Clears Me Out

Part of why I run is I’m convinced that it staves off illness.

(When’s the last time you saw “staves” used in a sentence? You don’t have to fake it; I know you’re impressed. You know, “staves” has a fascinating etymology and original meaning, but I digress…)

When I run, I typically listen to podcasts of Christian preachers. I find that raising my heart rate and body temperature not only helps clear my head, but it also makes me much more susceptible to programming and brainwashing. I think the term “brainwashing” has been labeled unfairly as a bad thing, with negative connotations attached that it also doesn’t deserve. I like to think of it as a positive, like that Bible verse that says we should be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” That renewal is brainwashing in the best sense. But that’s a whole other sidebar. All I want to say right now is that I think better after a good run.

But the number one reason I run is that it seems to pound out all of the phlegm and other nasty particles that are just hanging around in my body. A good friend of mine who was more of a weightlifter than a runner once said to me, “Yeah—it pounds all that sinus congestion right down into your chest. Hope you like pneumonia.” Of course I don’t. Certainly not as much as I know he likes steroids. (But don’t tell him I said that.)

When I’m running, I cough up all sorts of random bits and pieces. I’ve coughed up some string, most of a hot dog, a lost cell phone, and once even a live kitten. The trick when you’re dispensing detritus is to be certain you account for the wind. Six miles is a long way to go with a jellyfish trailing saliva sloshing inside your ear canal.

My weightlifting buddy’s not the only person I know who prefers muscle over cardio. A lot of guys would rather be buff than fast, I guess because they think it would be more useful in a fistfight. My pastor, for example, a super-nice guy with beguiling handsomeness, can do something like 400 push-ups. But before he’s even on number 7, I could be half a mile away from that fight.

As far as I’m concerned, running is a far more practical and therefore critical survival skill. I don’t think a Bengal tiger would be the least bit impressed with how big Craig’s biceps are, except that I’ve heard before that they’re tasty, like filet mignon. (I don’t mean his specifically, I just mean biceps in general.) But it’s like that old saying: “I don’t have to outrun the bear…I only have to outrun you.”

Once when Craig was staving off the flu (okay, I’m a big enough man to admit that I was overreaching on that one)—pounding down all kinds of anti-cold remedies, I tried to convince him how great running is to clear you out. He didn’t seem to take it as the helpful advice I intended. He seemed more—I don’t know—mad, I guess. Which is funny, because that’s probably one of maybe 10 times since I’ve known him that I’ve offered him unsolicited advice. He’s got no problem telling me what I should do, week after week after week. I guess I like the punishment. Maybe that’s the real reason I like running so much.

Do you like to run? Are you cardio or weights, or both? What is it you like about the kind of exercise you prefer? Have you ever tasted a bicep? If so, how was it?

3 Responses to “Clears Me Out”

  1. Cari August 23, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I thought you were gonna talk about your pores being cleansed from the buckets of sweat that flowed through them…to which I was going to heartily agree! But you didn’t so nevermind. I’ve only been running for a few months, but I’ve NEVER coughed up anything–maybe I’m not doing it right.

  2. Brannon August 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Of course, provides all commentary without warranty to its effectiveness. Individual results will vary. The sweating thing is true, too. But I decided not to dwell on that aspect. That would be gross. :)

  3. Dona Dickens August 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    i prefer running to lifting (ever since Damian ripped off one of my arms forcing me to lift … uh, the bar, i think. what is that? like 25 lbs?)

    and, as much as i hate to admit it, i have the phlegm thing, too. maybe it’s specific to our family and we shouldn’t talk about it with the general running public.

    just a thought …

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