"I’ve been sitting on this one because I know no one needs any more talk about running and writing. It’s all been said (and far better), the metaphor overworked, and I’m hardly a fitness expert or mental health professional. In fact, I am in zero position to dispense any advice. Lord knows I’m just another jerk.
"But the fact is running’s saved my life — and my writing — thanks to Ben Tanzer, whose wonderfully wise, hopeful and meditative 99 Problems pulled me from a very dark place and got me moving. Ben! Thank you! (When you with anxiety and depression, at some point you may start to believe it when people around you throw up their hands and say: maybe you just have a shit personality.) If it weren’t for his book, I don’t know what. Do yourself a favor and read it, and then read Devin Kelly’s essays of gorgeous, aching profundity, and Brian Oliu’s, too, for good measure.
"This is not that. I didn’t start running until I turned 40. In high school I quit sports teams to focus on extracurricular partying, and spent the heft of my younger years in a similar fashion. I had no endurance or stamina. I was low, like, all the time. When I’m low, my feet are cinder blocks. Sadness is paralyzing. The last thing I want to do is engage my body. To feel anything. This is the cycle. Countless are the times I’ve said: running just isn’t for me. But then Tanzer came along with his Chicago snapshots and his cheerful outlook, and then what did I have to lose, so I smoked a last cigarette and bought myself a pair of running shoes."