Running and the Economy: Part 1

The sky is falling. Everybody panic. But run 10 miles first. (Image source:

WEATHER: Delightfully cool and drizzly and fall-like!

MILES: 10.5

MILES THIS WEEK: Disturbing.

WHERE TO: A destination a little up the road from the habitations of the towns we know.

MOOD: Complacent.

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: (h/t: the illustrious C.)



I apologize for having been absent for a week and a half. As you may have guessed from the last post, I have been in emotion-land. By which I mean minorly-but-chronically-sort-of-feeling-like-ass land, due to living in a flood-prone, mushroom-and-fly-infested hole. I don’t know about you, but in the Republic of DJ, emotions make a girl stop blogging, yes, but also stop applying for freelance positions, socializing, and wanting to do anything other than having Arrested-Development-fest 2011 on her bed, which is still up on bricks (the bed), along with all of her other furniture, due to Hurricane Irene preparations.

But there’s one thing that emotions don’t get in the way of: hating on the hipsters at this coffee shop? Well yes (barista, your glasses are ugly in every ironic-and-non-ironic way). But also: the nonstop-rocking runningfest that is my life. The Olympics are coming, and we’re getting pumped. If you take a look at the 2012 Olympics official website, you will see that the ultramarathon IS NOT EVEN LISTED. Which just makes me more pumped, because kids, the people at London 2012 are clearly so excited about the unstoppable awesomeness that is the Olympic ultramarathon that they can’t even publicize it, for fear that people’s faces will melt because of the sheer force of superpumpedness.

Anyway, if living in America has taught me one thing over the last few months, it’s that the political system is hopelessly broken and the sky is falling and we should all start fashioning some flattering burlap-sack dresses.

OK, but if it has taught me another thing, it’s that all anyone cares about is the economy.  Think about it, readers: at no other point in your lives (unless you’re a nonagenarian) have you been able to respond to any declarative sentence by shrieking, “IN THIS ECONOMY???” and sound reasonably sane — possibly even wise.

How does this relate to running?  In two ways: (1) if you use the word “jobs” or “economy” or — even better — “how <political leader X> and Lindsay Lohan are ruining the economy” in any story or blog post headline, you will get hits up the wazoo from Drudge AND Perez.  Score!  And (2) basic economic principles can help you solve some of your most pressing running problems.  Doubt me?  As the French say, “Au contraire!  Poisson fromage sacre bleu!”

Here goes:

Running Problem #1: Should I get a gym membership?

You want to go to the gym, eh?  IN THIS ECONOMY?

Haha, just messing with you.  Well, let’s do a cost-benefit analysis of going to the gym versus just running on your own in the happy happy sun.  And we’ll start both of these off by assuming you have the requisite equipment: shoes, workout clothes, and the gonads to get your candy-ass up off the futon.  HOO-WAH!

The Costs of Going to the Gym:

Gym membership: $75/month

Assortment of little travel-sized shampoo/conditioner/body wash/lotion/gel/hairspray bottles that fit easily into your gym bag: $15

Keeping eyes glued to floor pre- and post-shower so random nudie super-in-shape sinewy women don’t think you’re gawking at them and their freak-calves, which you totally aren’t: $0

Ramming face into corner of gym locker as a result of keeping eyes glued to floor, getting 7 stitches in temple: $25 copay

So this could cost you a minimum of $115 in just one month.  And that’s if you’re insured.  So yeah.  Be insured if you go to the gym.  When you rack yourself doing “jumps” in spinning class you’ll thank me.  Or maybe you’ll just scream, “$&$#&#@*$%&#!!!  MY GONADS!  MY BEAUTIFUL GONADS!”


The Cost of Running:

(And here I’m talking about running a little more than a daily 30-minute 2-mile lollygag around the reservoir, creampuff.  Let’s just go big.  Let’s say you’re running like a g.d. rock star.)

Gels (30 per month): $36

Band-Aids, Peroxide, Vaseline, BodyGlide, Duct Tape, Rosaries, Mayonnaise, and other blister-/chafing-related first aid: $50

Two extra grocery trips per week to accommodate your newfound hunger for pain, but also for industrial-sized quantities of peanut butter and red meat and pickles and ice cream and Ding-Dongs and really, anything that isn’t linoleum, and even that might be a stretch: $150

Speaking of stretching, one weekly yoga class per week to oooopen up your hips and feel the oooooopening in your hamstrings and let your lotus flower blossom, which is most certainly does not do at mile 25: $40

Total: Huh.  Bigger than $115.

Well, whatever.  Running is way better than any elliptical machine or rowing machine or nudie locker room.  And just so we can all feel better about ourselves, let’s look at triathletes:

The Cost of Doing Triathlons:

Special swimsuit: $200

Special bike: $5 bajillion

Special bike shoes: $100

Special race registration: $500

Feeling extra-special: Priceless

Telling runners/gym-goers how extra-special you are: I mean, seriously, what pricetag can we put on your soul?

Total cost: more than $5 bajillion.  I rest my case.


Still to come in this series:

  • How many miles can I run? (a.k.a. The Post in which I Gratuitously Work in both Ryan Gosling and a Production Possibility Frontier)
  • How many calories should I eat? (In which we discuss budgeting and what happens when your legs hit the calorie ceiling but continue to try to run, and your motor cortex refuses to raise said calorie ceiling before your metabolic system defaults and soon you’re in a downward metabolic deflationary spiral, by which I mean vomming on the side of the C&O Towpath)
  • Should I invest in a running skirt?  (For the love of God, no.)

6 responses to this post.

  1. I also heard they’re not publicizing the 2012 Olympics ultramarathon because they’re afraid that there won’t be enough space for all the spectators along the course.


  2. Posted by Loulou on September 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

    DJ. My job is total crap and I spent the last 1.3 hours parked in my car on the freeway with the rest of the entire population of the fair city that I so lovingly call a-total-poo-hole…er…home. Is it wrong that there are so many days that the prospect of a new post is the only reason I find the strength to sit down in my hopeless cube of boredom, turn on this ungodly slow and curiously ancient snooze-box my employer thinks qualifies as a modern day computer, and face another day at this dead end job designed by Satan to destroy my soul? Please promise you’ll continue “making the magic happen” until I can finally retire in 2145.


    • Loulou, I happen to miss that poo-hole city. If/when I ever am fortunate to move back, we will run together and I will write many glorious posts that feature you. Or perhaps I will start a hippie commune private school outside of town and you can come teach art to the children, so you can fingerpaint all day with organic edible paints instead of looking at an Apple IIe all day long. And we will pay you six figures. You will thus be able to retire in 2100. But you won’t want to, because life will be grand.


  3. Posted by Stretch on September 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Special Swimsuit? Left over from college. ($0 today)
    Special Bike? You mean this beater I commute on? I suppose I should put aerobars on it so I don’t get laughed out of my race ($125 today)
    Special Bike Shoes? You mean these shoes I wear day-in and day-out? I suppose I should put new cleats in them ($5 today)
    Special Race Registration? The Buy-Two-Get-One-Free deal? ($217 today)
    Being Insufferable to everyone in the world? Priceless.
    For the small sum of $347 (plus airfare plus shipping charges for your bike) you too can be insufferable to everyone!
    (does insufferable get the preposition ‘for’ instead of ‘to?’)


  4. Posted by molly on September 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

    there are running SKIRTS!?!


  5. I don’t know about running skirts, but I have a veritable LOVE for skorts. I didn’t discover them until very late in life. (Until then, I had been living in a burqa, or – in case you ascribe to another branch of Orientalist fantasies – harem). BUT SKORTS SKORTS SKORTS.


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