Saturday, December 4, 2010

Figuring Myself Out By Running (I Thought I Was Dying)

[Added 3 hours after publishing this post - I kind of hate this entry.  While drawing and writing this, I was slightly hungover and completely exhausted from going to the holiday stroll and getting a little too jolly for my own good last night.  Lesson learned, don't drink just to stay warm!  (The more you know)

I love running so much that it very nearly killed me.  Ooh joy!

Grab yourself some hot coco, kids, because Uncle Matt is going to tell you the magical tale of how I nearly froze to death while running outside in the winter.  (Warning, this story contains gratuitous amounts of hyperbole.)

Figuring Myself Out Is Killing Me
By: Matt
Age: 23 
(IQ and Dignity - Nonexistent)

Modern living is dangerously safe, painfully comfortable, and frustratingly simple; so I like to push my limits just to see how far I can go and how much I can handle.

 One way I do this is by running obscenely far distances with no cellphone and just enough money to buy Gatorade along the way.

 While running an independent marathon (26.6 Miles) the weather changed dramatically when I was about 6 miles away from my house and only 18 miles into the run.  I only had my running shoes, regular adidas shorts and regular under armor shirt (not the kind that keeps you warm, but the thin kind that keeps sweat off the skin) basically this means I was naked and soaked in sweat from the waist down as the temperature plummeted from 70 to 30.

I could spend my post-college-job-hunting period of unemployment sitting safely at home on the couch waiting for responses from job applications.  I could relax with all the comforts, luxuries and safety that mankind has spent thousands of years progressing toward obtaining...but that's boring.

There's no real struggles in every day life unless you want them.  We don't have to hunt for our food, we don't have to make anything by hand nor do we have to repair anything ourselves.  Every service imaginable is just one phone call away and all of this makes me feel soft.

I ended up seeking refuge in a public restroom at the riverfront for a while.  The hand driers were excellent for thawing out my hands and sweat soaked hair and shorts.

When/If society crumbles for any of the number of reasons that The History Channel and Discover Channel say that it could, I don't want to die due to my inability to fend for myself.  When something horrible happens I like knowing that I have more options than just curling into a ball and crying for help.

I find out a lot about myself when I'm completely outside my comfort zone and sometimes the things I learn aren't too great.

I'm normally extremely environmentally conscious, I recycle everything that can be, I walk or use my scooter instead of my car whenever possible, and I never leave anything turned on or plugged in unless I am actually using it.

However, when I thought I was freezing to death after running 18 miles, I wanted global warming more than anything in the world.  I regretted every recycled can, every trip I took that didn't involve burning gas, and I definitely regretted downsizing my vehicle from a massive pick-up truck to a tiny car.  I even regretted losing weight, because when I was fat I was never cold.

I grew up in Iowa and have basically never traveled.  The only climate I know is this one.  It gets hot as hell in the summer and insanely cold in the winter.  I used to be okay with this because when I had an extra 85 pounds to keep me warm, winter wasn't a painful experience and during the summer I could just hide out in the air conditioning.

Because I was never in a situation where I thought I might actually die due to the weather, I had no idea that I was capable of feeling like this.  

My adrenaline addiction and constant desire to push my limits has resulted in the following:

1.  I pissed blood for two days due to drinking protein shakes with creatine in them because I ran so much that my sweating and the contents of the shake dried out my bladder, thus causing the walls to rub as I ran...then my bladder kept filling up with my own blood.  (It's called Runners Hematuria, look it up, it's nasty and painful.)

2.  From August till October I had an insane case of Milaria on both my arms from using a cheap iPod armband when running long distance everyday.  I didn't give my skin time to recover from the massive heat rash the arm band caused and over time it got worse and worse until my skin was literally starting to rot off my arms. 

3.  I got lost when running out in the country, I had no glasses, no cellphone, no money or water.  I had no idea where I was because I thought I was on route for making a big loop around  the residential section of northern Iowa City.  Instead, I ended up at Coralville Lake.

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So what has pushing my limits taught me about who I really am as a person?

1. I don't care too much about the environment during the winter
2. I have a terrible sense of direction
3. I am kind of stupid

It's a miracle I haven't died from trying to figure myself out.

On the plus side, all of this has made my ass look fantastic in jeans.  (It is good to have priorities.)  

The End :) 


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I got my English degree and mountain of student loan debt from the University of Iowa. I like boo berry cereal, martial arts, running and cats.
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