The symptoms are unmistakable. You’ve forgotten your kids’ names. The family dog hates your guts. And you’re getting bad vibes from that person in the kitchen who you suspect you may have married at some point.
I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but you’ve got an advanced case of Runner’s Guilt. It’s a common affliction at this time of year, what with 20-mile long runs pre-empting our family responsibilities.
Happily, there’s a simple treatment for this scourge. It’s called THINKING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE FOR A CHANGE!
Here’s what you do. First, draw up a list of the people in your life who are suffering. Any kind of ailment will do – a layoff, hip replacement, a bad break-up, etc. Enter the addresses of these afflicted souls into Google Maps. Plot a course that equals your training distance, then run!
Note: while it’s important to stop and say hello to each of these afflicted friends, try to avoid prolonged conversations. Yes, you’re on a charitable mission, but it’s equally important to keep your heart rate elevated. By all means, give your friends a supportive hug, but don’t stop running for more than two or three minutes.
One other thing – and this part is crucial – you must impart a small gift to each of your friends.
The ideal gift is small and light; something that’s easy to carry during your run. Gift certificates are perfect. So are thumb drives full of music. Packets of heirloom seeds will delight the green thumbs among your friends.
Then again, if you’re feeling especially generous, you can always deliver jars of Russian Cabbage Borscht.
A cautionary note: 1500 millilitres of Russian Cabbage Borscht weighs just over six pounds. Three Mason jars full, swaddled in a bath towel and crammed tightly into a running backpack, weigh roughly the same as 8 litres of milk.
How do I know this? I know this because I delivered that precise volume to a number of friends during a recent 35-mile training run (I’m prepping for a 100-miler). Sounds insane, I know. But to my credit, I planned the run so that I’d unload the first jar fairly early in the run. That is to say, at mile 19.
“It smells a bit like armpit,” my friend Farhad said, unscrewing the lid and taking a sniff. (Farhad’s recovering from a nasty case of Shingles.)
“It’s better when you heat it up,” I said.
I’m not really sure what I was thinking with the borscht. Borscht is a healing food; full of every colourful vegetable known to humankind. Vanity also played a role, no doubt. For years, Russian Cabbage Borscht has been my “thing.” I make it with lots of sour cream and dill. Blend it until it’s velvet.
Farhad dipped in a finger and took a taste. “It tastes like dirt. Really good dirt.”