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Fluid Running

My runs are rarely exciting.

I enjoy running: it’s healthy and improvements are measurable. I also feel great after the run. However, the actual act of running - particularly if I’m by myself - is monotonous. My feet plod along the pavement. There are roads, cars, and other people to dodge (while internally complaining about their lack of spatial awareness because obviously I deserve the right of way in all situations). And that’s about it.

As a distraction technique, I have a running playlist with pumpy, energetic songs that say stuff like “Everything hurts? Good. Push harder!”. Fun fact: Work Bitch by Britney Spears ended up as one of the top songs on my Spotify last year because of my repetitive use of the same playlist.

Though I respond well to negative reinforcement, after hearing Britney ask if I wanted a Maserati an excessive number of times, I started wondering if I could be doing something more intellectually stimulating. I decided to occasionally swap out music for non-fiction audiobooks.


I was halfway through into a long run, listening a book about how the human body worked, when the narrator started telling a story about a woman with a persistent itch on her head.

She couldn’t stop scratching it, not even when she was asleep. It got so bad that she started losing hair from scratching too much. Nothing could alleviate the itch.

One day, she woke up and there was this greenish fluid running down her face - she’d scratched through her skull and her brain fluid was leaking out.

If I hadn’t been on a long run, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But remember - the reason I listen to stuff is to escape the dullness of running. There weren’t any interesting external stimuli to distract me from the horrific fact I’d just learnt, meaning the vivid imagery was stuck in my head (unlike her brain fluid), and I wish it could have been drained out (like her brain fluid).


Despite my “extreme” suffering, I persevered and finished the run. Afterwards, I searched “women scratch brain fluid” on Google. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top result recounted (in plenty of detail) the same story I’d been subjected to.


A couple of weeks later, I figured I’d try again. I was probably being overdramatic. And after all, how much worse could it get?

The audiobook started talking about how a scientist discovered cardiac catheterisation by inserting a tube up their own artery to their heart.

I noped back to Britney really fast.


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