Running Outside, No Fear for Ass Cheek

One time at 5 in the morning, I stepped in a hole and broke my right ankle.  I was out for a jog in suburban Washington DC.  It was still dark (why I didn’t see the hole).  There were no lights on at any house.  Northern Virginia slept.   I was two miles from home.  No cell.  Broken ankle.  Out of luck.  I hopped all the way back on my left leg.  Oh, the pain! Hopping!  By the time I got home my left ass cheek (the hopping cheek) hurt far worse than my ankle.

Swollen Lower Sections

My left ass, in fact, was swollen to twice it’s normal size.  I looked in the mirror and screamed (the swelling made me look like a bicyclist in The Triplets of Belleville), “I will never be the same!”

And, that was that, I lost my running nerve. After I healed, I decided to smoke cigarettes instead. This happened 11 years ago.

Since then, I’ve not exercised that much.  Usually I’ll hit the gym for a month or two, get on the treadmill (I like to run) and eventually get bored from going no place, tortured by knowing exactly how long I’ve run and how far I have to go (electronic treadmill dashboard), and I’ll stop and go to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard.  (Pronounced Blizzzzzz-zaaaard with lots of exclamation points (!!!!)).  I’ve often thought about running outdoors again to break up the monotony, but am afraid because of the ass injury I suffered all those years ago (If I had been any farther from home, my ass might have exploded and I might have died).

Jocky Man Losing Races, Happily

This year has been different, however.  I moved to Mankato.  I have a great schedule.  And I seriously want to run.  Through the winter, I ran at the Y.  But now, as the ice leaves the trails, I’m starting to really hit it.  People love to complain about cell phones, but because I have one, I no longer fear broken bones and ass swellage.  There are beautiful trails in Mankato.  I can fun for miles and miles through fields and bluffs.

I might like running in the city best, though.  This morning out running Calhoun and Harriet in Minneapolis, I started qualifying why urban running is so fantastic.

Pretty Lake

First, the lakes are beautiful. That’s true.  Second, Minneapolis has great infrastructure, too (trails all over the place that link and link and link, so you could really run the whole day without covering the same ground).  Third, there are soooo many freaking people running here.  I saw like a thousand this morning.  This is what I love best: people watching.  And, people defeating.

It’s really fun to catch and pass people on the running trail.  Generally the people I pass are far older than me and are also in better shape than me, but because I’m naturally sort of fast and middle-aged instead of ancient, I can beat them!  Take that grandma.

Equally fun is to be passed.  I really enjoy seeing good athletes at work.  It’s sort of moving to see a couple of twenty-something women who can run, literally, twice as fast as I can. It’s less fun to be passed by young men, because that just seems too obvious somehow. When the women pass me, I’ll generally speed up and try to stick with them for awhile, but I can’t even come close and I’m just psyched to see people who are completely good at what they’re doing.

And, this morning I ran seven miles without really noticing.  I passed the old folks.  Real runners in their prime passed the hell out of me.  Wind blew waves on the lakes.  Dogs chased sticks in nearby parks.  The sun shone.  And, I didn’t break an ankle or blow out my left ass cheek.  Beautiful.

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12 Responses to “Running Outside, No Fear for Ass Cheek”


  1. 1 Mrs. Andersen April 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Yay for not blowing out your ass cheek haha!! 😀 (The writing in this post is the perfect example of why I loved STUPID FAST!)

    • 2 Geoff Herbach April 17, 2011 at 11:07 am

      I think Stupid Fast is one of the reasons I’m running, too. Doesn’t seem right to write that book and be an out of shape putz all the time!

  2. 3 Diana Joseph April 17, 2011 at 11:08 am

    You ran seven miles this morning? I just told DC that. We agreed that we get tired after driving seven miles. By mile 8, we start looking for hotels.

    • 4 Geoff Herbach April 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Unless you’re clandestinely following someone in your car (that’s part of the running outside business, too — “You don’t know I’m chasing you down, old man…”).

  3. 5 Susan Montag April 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

    This reminds me of a story my brother Paul told me about running a marathon. He did not know that a half marathon started at the halfway point of the full marathon, and when he reached that point, several quite large ladies passed him. He–not knowing that the large ladies had just started their run (while he had already run 13 miles)–was mortified as he saw them disappear ahead of him. Later he learned the truth and felt better.

  4. 7 Caroline Starr Rose April 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Where in NOVA? I lived in Fairfax County eleven years ago. And getting passed doesn’t matter (at least that’s what I tell myself).

    • 8 Geoff Herbach April 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Wow, that’s crazy! I lived in Alexandria. Right off 394 (sorta by Shirlington). How about you? Crazy we were there at the same time!

      Glad you like Felton so far, too, Caroline.

  5. 9 Caroline Starr Rose April 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I forgot to mention I’ve spent some of the afternoon with Felton, and I have to say I am laughing donkey laughs at what you’ve written. Like I might barf! donkey laughs.

  6. 10 Matthew Rogers April 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I prefer roller-blading backwards with big headphones, but good for you man! FYI – Steroids would help balance out those ass-cheeks with a big melon-head to boot.


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I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

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Nothing Special

I’m With Stupid

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