Running My Mouth

About 5ks, half-marathons, and possibly life in general.


I have seen The Atlantic article, “Everyone You Know Really Did Just Get Engaged“, get shared approximately 8,000 times in the last minute on Facebook. With my below-average eyesight and medium-range pattern recognition skills, I also saw that many people did put a ring on it between November twenty-something and January-now. And I congratulate those people. But there is something far more prevalent and alarming than engagements permeating social news feeds that I feel I must address:

When the fuck did everyone I know suddenly becoming professional runners?

It starts out innocently enough with the 5k, a race that spans 3.1 miles. But the problem is that it’s a gateway drug that gets shared far more often than the Semi-Random Guy You Went to School With who got engaged to the Friend You Didn’t Know Even Knew Said Semi-Random Guy.

After my Facebook friends got bit by the 5k bug, the color runs followed. (That’s an actual type of race.) Apparently, there’s a variety of other themes to be had while propelling oneself forward via sneakered foot, and they too sound like 1950s dance moves (like the Turkey Trot, for example). Then after all “fun runs” have been completed — which are, by the way, two words that should never hold hands and yet they continue to do so — people begin to look toward half marathons.

I understand the concept here. You’ve just completed a fantastic goal, one that manifested through a resolution, an encouraging friend, or an extremely worthy cause for which you raised money and awareness using your feet. You’re flushed from the elements, high on endorphins, bolstered by your chanting peers and emboldened by the fact that you completed something you may not have thought you could do. I used to run, back in the day. It felt amazing. So I get it.

But that was in college. That was when I had all of this free time, when my major life choices after attending mandatory classes were to A) nap, B) study C) workout or D) drink. My answers were always A) yes, B) no, C) why not and D) yes. But now I’m in the real world — and so are my Facebook friends.

When did everyone find hours to re-train their breathing patterns, up their endurance, strengthen their core, and stretch? No one used to stretch. This whole running thing is just like those old teen movies; I feel like I’m sitting in chemistry class, minding my own business, when suddenly! the entire student population breaks out into synchronized and meticulously choreographed dance. “Is that Kenny playing trombone? When the hell did he learn to do that?”, I ask my lab partner next to me, who is actually no longer next to me because she has joined in the Rockette-worthy kick-line.

So: why didn’t I get the mass text that notified me we’d be re-creating the finale from High School Musical? And where was my running memo?

Recently, a wise friend (who runs) gently suggested that what I’m feeling is fear — of adulthood in general, and I’m projecting my anxieties on to those social media happy 5k-ers. Perhaps my friends who have suddenly developed a love for running in ice-rain, Instagramming at dawn and posting about their accomplishments in time clocked or miles raced have cracked a seminal life code that I have yet to figure out.

It’s just that for now, I’m more comfortable walking.

Photo by Mario Testino

Get more Humor ?
  • I wouldn’t worry…

    nah, it’s just New Year’s resolutions. And maybe the adulthood metabolism looming overhead.

  • I’ve been doing 5K a day since last year! (Treadmill only. Not during exam weeks.) Maybe I’ll be able to do a half marathon this year…maybe. But for me I don’t ever ever ‘gram about running. It’s more of a personal goal than showing the world that I’m working out. Oh and I’m sure most of your runner friends will no longer be runners in no time. 😛

  • grrrrrunners

    I feel you! I have one friend who posts about his stupid runs EVERYDAY on instagram and it makes me want to unfollow him. Congrats bro, glad you are working out while I’m hungover and most likely ordering a breakfast sandwich off seamless.
    A general rule of thumb for workout related social media posts….just don’t.

  • Katiquette

    Running is a new black, I guess!!!



  • Brie

    only run i have done is the Warrior dash the last two years. this year i may sit out, because i can. i love running, i love what it does for you body/mind but (as i am an adult i can make all the excuses i want) i smoke too much, drink too much, and am much too “lazy” at the moment to really care if i do a 5k a year (or like one of my friends- freaking ALL OF THEM) or ever again.

    • Amelia Diamond

      what’s a warrior dash! you and emma should train me so i can put my $ where my mouth is and start running again.

  • Running is my sport. I spend so many hours training, etc, so I guess it is hard for me to look at the situation from the other way around. I remember, though, when I initially started running and the prospect of having to go for more than a few miles seemed actually impossible.

    There really is something about it that is highly addicting. One of the best feelings is waking up super early on a Saturday morning to take a run in the fog with my teammates. We go for 9-10ish or so miles (runs longer than that would be detrimental to the efficiency of fast-twitch muscles we are training for much shorter events), and somewhere along the line, everybody stops speaking not because it has grown hard, but because the high has undeniably been reached. It’s that point where your breathing is becomes a gentle hum, and the legs feel as if they’ve come off and drifted into the sky. It’s basically floating, and it is magnificent. Thoughts of the post-run breakfast elicit smiles and oh my, I could go on but god what a feeling. High as a kite…and natural, too!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Emmaaaa this was beautiful! I actually used to run too, for an hour every day (probably NOTHING compared to your training for sure) but it really was addictive. I’ve just lost the bug! I’m old and lazy now. I haven’t left the office yet because I am afraid that if I stand up and walk to my coat I will fall over from noodle legs. You are awesome, KEEP ON RUNNING.

      • Ameliaaaaaaaaaaaaa……I hope you catch the bug again! You deserve that feeling once more. Free drugs, yay! It’s so good for creativity, too, I find. Oxygen and whatnot. We should go on a run! Really!

        Right now is the time in between seasons, so I am at that point where I have to wind myself back up for track, and it is so daunting it makes me want to cry. The best thing I can say for getting back into is to just go for it. Start with, like, 15-20 minutes, or a walk/run. Any little dip in the realm of jogging/running will bring The Bug back. And then there will be those runs where you just feel like shit and everything is SO HARD, but once that little obstacle is passed, boom, you’re back at it. Also, running with people always helps me. You can gossip or rant and then it’s not even really like you’re running anymore. It’s also a great activity to ease the guilt of engaging ONLY in Level One (as one of my teachers used to call it) Conversation.

        I just don't understand getting up early for anything not absolutely necessary. Especially not in the cold. That is crazy talk. But I want to find some type of workout that I enjoy enough to do regularly.

  • Aubrey Green

    I too know, (well I use the word know loosely) people who got married or engaged this past year.

    I think it’s what interests you and what you therefore make time for. If naps interest you, then that’s probably what you will want to do ;). I work 40-45 hours a week and drive 20 hours a week (2 hours both ways in my awesome commute) and still managed/manage to find time to learn how to read a new language (reading of the language was required, I’m not crazy), have about 4 separate classes a week, that only one to two require outside reading, as well as read this blog, among some other things too and I have friends that work, maybe 30 hours a week with a small commute and they complain about not having time for things…so maybe it’s all relative. Besides walking is easier on the knees.

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    oh and BTW can the people that are now in the gym because of their NY resolutions please leave?? 🙂 ha ha

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    Only thing that would make me run is if my life was in danger.

  • Lizzy Webb

    YES, preach! And I’d like to add… Buzzfeed articles, I don’t know if it’s just my friends, maybe I need new ones… but they are all up on that shiz. Probably the third worst thing to come up on my FB feed. (btw loved this post)

  • Restless Blonde

    Love this post, I have exactly the same thoughts about what you’re writing 😉

  • Adrianna Grężak

    It’s just another thing to post pictures and brag about on Facebook. I know people who rarely exercise, but they do one Color Run or Tough Mudder and they still talk about months later.

    I run a few times a week because I like to eat mashed potatoes and ice cream. I lost about 40 pounds when I started running in 2011, and it’s as interesting to me as posting pictures about brushing your teeth

    BTW, I completely believe in barefoot running. I wear Merrell Pace Glove shoes, and my entire perspective on running changed. Regular running sneakers feel like I’m trying to run in wooden clogs, and they prevent us from properly using/developing our feet/leg muscles.

  • Guilty! My whole family runs, and the 5ks are social activities we can all do together and post about the way college kids post about parties.

  • ClothesHorse

    I am in the real world, and I run! You caaaan do it, you just got to want it enough! Gyms are so boring, time to get out there !

  • New year’s resolution = stay fit for summer, ahhhhhhhhgggrrrr, you start/try running, then you realise that it’s not for you then, you want to be healthy so you go for the “walking” thing

    Next year, same story

  • Emily

    The Crossfit junkies annoy me more than the runners. 🙂

  • Litzt

    Full disclosure: I got engaged one year ago, and it’s my personal goal to run an ultramarathon in the next 2 years. I have posted a total of twice on Facebook about these events, once for our engagement party, and once when I completed my first half marathon. I too, look askance at my friends who Instagram their 6am runs, or connect their nike+ running apps to post each 2.3 mile run instantly on FB, with disdain. Not for me.

    However, my nice long training runs give me lots (and lots and lots) of time with my thoughts, to think about stuff, like this. Seemingly EVERYBODY gets engaged, EVERYBODY suddenly runs marathons, EVERYBODY has a new dog that they took with them on their fabulous ski getaway or sunny hike (wait, the sun still shines somewhere?), and EVERYBODY now exclusively drinks their own home-micro-brewed beer and cider. Really, ALL of our Facebook friends! All at once?!?! Which leads me to my….

    Hypothesis: Many “Millenials” (yep, I’m a proud one) are in that period of life when they realize they have transitioned out of “youth,” and that this is it, this is life. Wave as it goes by, or GET UP AND MOVE ALONG WITH IT. We’re all grasping for the meaning in our lives, and declaring meaning
    in relationships, in personal goals, as a way to assert that, yes, we
    are the ones living our lives. We need to convince ourselves that we’re not sitting high on a couch
    somewhere watching it pass us by.

    For me, running, physically moving, is a visceral, immediate way of feeling that you’re taking control of the passage of your life — that someone’s at the wheel of this ride. Running is a striving action to assert that that someone is actually you!

    (Also, it’s easy and cheap as compared to, say, triathlons or cycling, with all that gear, or SoulCycle for that matter, because lord knows these entry-level “jobs” still keep us dirt poor.)

    • Amelia Diamond

      “For me, running, physically moving, is a visceral, immediate way of feeling that you’re taking control of the passage of your life — that someone’s at the wheel of this ride. Running is a striving action to assert that that someone is actually you!” — you’re so right and honestly, all of of these pro-running comments are totally changing my mind and making me want to start running!!!

  • Jenna

    doesnt running eff up your knees for when you are old or something? just saying im too lazy for it, i will chillax and drink some margaritas bisous bisous

  • I’ve started to notice the uptick in my friends becoming runners as well. Many of these people had barely worked out a day in their lives, until they fell victim to the allure of instagramming themselves with a medal around their necks, looking sweaty and exhausted.

    I’m wondering if this recent trend has anything to do with the more “social” nature of running nowadays? When I was in college, running was something you did alone, for yourself, and rarely talked about. It was a quiet, solitary time. Now, I see friends posting their mileage and pace on Facebook daily, running in groups almost every time they run, and insisting that the only reason they run is for races (and the chance to take another “look at me and my new medal for running” photo). It’s as if running went from being a bit of a underground workout for the truly strong-minded, to a cult of people who are (for better or worse) in it together.

    Don’t get me wrong – any excuse to get outside and exercise is a good one. I just don’t understand why it MUST be done with a group of my friends, where we head out for smoothies afterward, and I brag about every.damn.second of it on Twitter.

    I also don’t have a wedding dress I need to squeeze into this year, so maybe my jaded response is because I’m not feeling the pressure to do that. 😉

    • LaRaeRae

      hahaha good points. i run once in awhile and have done some races, but i neeeeeeeeever train in groups. i really HATE working out with other people. they are either running too fast or too slow for me, or i get competitive and push myself too hard, or they won’t shut up, etc. etc. if i wanted to be social i’d join a soccer team. running is me-time.

  • Tried to start a running career a few times but found out every time it did nothing for me (I guess Meese are not natural born long distance runners).

    That said, I am also a huge cross-trainer/compact isokinetic exercise device/paddling/hiking addict and suffering right now because yesterday’s hike was a tad too much 🙂

    I was never really serious about regular workout and just did what fancieth me (many things did, but without any schedules) before reaching 35 but have discovered since my life (full of hard labour) would be impossible without Workout – I don’t intend to start running, though.

  • sam

    how many people would run 5Ks, halfs or full marathons if they had to sign a non disclosure agreement?

  • Sarah Mira Nöckel

    Haha you’re right. Don’t forget to post a picture of the green juice after hahaaaa

    check out:

  • The life has become mechanic nowadays. We are working that too sitting on our desks.
    We don’t have time for ourselves, our health. Making or not making to marathons and all is other thing, let alone keep ourselves healthy with required exercises has become impossible.

  • Angelica

    I completely understand what you’re saying. Even though I am a 5k-color-turkey trot runner and love it, I also worry sometimes about my peers who have to share every single run-injury-stretch. And don’t even get me started on the gear, camel backs, gus and Garmins. I enjoy running but like doing it Phoebe or Forrest Gump style .

  • Mallory

    I kinda love this article 🙂 The two major questions my boyfriend and I receive on a regular basis are: a) When are you guys gonna get married? b) What do you mean you guys don’t run marathons together? I’ve recently taken to hiding a large portion on my facebook newsfeed due to this running obsessed phenomenon.

  • Tina

    i said i would try 5k once to see if my smoking habit has a affected (def has) my lungs. managed it in under 28 min. congratulated myself. never did it again walking is enough of a cardio for me

  • Chloe H

    No need to run, but it sure is fun looking through all the theme my country (Taiwan) has come up with for the last few months…

  • Andrea

    Running due to New Year’s Resolutions and health concerns is usual but, what if running is part of a fashion trend? In the last couple of years brands like Nike have been launching new colourful (and fashionable) trainers. When I’m running (yes, I also do it although I don’t share it on Facebook) I always see most people wearing the latest (and most expensive) Nike model, which they Instagram after almost every run (who wants to post a pic of a classic pair of running shoes?). So my guess is that this ‘I run just to show my latest Nike acquisition’ might have raised the number of runners, or maybe I’m wrong and they’re just a way of not boring yourself when you run.. Guess time will bring the right answer.

  • Boy Elvis

    The Onion skewered the latest running fad brilliantly a couple of years ago.,28995/

  • Boy Elvis

    This latest running fad was skewered brilliantly by The Onion a couple of years ago.,28995/

    Anyway, MR folks, if you want a truly man repelling exercise regimen I recommend martial arts. Just look at this baggy, shapeless uniform: