If last week compared to this week has taught us anything, 60-degree days during the typically frigid Pennsylvania winter beg for you to take advantage of the unseasonably nice weather. Foolishly, you take this to mean lacing up your sneakers for a run exploring Dear Old State. As you pass the IT Bridge, Old Main, and Beaver Stadium, all of those good intentions slowly fade away when the actual horror of running reveals itself.
The First Few Steps:
You’ve been told through some faulty source that running could be relaxing. It only takes a few minutes for you to realize you’ve been lying to yourself. However, being the selfie-and-social-media-obsessed-millennial you are, there’s still hope of making it to Beaver Stadium, where you can take some artsy Insta-worthy picture with a caption about your successful run.
The First Mile:
Not much later, you begin to wonder when your running app will tell you that you’ve completed your first mile. Patiently, you await the robotic female voice informing you of “One. Mile. Completed.” That patient phase lasts a whopping thirty seconds before you realize running makes time move at a maddeningly slow pace (not much different from your running pace). When you’re finally informed of your mile status, you feel accomplished for a few seconds before coming to the crushing realization that you’ve only run one mile.
Considering a Break:
You’re amazed by the boundless opportunities Penn State has given you to sit down and say “screw this.” Every few steps, you discover another bench. The Pattee Mall, Hintz Alumni Gardens, Atherton Hall, and countless other places on your route are littered with seating under shady trees. How are you supposed to run when Penn State is practically begging you to sit? Even tiny patches of grass are welcoming, not to mention the temptations that are the Old Main and HUB lawns. As you run past these two Penn State landmarks, you find yourself hopelessly distracted by the people lying in the grass. Why aren’t you one of them? What possessed you to take advantage of nice weather by running, of all things?
They’re everywhere: in front of Berkey Creamery, walking down Pollock, playing in the Alumni Gardens. You see one in front of you from a distance, and, as you approach, finally your run has purpose. The closer you get, the more adorable that dog looks. Stopping to pet the dog not only seems like a great idea no matter the circumstance, but it would double as a break from running. You remember hearing somewhere that petting dogs benefits your health, so really, isn’t this just as good for you as running? When you inevitably stop to appreciate the dog, you experience the happiest moment of your run, followed by the devastating reality that you’re still not finished.
You dug your own grave when you decided to run downhill, neglecting to think of the lovely uphill climb awaiting you later on. Whether it’s Shortlidge, Fraser, Burrowes, or Bigler, it’s time to walk uphill. All the while, you mentally justify your decision to take a break.
It comes to your attention that walking would also be a perfectly fine way to spend your time outside, but no, you, in your infinite wisdom, chose running. There’s a very good chance that your walking will persist after the hill, and this run will become a glorified walk. “Wow,” you say to yourself, “I was so athletic today and it wasn’t even that bad.” For a second, you may foolishly consider running on a regular basis, but really isn’t walking to class more than enough exercise?
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