustainably crazy all on their own.

But, chances are, these scenarios don’t match up to your existence. And that’s okay. Not everyone can be sustainably crazy by themselves… well, everyone can, but not everyone realizes it. Not yet at least, and that’s okay too. For the 99% of humanity who’s crazy isn’t at the level of being able to enjoy self-torture, running is a fantastic way to get there. You know what they say: in order to get anywhere in this life, you’ve gotta be at least a little crazy!

Speaking of which, what is life? Or, better yet, what is Existence?

I have absolutely no idea. It’s weird, that’s really all I can tell you with at least a shred of certainty. Outside of that, the general consensus is that it’s broken up into three pillars: mind, body and soul. And guess what? Each one of those pillars has its own special benefit to be gained from running.

The Mind

If there’s one thing about the human mind that I’ve learned during my go as a psychology major in the American higher education system, it’s that humans don’t understand our minds nearly as well as we think we do. We think everything has a physical cause – an imbalance in brain chemicals, childhood trauma, inherited genes, what have you. I’m not going to sit here and say none of that is true, because like I said, humans don’t understand the mind nearly as well as we think we do, and even with my shamanism, I’m just a human. But what if the physical “causes” are actually symptoms…? Take my Lyme stuff for example – I’m pretty sure that I had bacteria eating away at my brain (a physical cause) which threw the rest of my body, and therefore my perception (and mental health), pretty far out of whack. I was also living my life in a way that made me totally and completely miserable, and when I finally stopped doing that and started living like I wanted to (which was right around the time of the events akin to those detailed in the appendix), the out-of-whackness started to go away.

What I’m saying is that although my ego loves to believe that the reason my life sucked was because of variables out of my control, there’s a solid chance that my life was hard because I wasn’t living it right for me. Cut and dry, plain and simple: I did not ask, so I did not receive.

Now let me ask you something: why does anybody do anything? To not feel bad, or in other words, to feel good! You go to work because earning that paycheck at the end of a hard week/two weeks makes you feel good. Or maybe it doesn’t, maybe I was on to something when I said you don’t really earn your own paycheck. Regardless, you need money to buy food to eat and fluids to drink. You eat and drink because starving/dehydrating does not feel good.

Let’s pretend eating isn’t a basic requirement of living – if things didn’t taste so good, would you eat? The answer is no; why would you shove stuff down your throat just to expel it later? That’s incredibly inefficient, you could spend that time doing something more enjoyable, something that gets you high. After all, getting high is just short language (read: slang) for entering a state of feeling good; stretching it a bit, the word high is just an acronym for harboring intense giddy happiness. The word doesn’t have to apply to the state of being under the influence of drugs.

Don’t get me wrong, in our society the word high almost solely applies to a drugged-out state of mind because the numbing trend of pseudo-slavery of those who respire under the dollar that dominates modern human civilization leads humans to ingesting illicit foreign chemicals (sometimes nature-based, sometimes laboratory-derived) in order to feel something, that something (sometimes) being confused for feeling good. But it doesn’t have to.

In fact, I can think of one circumstance in which the word high is often used that has nothing to do with drugs. And what circumstance is that? The runner’s high, of course! – that feeling of lightness, of pure euphoria and endorphins flooding your body after a good run. Ask anybody who runs, the runner’s high is better than any drug you could ever take. If it wasn’t for that runner’s high at the end of the workout, nobody would do it! I sure as hell wouldn’t still be running without the runner’s high, it’s that stellar!

“Really?” I can metaphysically sense you asking, “This hippie who thinks he’s Jesus is telling me to run so I can get high? This is ridiculous, I’m getting rid of this book.”

Fine, do it. While you’re at it, tell your manager I said hi.

Running isn’t all about getting high, boomer, we’re still in the domain of the mind. As far as the mind is concerned, getting high is all that matters, all the time. That and control, because having control makes humans feel higher than god!

I’m not speaking hyperbolically either, all humans want to do is get high. If I had a dollar for every time I got a text or a Snapchat from a human saying “High as fuck at <insert literally any function, solo, social or otherwise>,” I would be loaded.

Why do you go to work? Because it gives you a purpose, which makes you high. Why do you own a pet? Because it makes you feel less lonely, which makes you high. Why do you get together with another human? Because that human makes you feel high. And why, pray tell, are humans always trying to get high? Because when we’re not high, we can’t do anything.

This is where depression comes in. Depression, as far as my own experience with it has led me to understand, is a prolonged state of not being high, or in other words, feeling low. When we feel low, we feel sluggish; our brain doesn’t brain right, our bodies get heavy, and even the most remedial tasks like, I don’t know, going outside and running around seem neigh impossible. Sure, one can transform the crippling feelings of sadness and anger into beautiful art and transmute the negativity into something positive, but unless one has an outside force pushing one to do that, one won’t do it. They’ll be too busy sitting in a depression hole drinking pulverized bits of corn chips out of a crinkly-ass bag and not leaving their bed for days on end, save to relieve themselves (I hope. The bag of chips may empty, but there’s no need to refill it!). Humans, all lifeforms really, just aren’t productive when they’re depressed.

So how do we cure depression, then? We don’t. The way I see it, depression isn’t so much a curable condition as it is a repeated pattern of feeling not great. Depression isn’t a physical or permanent malady, it’s a cycle; it doesn’t need a physical cure, it just needs to be broken. So the question becomes, then, how do we make the bad feelings go away so we can resume humaning?

There is a myriad of available options. You can consult the psychotherapy industry, which is idiotically expensive and doesn’t really work half the time. You could consult the pharmaceutical industry and their flavorless candies, which, especially in the case of SSRIs, hardly work any better than placebo sugar pills and are idiotically expensive (anyone else sensing a pattern here?). You could seek out shamanic and/or psychedelic intervention, which involves the very difficult task of finding a legitimate shaman and securing legitimate and pure psychedelic medicine; this method works but is largely frowned upon by the humans in charge of our society because… well… because it’s not idiotically expensive and it works.

OR you could get high by running, by getting your blood pumping and forcing your body to wake up and activate. Clear out the toxic nonsense that’s polluting you and leave it all on the road behind you. Strive for that runner’s high, it’s literally the best feeling in the world and it’s free. Ironically enough, the system the runner’s high operates through is called the endocannabinoid system, the same system which facilitates the high of smoking cannabis. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Before continuing, you need to experience the runner’s high for yourself so you have some semblance of an idea of what I’m on about. Go outside and run for… let’s say five minutes. Push as hard as you can, really kill it for five little minutes, get yourself high and come back. Don’t worry, I’ll be here waiting for you. Go.

The Body

SO! You just went out for your first run. You got your blood pumping and boy are you high right now. That’s fantastic, great job! But at the same time, everything kind of hurts, doesn’t it? At the very least your legs do, and chances are you’re still trying to catch your breath. Guess what? None of this will change for the next five to ninety minutes, and that’s fine – for now – but this kind of extended recovery time isn’t sustainable, surely it can’t be like this after every run… can it?

Yeah, actually, it can be like that after every run… if you only run when you’re feeling so depressed that you can’t move, that is. See, getting high is great and all, but it’s not the only reason you should run. You’ve gotta be healthy, you have to take care of your body so your body can take care of you. And running will help you with that.

By forcing yourself to run, you’re primarily working your cardiovascular system – in less jargony terms, you’re working your heart! While you’re out there beating feet, you’re breathing in tons of oxygen, which makes your heart beat faster and pump blood harder throughout your body. The heart, like the rest of the body, is a muscle in the sense that the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. To use an analogy, which is more likely to start: a car that gets driven every day, or a car that sits for months on end without being so much as turned on?

Your heart isn’t the only thing you’ll be improving by habitually running; you’ll improve your lungs too, you’ll tech them to absorb oxygen at a faster, more controllable rate. You’ll also improve your brain; you’ll gain focus, you’ll be able to handle stress better, you’ll sleep better, and your mood will be better. As for the rest of the body, you’ll burn all the calories, your legs will be as solid as tree trunks and you’ll be toner than face lotion. You’ll be a healthier human overall.

Another perhaps less obvious benefit is control. This falls into the realm of the mind as well – running is as much a physical sport as it is a mental sport. While it’s your feet that are hitting the pavement, it’s you telling your feet to keep going. It’s you blocking out the pain, the stress, the exhaustion, all those nagging voices just begging you to stop – it all starts inside of your head. Through running you automatically condition your brain to push through stress and achieve your goal, even if that goal is as simple as running up a little hill. You will automatically learn that it’s better not to stop until you’re done, an invaluable lesson that one cannot learn from simply reading a book, no matter how incredible this book is… I mean, no matter how incredible that book is, the hypothetical one. Uh.

One day, you’ll realize the only limits that bind you are the ones you set in your own head; one day, you’ll realize it feels fucking great to get out there and work your hairless ape body. That’s when the real fun begins.

You’ll also probably come to the point where you realize your nutritious diet of hot pockets and other microwaveable delectables isn’t as digestible as you once thought it was. You can be running and working out constantly, looking big and feeling great, but as soon as you sit down and eat that processed product the supermarket claims is real food, those feelings slip away. This is another bodily benefit to running – you will want, nay, feel the need to change your diet for the better because of it.

You need energy from good, natural, healthy foodstuffs to properly fuel a runner’s body. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, fresh meat singed on cast iron cooking ware over an open fire, not processed, BHT-enriched garbage food that wouldn’t look or taste half as appetizing if it wasn’t loaded with artificial preservatives, food coloring and sugars/sugar substitutes. Healthy food leads to a healthy body, which leads to a better mind state, which leads to a happier and fuller life. You can bet on that.

But honestly, you can rea- wait, how could I forget? As you continue to run, you’ll pick up on another extremely healthy habit: stretching out! You know, bending and pulling on the various limbs of your body until you feel that intoxicating burn reverberating through the very fibers of your being. Sure, there are specific stretches you can do that “optimize” the activity, but the important part is that you stretch in the first place. You know your body best, and you will find out that if your muscles are primed before they’re used, they’ll work much better. When you go to blow up a balloon, you stretch it out a bit first, right? Same idea; before you expand and contract your leg muscles, stretch ‘em out, loosen ‘em up. Do some deep breathing exercises for your lungs too, so you can take in more oxygen. Oxygen is energy, fuel for the furnace that burns inside your heart and propels your body forward.

But honestly, you can read all this online. I certainly did, not gonna bullshit you here. I feel like the majority of the stuff in this section doesn’t even need to be stated because it’s so obvious; you’re using and properly caring for your body, of course it’s going to become stronger. As humans, we are not piloting a fleshy machine that unstoppably breaks down over time.

Don’t get me wrong, the body certainly can break down over time, but that usually doesn’t happen unless you do a terrible job of taking care of yourself OR unless you’ve been humaning for so long that your body doesn’t want to body anymore.

The body is fluid, it is constantly moving and working whether you’re aware of it or not. So you have two choices: work with it by exercising and being active, or work against it by being stagnant. Regardless of what you do, one day your body will give out; since you went through the effort of not only buying this book but reading it too, you might as well take the third step and do what I’ve made it say: work with your body.

The Soul

Finally, we come to the soul. The spirit, the energy coursing through everything from your body to the Universe itself, the last pillar of Existence. Consciousness, inner space, the final frontier; the very intangible thing that is largely ignored by most American-flavored humans. In my opinion, American culture is extremely disconnected from the spirit – everyone seems to be stuck in the material, the physical, with no awareness of the immaterial, the metaphysical. Admittedly it’s kind of fun for me, being a shaman and all; I’m in the know, so to speak, being at least in some form aware of what’s going on behind the scenes while everyone around me is blissfully unaware, repeating the same exact mistakes thinking they’re doing the best they can in an unrelenting and merciless self-fulfilling propalactic of self-destruction that I have to sit by and watch them suffer through because no matter how many little hints I drop, no matter how many times they don’t listen to the advice they ask me for, they stay stubbornly stuck in their ways… okay so it’s really not that fun. It’s a big problem for a whole bunch of reasons.

Humans get trapped in the physical world where specific things lead to other specific things and everything works in a defined system, it’s mind-numbing. As a species we’ve allowed ourselves to become creatures of habit, not even thinking as we go through the motions day after day, serving a system that we ourselves created supposedly for the benefit of mankind. Nothing for nothing, the system has become redundant. It’s outdated, it’s a problem. And how do we deal with our problems? We run from them, figure out how to solve them, and then go about solving them!

Alas, where do we run when the problem is all around us? That’s just the thing: the problem isn’t all around us, we just think it is. Society, the system, the man – it’s all in our heads. No matter what, we are hairless monkeys living on a rock circling a ball of fire and there’s nothing that anybody can do or say to change that fact. Me’lon Qusk launched a car into space, and guess what? He’s still a hairless monkey. A badass, rich hairless monkey that sold flamethrowers to the public, sure, but a hairless monkey, nonetheless.

The point is, we can do whatever the hell we want in life! It seems like we can’t, it might even feel like we can’t, but that feeling is all in your head. Want proof? Check this out.

When you go for a run, I bet you stick to the roads. Your town is nothing more than a system of roads running through a geographic area, and when you run, you stick to those roads like a fly on flypaper; you probably only have a single route planned out too, you scamp!

Or, if you’re the adventurous type, you might run on trails. The trails are strict, skinny little pathways that wind through the forest and you stick to them like a branch fallen off a tree. It would be weird if you didn’t, right? Where else could you possibly run other than the paths that those who came before you have carved out?

Well… pretty much fuckin’ anywhere else. It might be easier to stick to the roads and the trails, but… why take the easy route? Since when was the path more traveled ever worth going down?

The next time you go out for a run, don’t plan your route. Just go out your door, start down your street and go wherever the heck you want. That street you usually turn left on? Turn right. Go up that big hill that’s been stalking you in your dreams. Go down that road that everybody avoids because they think it’s haunted by demon wolves or ghosts or the KKK or whatever the hell. Get off that trail and blaze your own imaginary path through the forest, one nobody else can follow unless they’re running right behind you. Challenge yourself to look at the whole piece of paper rather than just focusing on the lines that have been drawn on it by others.

When you start to do this, you will truly understand what freedom is, what spirit is. You will experience what it’s like to have a soul, you will feel all that metaphysical energy coursing through your body. You will understand what it means to be alive. You will create your own running path, become your own tour guide through the beautiful little corner of Existence that you call home. You might even find some stuff you’ve never seen before; in running through my local forests, I’ve found abandoned iron mines, dilapidated stone remains of farms and houses, veins of quartz bigger than my entire body – all because I blazed my own trail.

You’ll never know what’s really out there until you look, just like you’ll never know what you’re truly capable of until you try. Connecting to spirit, connecting to your true self, becoming one with I – this is why you run.

The Benefits

Allow me to outline the benefits for you, now that you’ve read through them all. For the mind, running is about getting high so we can function. For the body, running is about being healthy so we can continue to function. For the soul, running is about having freedom so we want to continue to function. Through running, we automatically upgrade the three pillars of our existence with tricks and tools to help us progress along the journey that is life, and you don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s already happened. Magic.

All right my human, now you know why you should run. Maybe you even want to run too, that’s great. It’s time to learn how.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Running From My Problems – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (2/9)

Hello Commons, here is the first chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Chapter 1
Running From My Problems

It’s All In Your Head

Before we get into how to run, allow me to share a little bit about myself and show you how running has improved my life. After all, how can one possibly learn from someone if one doesn’t know who that someone is? I’m a human named Hunter Owens Wallace, and without sugarcoating it, I was born with a very big problem: the inclination to think that I have problems, and on top of that, the inclination to run from the problems I think I have until I actually start to have those problems, forcing me to face them and chase them off. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The only thing you really need to know about me is that I’m a natural born shaman, or in more societal terms, mildly schizophrenic; mildly in the sense that I saw a bona fide psychologist a couple times and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, but schizophrenic in the sense that my perception of the world seems to be vastly different than that of those around me to the point that I pick up on things that others do not. For example: you’re probably a little put off by my use of the word schizophrenic to describe myself. Good! That was my intention.

First off, let’s be real: schizophrenia is one of the more beautiful words in the English lexicon. I mean, just listen to it! Skitzo-frenny’uh; it doesn’t roll, it dances off the tongue. Secondly, get out of your comfort zone! Mental illness is NOT something to be ashamed of – in fact, when you act all apprehensively around a human with a mental illness, it just further isolates them, making their condition worse – and they do notice, whether you think they do or not. So uh, yeah, don’t do that. If love is the best medicine, then fear is the worst antagonizer. So be like Mother and love.

Clipping that tangent: at one point (a few months ago when I originally published this pamphlet) I thought I was literally schizophrenic, like, in diagnostic terms. I thought this because I experienced a whole lot of very inconvenient symptoms, both mental and physical, that I thought were a byproduct of having a schizophrenic brain. In reality, I’m pretty sure I just had neurological Lyme disease, an affliction that I’m also pretty sure I accidentally cured through very strange shamanic means (check out that appendix!).

 The aforementioned symptoms included, but were not limited to: insomnia, joint inflammation and pain, muscle spasms, trouble keeping balance, uncontrollable nerve firing resulting in a burning pain underneath my skin, emotional and physical numbness, exhaustion and fatigue, extreme paranoia, impaired memory, spontaneously blurred vision, constant nausea, trouble with eating human-sized portions of food, brain fog and difficulty with thinking, sensitivity to light, extreme irritability and explosive episodes of rage (especially directed towards family and friends, and anyone else whom I would associate with on an everyday basis), panic attacks, the swinging of my mood from maniacally happy to suicidally depressed, both auditory and visual hallucinations, and a whole mess of coleslaw to boot; all symptoms of neurological Lyme disease that, before some events similar to those detailed in the appendix, I learned to deal with by running like I stole something.

Living with a shaman brain isn’t all bad – I wasn’t even that miserable when I was trapped under my unrelenting barrage of neurodegenerative symptoms. In fact, now that the symptoms are working their way out of me, it’s pretty much all gift and no curse! Because of my crazy perspective, I naturally gravitate towards a very spiritual existence; I felt my third eye open up underneath my forehead, my dreams are always vividly lifelike and occasionally prophetic (as in I sometimes dream about things before they happen in the “real” world), I occasionally have mystical visions and out-of-body experiences when I sit lotus in meditation, I observe synchronicities constantly, and I’ve come close to astral projection with no formal training.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘It’s all in your head.’ Well so is the rest of reality, bucko; your brain could be in a jar inside an extraterrestrial’s spaceship right now, for all you know. I’m sorry the voices don’t want to talk to you, but that’s no reason to tell me that my reality’s false, as if you even understand why your reality is the way it is. Grow up.

Yes, not only am I a cheeky bastard, but I’m also a bona fide crazy in the good way human. So are you, probably; you just don’t realize it because your crazy is very similar to the crazy of the majority of the other humans out there. You know, living that 9 to 5 corporate crony-capitalistic lifestyle, accepting the government as a real and necessary thing, strictly abiding by the guidelines of political correctness and traditional cultural norms, chasing the dollar by any means necessary; in essence, living the rat race life in hopes that your masters will see that you spin the wheel better than all the other identical rats alongside you so you get promoted to a bigger cage. See, I’m entirely not about that lifestyle, it’s a little too Column A if you’re lacing my racing shoes here, but that’s… wait, wasn’t this supposed to be about running?

Yes, and like I said above, running was the only way that I could deal with the life-ruining Lyme symptoms I once felt. When I would go for a run every day and let my mind enter that special, dare I say sacred space that lies in between thoughts, I became balanced out. The mood swings became manageable. I could actually fall and stay asleep at night. I didn’t hate everyone around me for no reason. I got my blood pumping every day and healed some of the Lyme damage every day, even if the healing would be reversed by the next morning. I wasn’t going backwards anymore, it was closer to advancing two steps and retreating one; frustrating, sure, but compared to the experience of other humans who catch Lyme and spend months of their lives in bed because of it, well, I really couldn’t complain.

I kept moving because the running kept me going; it was magic, meaning science that we don’t quite understand yet. Well… that you don’t understand yet, because your crazy is still like everyone else’s, dominated by the fear of what might happen if you start living outside the box.

Today, now that I don’t constantly feel like my body is under attack by a foreign entity that I confused for Existence, I will admit that I run a bit less. I don’t need it to have a handle on my life anymore; it was my medicine in a time in which I had nowhere else to turn. That’s the magic part though – even though I don’t need it anymore, I still do it for one reason and one reason only: because I like to. Running is that special type of medicine that you can take even when you’re feeling good because it makes you feel better in a way that doesn’t lead to horrible physical or mental withdrawal symptoms. Plus, running keeps me grounded; I know Earth would miss me if I floated off into the spirit world for good.

And I would miss Earth! Anyway, we’re over a thousand words in. Let’s get on with the first chapter.

Grade School

My life, or this life I should say, began in a small town called Highland Lakes in northern New Jersey. I was born to a carpenter named Mikey and his wife Glauria, and I love them both very much. We had a dog and two cats back then and we lived in a lovely little abode with some spectacular neighbors that, to this day, we still keep in touch with. I went to a preschool called MySchool, I was friends with everyone, and life mostly consisted of eating, sleeping and playing outside (read: running around like a maniac); it was splendid. One day I was even blessed with a little brother, shout to Jarome.

But, with the extra human humaning around, our family was getting too big for our house, so we gave the dog to a family friend and moved across county lines to a special little town called Ringwood.

Pump the breaks, if you will, and allow me to give my adopted hometown some love. Ringwood, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a small mountain town in northern New Jersey with a ton of history that nobody knows about AND some of the best hiking you’ll never experience. Home to the Ringwood Iron Mines, which supplied iron ore to the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, Ringwood was also the chosen home of Robert Erskine, the legendary forgotten general. Besides being one of the closest associates and friends of George Washington himself, ol’ Rob held the title of Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Without Erskine and the secret-service-type work he did, we would have hands-down lost the war – Washington even went as far as planting an elm tree next to the man’s grave – the tree was later struck by lightning by the way – which you can (but probably aren’t going to) visit today at the illustrious Ringwood Manor state park.

Ringwood also houses the Monksville Reservoir, and on the other side of its dam, the Wanaque Reservoir, a valley-turned-lake with a government-funded security force armed with assault rifles that actively patrols the property. It’s also the focal point of many local conspiracy theorists – in the 1960s, the Wanaque was the site of one of the biggest mass UFO sightings in American history that was completely and totally covered up by our government, but that’s another story. Also, Erskine’s Ringwood Manor is haunted. Also, the geographic area in which Ringwood sits was once home to a Native American civilization of sorts, specifically of the Lenape variety, with artifacts found here dating as far back as 8,000 BC. According to the local lore, our Ringwood was recognized by those tribes not only as sacred ground, but as a hotbed of supernatural activity, likely due to the prevalence of naturally occurring magnetite and quartz crystals in the local mountains. To quote the martial artist Breddie Avo, “look into it.”

So anyway, we moved to this paranormal town because my dad’s family owned a large housing development here; we were not rich, but we lived in the rich part of town for the majority of my life and, yes, our house was on a hill, with a driveway that stretched approximately a tenth of a mile off of the main road. I didn’t live on the top of the hill, and the only reason I lived on that hill was because my dad built the house by himself with his bare hands, but I was definitely on the hill, alongside all the snooty neighbors with whom I never became acquainted. Don’t get me wrong, living there was great; we had a pool, there was a wonderful patch of woods with tons of cliffs to explore, and I would run up and down that hill countless times during my stay in that house. Not at first though; at first I only ran in the woods.

Being the new kid in town at the start of kindergarten, I never got acquainted with the locals in preschool and I wasn’t great at making friends; in hind sight it was probably because in Highland Lakes, for whatever reason, everybody approached me, and in Ringwood, because I had just shown up one day, I was supposed to approach everyone else. Oh, social norms and cues, I shall never truly understand you.

I did have one very close friend who lived on my street though, he and I would play in the woods together all the time – we even had our own made up ninja villages behind each of our houses. Now when I say play, I mean run around like maniacs – my parents both encouraged me from a very young age to get out in the woods, and I did just that. I’ve always felt more at home in the woods, there’s something about the open air and the trees that’s always made me feel free.

Despite my affair with the forest, over the course of the grade school years I would become infatuated with video games. This led me to spend less and less time in the woods, which also meant I would spend less time running. Looking back on those years, that’s probably why I became so sad and depressed, but more on that nonsense later.

Video games offered me an escape similarly to the way running did, but video games required less physical work, so naturally, I gravitated more towards them. The video game infatuation turned out to be lust-based rather than love-based though, and it blossomed into an actual drug-like addiction, accelerating to the point where I spent an entire summer inside sat in front of a computer playing Runescape with another friend I had made during third grade. Here’s to the glory days.

The summer of ‘Scape that marked said glory days was also the summer that a tick gave me the helldemon gift of Lyme disease. I was around ten years old at the time and, after a summer of antibiotics, my child’s brain believed the doctor when he said I was cured and immune forever. Ah, childhood innocence; thus began my ride on the Lyme sleigh down Symptom Hill that I wouldn’t fully appreciate until I hit a tree in my twenties and knocked myself back onto my feet. Not a victim, just supplying context.

As grade school approached high school, my two friends and I grew further and further apart. My first friend was out meeting new friends and having new experiences, which freaked me out (see symptoms: extreme paranoia), and I was generally just a really bad friend to the Runescape friend (see symptoms: extreme irritability) so he didn’t much want to be friends with me anymore. This was probably because of the Lyme symptoms paired with the more than healthy dosage of family drama going on in my life at the time, but that’s a bit off base and self-victimizing. My point is that regardless of the circumstances surrounding me during that part of my life, I chose to spend more and more of my time alone; whether I was playing video games alone or playing in the woods alone, I was alone with my thoughts a lot, decidedly adding to my list of “problems” rather than trying to actually do anything about them.

All that said, around seventh or eighth grade is when I really started running from these nonexistent problems. I forget how I learned about it, but I knew once high school came around there would be a track team. I was never big into sports, but I knew my parents would want me to do one, and while I was too short and scrawny for football and too uncoordinated for soccer, running I could do. So I ran up and back down my driveway almost every day. Straight up and down a hill. Torturing myself and loving it.

Okay, I undeniably hated it at the time, but no matter how much I wanted to stop, no matter how much pain I was in, my parents would always push me to keep going, to never give up. Mere words can’t describe how essential that extra pushing was for me, as I had not yet developed the block everything out and get shit done ability that I attained while running in high school.

It never occurred to me back then, but when I would be running up and down that driveway, I was so busy being in pain that I wasn’t over-thinking about all my non-problems. The effect was the same when I was sprinting through the woods, except instead of being in pain, I felt the rush of wind as I dodged between trees and leapt over rocks. Both running and video games offered me an escape from the world I was so needlessly afraid to be living in, but running had long-term benefits while playing video games was a short-term high. Had I been aware of the effect running had on me back then, I never would have picked up a video game for more than an hour a day again, I swear.

At some point before my class graduated eighth grade, we had something called an eighth-grade open house at the local high school, Unspecific Regional to be exact. That’s when my parents forced me to sign up for the cross country team. The thing was, I didn’t want to do cross country, I wanted to do track. I put up a big fight but the parents won in the end, and by the time eighth grade graduation came around, my entire summer leading up to high school was planned out for me. The running was about to get kicked up a notch.

High School

Cross country is a fall-season sport that is entirely composed of running long distances, meaning it is not fall track. If you call it track, it will be taken as an insult.

There are two races: the freshman race (usually around 2 miles) and the mighty 5K (3.11 miles). Practice starts in the beginning of the summer and the season ends during the first/second/third week of November, depending on how far your team makes it in the competition. If you didn’t know that, I don’t blame you – I didn’t know it until I joined up, or rather, was forced to join up. I didn’t want to join XC at the time, I just wanted to stay inside and play video games and let my thoughts drive me more insane. But that’s just the thing – it wasn’t a matter of want, it was a matter of need.

I had a few friends going into high school, but there was nobody I felt comfortable coming out of my shell around. This is not an ideal situation for any adolescent human, especially one with a budding case of shamanism, and you better believe I added it to the mental pile of catastrophic life-threatening problems I told myself I had.

Despite my best attempts at stopping her from making me go through with it, momma Glaur’ forced me to do cross country. She came with me to the first summer practice, even going as far as getting out of the car and walking me to the group. Except we couldn’t find them at first, so we walked around the entire perimeter of the track before locating the team at the designated meeting place: the flagpole.

Yeah, we couldn’t find the flagpole. The fifteen-foot-tall flagpole that wasn’t visually obstructed whatsoever.

During that summer I was one of a handful of freshmen on the team, everyone else was an upperclassman and boy did I let that intimidate me. The coach, let’s call him LT, was entering his first year of cross country coaching just like I was entering my first year of cross country running. He chose to only come every other day during the optional summer practices, to give the team a chance to bond without the presence of an adult figure, and he was not there on the first day. I can’t remember what we did for a workout, but I remember it being very awful, and by the time I got home I wanted to die. So, momma Glaur’ forced me back the next day and I rinsed and repeated, running more and more each day. At first I could hardly handle a mile, but before I knew it I was tackling four-mile workouts and not even finishing last. Self-improvement through hard work.

Over the course of the summer a few more kids showed up, and by the time school started we had a solid little group of freshmen. A week or so into the season we had some late joiners, two of which were soccer players who got booted from their team. These two would dutifully go on to become the best runners on the XC team; a cardinal rule of cross country is that soccer players evolve into the best runners.

There was additionally a runner on the team named Zak; he is easily my most memorable teammate and one of the more brilliant humans I know. I still keep in contact with him today; he’s living in his own apartment in North Carolina, he’s got a job that he enjoys and he’s well-known and well-liked by everybody in his city. Dude’s doing better than me, hah! Can’t say I’m even a little bit surprised – he’s a winner.

Zak’s whole family was into the running thing too; both his older brothers ran, and during that season I befriended his brother Tate; he was a senior on the team and I ran with him during most practices. He was a really big inspiration for me, I’m not sure he ever realized it but he kept me going during that first year, always pushing me to refrain from walking when I ran, even if I had to drop it down to a baby jog. Seems self-explanatory I know, but when you’re at work you break for lunch, right? Same thing – it just ruins your momentum and makes it harder to get back to pace. Now I’m not saying don’t take breaks at work, I’m just saying to not get yourself into a situation where you have to break in medias res because the law says so.

Prior to my graduating class’s entrance, Unspecific had never had an exceptionally strong cross country program, and like I said, my freshman year was also LT’s first year of coaching. Even though the odds were against us in every pace, stride and form, we made some noise that year and would continue to make noise during my sophomore year. Our ragtag band of knuckleheads even took first place at the Sophomore championship race, imagine that. Plus, I had a circle of humans who I could talk to at school, something that I never really had before. All because of running.

Around that time, I was getting my family into running as well. I would occasionally race poppa Mikey but he would always beat me… until, that is, I beat him. He probably let me win that day if we’re being totally honest here, but I didn’t realize it at the time, and that moment gave me such a bombastic boost of confidence that I wrote about it in a book almost a decade later. Momma Glaur’, on the other hand, really took to running. She started off small, maybe running for five minutes a day, but now she does a 5K at least once a month, usually twice or three times. I even got my brother into it; he was a freshman during my senior year and he stuck with the sport all the way through his senior year, which I thought was pretty awesome. He absolutely hated it, but he stuck with it and benefited from it. Another shout to Jarome.

Anyway, as time went on our little team got bigger and bigger. My class had improved exponentially and we had some really solid runners in the grade below me, one of which shared a last name with the coach. They weren’t related, of course, but we always made sure to give him flack for it anyway. We didn’t call the kid LT-y (in my head I pronounce that L’Thenny), and to this day I haven’t met another runner like him. He would skip practice all the time, never put any effort in at all, and constantly clown around, but yet he was one of the best on the team. The dude never tried and he kicked my ass up and down whatever course we were running every single race and practice. Oh well, such is life; I’m still waiting for him to teach me that magic trick.

Things were going okay for me at that point. I had a couple close friends and the cross country team was like a big family, we would go out and get dinner together pretty often and I didn’t feel totally alone all the time. I would even go out and run on my own, completely self-motivated. Say what you will about LT, and I certainly said some stupid things about him in the first edition of this book, but the man really did a lot to instill the team is family mindset that still sticks with me today. That was his best quality, without a doubt – he was the glue that bound all of us together and kept us together, and whether we realized it at the time or not, he was essential in our team becoming the family it became.

Outside of school I still spent the majority of my free time alone, but it wasn’t as bad as it used to be. In the past I would literally suffocate myself with a very real fear of the very unreal and overexaggerated problems I didn’t have, overthinking things to the point of lunacy. In high school, that didn’t happen nearly as much because I had running as an outlet. This is when I became aware that running from my “problems” was a pretty good in-the-moment solution. The running wouldn’t actually solve the problems, mind you, but it would put me in a mental state in which I could figure out how to solve at least some of the problems. There were humans I could run with, humans I could talk things out with, humans I could be competitive with in a friendly way – all these things were part of the magic.

 Some of the team, myself included, were also (varsity) members of the school’s illustrious Nature/Hiking Club, which is when my trail running infatuation really blossomed. Two teachers ran the club, a married couple with the last name Runnin. There was a certain group of us that would always be at the front of the hiking pack and Mister Runnin would have us run certain parts of the trails with him, and by run I mean sprint down mountains at breakneck speed whist performing sick parkour-esque moves that, by all rights, we should have filmed, preferably with a GoPro. It was some of the most fun I had back in high school, traversing mountains among a tribe of humans with the wind in my hair and not a care in the world. I still do that today, the only difference is I don’t fall down nearly as much. Practice does make perfect, after all.

By the time my senior year rolled around, our team was solid. We were all accustomed to working our asses off and getting results from it, so we kept on keeping on all the way until the end of the season. Finally, the day came for the final race: State Sectionals.

The end of the XC season is marked by three state-level meets, the first one being Sectionals. The top five teams and top ten individual runners at Sectionals would move on to State Groups, and the top five teams and top ten individual runners from the Groups meet would move on to the Meet of Champions. Unspecific, under the still-maturing coaching styles of LT, hadn’t yet made it to Groups ,and this was our best chance.

But, you know, life happened and we didn’t make it to Groups.

We almost had it too; we missed the cut off by 6 points, which is the equivalent of getting a 99 on a test that requires a 100 to pass. During our cooldown run after the race, the entire team wept. I don’t mean we cried, I mean we wept. I was four years varsity on that team and, aside from the overtly expensive varsity jacket that everyone else had, I had nothing to really show for it. And… that was it.

I did spring track for the first time my senior year and I got a varsity letter for it, but that wasn’t anything special. Graduation happened and my teammates and I all went our separate ways, some of us vowing never to run again (I was one of those). Looking back, I believe that vow had more to do with teenage angst than it did with the running, but oh well. Outside of running, not much of my high school career is very memorable, I really didn’t do much. I was like a ghost during the day, then when practice started, I would suddenly appear in gym clothes, enthusiastic and ready to go.

If it wasn’t for the running, I don’t know that I would have made it through high school alive. I’m positive that the depression/anxiety/self-loathing spawn of the Lyme demon that was possessing my body would have chewed me up and spit me out if I wasn’t able to constantly pace one step ahead of it, BUT, it didn’t. I ran and I thrived, so who cares?

Even though I was fairly happy during my high school years, I had this thought in the back of my mind that I was actually terribly depressed. I really wasn’t, but in my mind I was, so… I guess I was, in a crazy in the bad way sort of way. After high school ended though, I entered into what I fondly remember as real life, also known as the dark ages. Buckle up, hypothetical reader. Things are about to take a turn.

Real Life

This is the part where, in the first edition of this pamphlet, I disrespectfully and immaturely tore down the random man who dedicated four years of his life to coaching the cross country team I was part of (not my team, but the team I was part of); I hardly hid his true identity behind a very thin veil in an attempt to get a few laughs from a few specific humans. The truth of the matter is, after wasting three years of my life trying to coach with him and change his ways without ever being asked to do so, I felt like I got burned, and I wanted to get back at him somehow. I felt as though he took “the one thing that I enjoyed in life” (I hope you feel the sarcasm I’ve enchanted into the words between those quotes) away from me, so in an evil, selfish way, I tried to take something from him – I used that man as an excuse to drive myself to the pettiest state of being that I’ve ever found myself wallowing in, a state I dramatically regret allowing myself to enter.

The first edition wasn’t terrible, it just came off like a jealous pre-teen wrote it, and looking back, I realized I had been something of an asswipe towards the old coach. Just like I was to the majority of the humans whom I interacted with when I attended high school, yikes. Hindsight is 20/20, he says with glasses on the back of his head. Anyway, in order to keep things moving, let’s just say that my clouded perception of my overall high school experience led me to believe that running was the source of my issues and, after graduating, I stopped cold turkey.

Up until that point in my life I had been a very, shall we say, physically oriented human being. No religious beliefs to speak of, no real spiritual practices, zero contact with my shamanic roots I didn’t even know I had. One day though, my college friend Mike and I stumbled upon a video talking about meditation, the hidden third eye, and all the benefits that come with sitting cross legged and breathing deep for x minutes each day. He didn’t get too much into the mysticism or the meditation, but I certainly dove down the rabbit hole and picked up the habit. It seems idiotic to claim that the benefits spawning from meditation are as bountiful as those that come from running, but uh… I said it, so. Blah. Plus, after only a few months of sitting for twenty minutes out of the day every day, I felt my third eye open.

I don’t mean that metaphorically; no, I literally felt an eyeball, lid and all, open up underneath my forehead. Now I’m not saying everything you know about the human body is wrong, but uh… you explain the shit. Oh, and to all those thinking it: yes, I was sober when it happened. I don’t even do any drugs, gOsH. One could say it was an eye-opening experience; when you’re finished retching over that pun, you can continue.

After that weird stuff that I love to call mystical started happening to me, my life changed a little bit. I saw the world around me, or rather, the watery rock floating in a void of meaningful nothingness that I happen to inhabit, in a vastly different light. I became more honest and open about my feelings (perhaps to a fault), I saw myself as a healer that was put here to expose the darkness and fix those who didn’t ask to be fixed, and I just loved to tell all the other humans about the eye that I felt open up underneath my forehead and why that meant I was special.

Needless to say, some chose to distance themselves from me, fearing that I had actually lost my mind and become one of those holier than thou types. In the past I was a self-proclaimed deletist, that is to say, when a relationship started to go sour, I would sooner burn the dilapidated bridge than try to repair it. Now that I’ve realized that everyone, human or otherwise, is capable of activating their pineal gland and opening their third eye and that I’m no more special than any other of my fellow humans are, the majority of these bridges have regrettably remained torched. Fortunately, the bridge between my college friend and I hasn’t been reduced to a smoking pile of cinders, but some of my friendships have. I say all that to share the following lesson that I’ve learned, one of the most important lessons there is to learn: no matter how mad the other humans make you, no matter how far you feel like they’re pushing you away, removing them from your life is not the right answer. It’ll just leave you alone, angry, and with nobody to run with. I know, you didn’t ask, but what can I say? I’m a shaman, I like to help others heal and learn, especially when they can learn from my mistakes.

ALLLLLL RIGHTY! With all that aside, after I started community college I had to get a job, so my dad called a local warehouse that an associate of my grandfather’s owned and asked if they needed work. There was one interview, no resume required, and I was in – crony capitalism at its finest.

My warehouse job was a gig that required the handling of smelly fragrance ingredients that would come in packages weighing anywhere from half a pound (stored in bottles) to five hundred pounds (stored in fifty-five-gallon steel drums). I didn’t mention this earlier but I was born with a slightly crooked hip and therefore a slightly bent spine – allowing myself to work in the warehouse for as long as I did with this skeletal stuff on top of the Lyme shit caused me a lot of pain, discomfort, and nerve-pinchey issues. I still have back pain and numbness/burning to this day; it’s not severe, but on the days it approaches severity, I go out for a run and come back feeling tip-top. I tell ya, it’s some of the best medicine that money doesn’t have to buy.

During this time, I was working anywhere from twenty to thirty hours a week while also going to school full-time and volunteering a couple days every week at a local animal shelter. I had spread myself far too thin and it was hell, a hell that smelled like a combination of potpourri and dog piss.

So a hell that smelled entirely of dog piss.

I was combining daily meditation and the occasional run to get me through the week, but I was still depressed, and not the nonsensical high school student depressed but the actual, unrelenting suicidal urges kind of depressed. I got into self-harming a little bit prior to the meditation and the suicidal thoughts were all too real, but once I established a solid meditation practice the cutting dribbled off and the thoughts became more under control.

It wasn’t long before I convinced myself to start running again, and things started working out for me again once I did. I was making money, I had good friends with whom I spent great times, it was wonderful. Then I graduated from Haskell University (shout to the four humans who get that joke) and moved on up to “real” college; that’s when things took another turn.

I kept running and kept meditating, but college bugged me right out. The pressure I put on myself to be perfect in an atmosphere that demanded learning from mistakes made me want to put my head through a roof, the social anxiety of explaining to all the dormers that I drove a half hour just to leave right after my classes ended ate me alive, and… well, I just wasn’t a happy camper in general.

With such a hectic schedule, time management and focus were nothing short of imperative to my success at this point in my life. However, I didn’t have much of either of these things because I totally stopped running, meaning I stopped working out my mental muscles and they got smol. As time went on, I started to experience mental breakdowns in which I would emotionally shut down for no real reason and start hysterically screaming and crying, I even punched a few holes in my bedroom wall. These explosive episodes of rage happened once in a blue moon at first, then roughly every two weeks, then at least once every week, then it escalated to the point where I would slip into a shamanic/Lymey rage every single day simply because I couldn’t deal with the way I was living my life. I would skip classes every week because I was so physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from just living. I even switched my major from psychology to business, but that only made things worse. Not all those who wander are lost, but I sure as hell was.

After a while I realized that I wasn’t going to college for myself, I was only going because my parents wanted me to have that piece of diplomatic paper. I didn’t want anything to do with college, nothing I was studying was even remotely related to what I needed to proceed in life; I felt like I was scamming myself, and for what? The approval of my parents that I already had? No more – one day, I withdrew from all my classes and officially dropped out of college. It was the happiest day of my life.

In the months that followed, my parents weren’t nearly as happy with my decision as I was. I constantly felt paranoid and stressed and although I continued to meditate daily, it wasn’t working like it used to. I would just sit at home all day playing video games and not running and wishing my life was better, all the while doing nothing to better it. And I wasn’t running, if I didn’t mention that. This was around April of 2017, and a few months of this lifestyle led me to… well, it led me to my death.

Hypothetical reader, this is the part where I tell you about something that happened to me which can only be described as anomalous. I don’t expect you to believe me, nor do I care if you don’t, but it is the truth: when I stopped running from my problems, I accidentally killed myself. I don’t mean this figuratively either; I mean I was hanging out with a couple friends and, in a fit of laughter, I broke a piece of my skull on the corner of a metal bed frame and felt it stab into the side of my brain.

It was one of those things where you hurt yourself but you don’t feel it at first because of shock or the endorphins or whatever, kind of like the publishing of the first edition of this book, but essentially what happened went as follows: my friends and I spent the day in the woods, wandering around and enjoying nature like a proper band of hippies. When the sun started to set, we went back to our friend’s house and listened to music for a while, then we started watching TV. Ten or fifteen minutes into the TV, something really funny happened and I swung my head down in laughter, colliding with the bed frame.

I felt fine for a few minutes, but then I noticed my vision doubling and I couldn’t hear anything besides a high-pitched ringing, which led me to realize that something bad may have happened. I gingerly felt around on the left side of my head right above my ear, where an immense amount of pain was radiating from, and that’s when I felt my skull cave in.

I literally felt a plate of bone collapse inward on the side of my head and simultaneously pop out on the top, coupled with a pain equivalent to the worst migraine you’ve ever had combined with the feeling of being punted head-first into a fucking woodchipper by an upside-down soccer cleat.

In the moment I was 100% sure I was going to die, and I felt strangely at peace with it. I was also beginning to fade into black, so, not wanting to freak out my friends, I decided to go quietly into that great transition; I silently clicked the bone back into place and then fell forward, passing out.

And then it was dark. It was dark for a very, very long time.

Then I woke up on my back, skin pale and drenched in sweat. According to my friends I had went into convulsions for a few seconds too, but I don’t remember that part. All I know for sure is when I hit my head and felt my skull cave in and I passed out, we were watching TV, and when I came to, we were still listening to the music – meaning we hadn’t started watching the television yet – and my skull was solid. I had a bit of a headache when I came to, but otherwise, I felt okay. I didn’t feel the need to call an ambulance or anything, my friends consoled me and took care of me; all in all, the rest of the night (and my life in general) went on as if nothing happened.

Except for the fact that everything is very fuzzy after that all happened; the details are hard to remember, so I’ll just fill in the blanks as if I remember everything clearly, unless I can’t, in which case I will make postulations until the cows come home.

About six months later, a day or two after Christmas, I sat down to do some coloring in a trippy illustration book that Mother gave me when I suddenly felt something burst inside of my head in the exact spot where I had cracked it that fateful night. My body started tingling and trembling, I became extremely lightheaded and both my vision and hearing started to dissipate. I tried getting up and walking around a bit, but I hardly got halfway down the hall before I fell down to my hands and knees, unable to hold myself upright. This was the second time in less than a year that I thought I was going to die. Ugh, shaman problems.

So what did I do? I went outside and ran ten miles.

JUST KIDDING lol, could you imagine? No, I crawled back into my bedroom, sat myself in a chair, did some very deep breathing and prepared myself yet again to go quietly into that great transition. Surprisingly I started to feel better for a moment and, just as the hope that I would be okay sparked inside me, the fading intensified beyond my control. It was just like the cave-in at my friend’s house, I simply drifted away.

But this time, it was white. It was white for a very, very long time.

Then I woke up, again, skin pale and covered in sweat, but this time without any friends to make sure I was okay.

Later on that day I went to a hospital and when I told the doctorman what had happened, he rolled his eyes at me and ordered a tox screen, suspecting I was a dumb kid who had smoked some bad drugs or something. Plot twist: I didn’t, and the doctor was dumbfounded as to why I felt the burst. And that was that. It’s a good thing I had insurance at the time, otherwise I would have never been able to afford to confuse the doctor and his fancy wall full of framed medical degrees!

A week or so later I had an MRI done and I got it checked out by my normal doctor and a neurologist, both of which found nothing abnormal about my head. Much to my own disbelief I was okay; I was alive and in no immediate danger of losing that status. I’m okay now Mother, the doctors told me so.

But I’ve gotten way off track; I didn’t even mention the part where I went back to coach cross country at my high school! In 2016 I signed on as a volunteer assistant coach, working side-by-side with LT to turn outcasts into athletes. Honestly that first year was incredible, I genuinely enjoyed working with him and the kids & I made a lot of progress. It was also one of the major reasons I started running again; I would run with the kids at practice and, according to them, my doing that actually motivated them to try their hardest and keep at it. Method to the madness.

The next season was preceded by the head injury, which drastically altered my mood, mental state, and behavior in ways that everyone besides me was aware of. I don’t coach anymore, so I assume things didn’t go quite as well that season, and the season after was probably more of the same, so at some point I guess I left the coaching gig behind. I miss it, but presumably, I did what had to be done.

Since then I’ve slowly but surely replaced running with writing as my main hobby, in other words, my main way of getting high. I still run, usually on the trails and not on the road, but now that I’m capable of staying relatively sane without constantly beating my body against the forces of the Universe, I don’t do it nearly as much as I used to.

Running has also immensely helped me along the path of recovering from the head injury and the Lyme-related stuff by keeping me moving, keeping my blood flowing and keeping me positive. Positivity is key in overcoming any injury, ask anyone who’s been through trauma; without a positive state of mind, nothing you do will work. Plus, if you make running part of your recovery, you get the exercise too! Win-win.

But yeah, that’s where I’m at. I was born a crazy dude who loves to run and I’ve been crazy and running ever since, and now I even write books! A crazy running writer, call that a triple threat!

I’ve battled boredom, loneliness, outcastedness, anxiety, depression, lite psychosis, a neurodegenerative disease, and death itself, and I bested all of them, all because of running. As it turns out, life is hard work! And so is running! But through running, I’ve learned how to persevere and push through the nonsense until I’m drenched in the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s never let me down in the past and I doubt it will let me down in the future.

But enough about me, this book was written for you. To run is to open the doorway to bettering your life, I hope that much is clear thus far. Running isn’t easy and I will fully explain how to do it, but not quite yet.

I’ve shown you why I run, so next I must explain to you why you should run.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Introduction – Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| (1/9)

Hello Commons, here is the introduction chapter of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition|, a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Be The Deer

Running: the act of beating your body against the forces of the Universe as hard as you can for as long as you can. In other words, self-torture.

I know exactly what you’re thinking: ‘I hate running.’ Obviously. Everyone hates running, it’s a culmination of the three major things humans can’t stand doing: working hard, improving, and seeing themselves improve over time by working hard. It sounds weird, but… it’s true, isn’t it? Deep within yourself you know it’s true, and even if you don’t know it yet, I know it for you, and I’ve officially given you the heads up.

How do I know? Because I’m the exact same way, duh. Working hard sucks. Not only do you have to do things, but you have to do them for extended periods of time. Honestly, who has the energy for that? Definitely not you, especially when you work a full-time job, putting yourself through the motions for forty-plus hours a week for that paycheck that, unless you’re self-employed, isn’t even worth it.

“Big words from a guy who doesn’t have a job,” says you, a human who has a job.

Sorry buddy, but that paycheck can’t be worth it, simply because you didn’t earn it. Even if you feel like you earned it, you really didn’t… someone else did, and they gave it to you for repeatedly performing some remedial task for them. In other words, you earned their paycheck and they gave you a disproportionate amount of it for the part of their work that you did.

In realizing this, your feelings of self-sufficiency under somebody who’s already made it are quickly snuffed out by self-loathing because you also realize something terrifying: you don’t want to work hard on you, because that involves getting to know who you are. Yikes, self-awareness.

In every moment, you have a choice to make, and there are really only two options. The first: work hard for someone else; literally cheat the system of life itself for a measly portion of that human’s paycheck to cover the needs of your chosen lifestyle. Don’t improve your own life, just improve someone else’s life and get an allowance for doing it; bend over backwards, torture yourself by carrying out their will, and after you’re done doing what they tell you to do, if you have any energy left over at all, carry out your own will with the scraps they’ve spared you. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

No? Sounds terrible? Well consider yourself woke, then.

You see, even if you already chose the first option, it’s not too late to change your mind. It’s never too late to choose option two, whether you’re young or old, smart or stupid, rich or poor, worthy or undeserving, whatever. That second option is always there, dangling right above your head just waiting to be snatched – all you have to do is snatch it.

What is this mystical second option, then? To work hard for yourself, of course! Bend over backwards for you, torture yourself by working hard, just like you always did before, but do it for your own benefit, carry out your own will. Put your energy into your own life instead of someone else’s.

That’s not what you were hoping I was going to say, was it? You were hoping for some get-rich-quick scheme that hasn’t already been exploited by every other human of Earth. Nope; sorry hypothetical reader, but you must work hard. So now the problem becomes that you don’t want to work hard, which is a heckin’ big problem.

Worry not, as I have a solution for this problem too. You know what it is? A magical three-letter mouth noise that can make all your problems go away. You ready? Say it with me, say it out loud as you read it off the page: RUN. Yes, get out there and work that hairless ape body that god herself gave you! It’s the easiest way to learn how to work hard, I promise you, and evolutionarily speaking, you’re built for it.

The way our bodies are shaped, our muscles distributed, the way we automatically cool ourselves by leaking when we get hot – let’s face facts, it may suck but humans are built for hard work. And that’s mighty convenient because, as a human, one has to work. Life is work for a human because humans are the managers of this planet, plain and simple. Just look at the words: human, manager, hu(man)ager. You think that’s a coincidence? Come on.

Oh, you don’t believe me? Okay, let’s use the deer as an example. I live in the woods and there are enough deer here to feed every last starving human living on this planet. We have a ton of the hooved fiends and they have nothing better to do than eat, breed and avoid their natural predators. That’s their job and they’re so good at it that, if they go unchecked, they will happily decimate the entire forest. For sport.

Why would the decimation of the forest be bad? Because the forest is a city of plants and plants make oxygen, which is necessary for humans to human. So what do we do when the combined forces of the wolves, coyotes, bears, bobcats, mountain lions, wild dogs, wolverines, released exotic pets, the remaining descendants from Jungle Habitat and literally every other species of deciduous carnivore can’t handle the deer population? We, the managers of this planet, get our bows and arrows (or guns for those who just can’t hang with the big dogs), we go into the woods, and we hunt. Then, we feast. This is what we’ve done for hundreds of thousands of years… I think; regardless of chronological specificities, that’s what humans have done ever since the invention of the bow and arrow by some cave-dweller who probably thought the world was flat, if it even had a concept of the world at all. The method is tried and true.

“What did we do before the bow and arrow?” I can sense you asking. Well, it’s simple: we hunted with spears. “And how, pray tell, did a human ever manage to gank a deer with a spear?” Again, simple: we ran. We chased those prancing bastards down and we stuck ’em good.

“But Hunter!” I can sense you screeching, hardly able to handle the truth. “A human being can’t outrun a deer, that’s poppycock!”

Well first of all, I like your use of the word poppycock. Second of all, you’re right, and that’s just fine. We don’t have to outrun them.

The thing we humans have that separates us from other species is godhood patience, or in running terms, endurance. Sure, a deer can effortlessly outrun us in the short term, most things can. But after a while, that deer is going to get tired, and it’s going to slow down to rest; meanwhile, we’re still trotting along, just waiting until we run up on that sloppy jalopy and BAM, the tribe eats well tonight.

Don’t you want to eat well tonight? No? Well that’s just fine. Throw this book down if you don’t like what it says. Feed it to a paper shredder. Douse it in gasoline, carry it up a mountain and ritualistically burn it to ashes underneath a full moon. In other words, be the deer. What you do doesn’t make a detached toenail of a difference to me, especially because if your candied ass is too afraid to run, it definitely won’t be climbing any mountains. And I don’t have time for humans who refuse to climb mountains – I’m way too busy looking at the view.

“Wait!” I hear you holler, sweat pouring from your brow. “Fine. I want to work hard for myself, but do I really have to run? Like, really?”

Look, there’s a method to my madness. If you like what this book is saying thus far, if you’ve allowed yourself to be captivated by the latent primal urges to eat that deer that I’ve awoken within you, then by all means keep reading. I’m out to help you improve your life, to teach you how to torture yourself for your own benefit. By the end of it, who knows? You might even learn to enjoy the torture.

After this quick aside, that is. Hi there, welcome to |The Unvictimized Edition| of Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It! In the very short time between the publishing of the first edition of this little pamphlet and now, my life has changed dramatically (from an internal perspective) and I’ve been given time to do a bit of self-reflection. That said, the rest of this book has been somewhat heavily edited in an attempt to raise the vibes, so to speak. I’m still teaching you how to run, don’t get it twisted; it’s just going to be done in a way that doesn’t paint me as a lame-ass victim to my own life. Why? Because nobody wants to read a self-appointed “victim” whining about why he thinks he’s a victim.

Plus, I’m uncensoring the fuck out of the expletives. So, like… if that bothers you, well, you know what you can do; you’re probably not ready to read this anyway.

SO! Without any further ado! Ladies, gentlemen, aliens extraterrestrials everywhere: you’re ‘boutta learn how to run.

As I said above, Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It |The Unvictimized Edition| is a satirical self-help book about running that’s more about its author than anything else. It is also the first book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

Running is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

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

If you like Running and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~