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Because Running Is Maybe Slightly Less Boring and Tedious Here

Would you like to be stuck alone in your own brain without any sort of stimulation for multiple hours while also performing an exhausting physical activity over and over again until your nipples bleed? Great! Then you would like being a runner. Because running is boring as hell.

Distance runners can do some things to distract from the tedium of the activity. One friend spent the entire Chicago marathon “counting dogs”; I prefer to cycle through the alphabet, thinking of people I know whose names start with each letter. I mean, really, how did people even try to do this before headphones? When I see uncles in athletic gear churning along the shoulder of a suburban thruway, I legit want to cry. And tell them to move to New York — running is so much better here!

In 2015, I went from barely being able to run a mile to running a half-marathon in six months. In April, as soon as it was warm enough, I started running every morning. I would press start on the stopwatch on my phone and run until I was tired. I did this until I felt like I wanted to die or it was time to go to work — whichever came first. Soon, I could run two miles without stopping. By the fall, I was doing double-digit runs every Sunday because I’m smug like that.

And I learned that New York is a running paradise, especially at dawn, when people are on the street but not so many people are out that you end up spending your entire run dodging them. And you can totally stare at them all—everybody just thinks your eyes have gone vacant from the lack of oxygen in your brain. Where to? Personally, I have my running route planned around cute stray cats I can stop and pet. You can plan a route beforehand, but sometimes it’s better to use running as an excuse to explore parts of the city, since a five-mile run can take you through half a dozen Brooklyn neighborhoods in less than an hour, each their own little world. It’s kind of like an extremely boring, extremely painful form of time traveling. I have discovered endless “cute coffee places” because of my morning runs (Brooklyn!). I have also met scores of other delightful morning people, such as the time I accidentally bumped into a guy eating a bagel and he screamed, “Come back here, you bitch!” (I did not go back.)