February 21 2018
What does it mean when you shed happy tears while crossing a finish line? A behavioral analyst weighs in.
One of the best parts about living in the suburbs is being able to run around your neighborhood. Sure, you can still hit the gym or drive to the local park, but there’s nothing better than being able to just walk out your front door and go. However, sometimes there are a few obstacles that can make jogging through the suburban jungle feel more like running the gauntlet. Here’s what a beautiful day in the neighborhood can seem like when you hit some of these running—and life—roadblocks:
1. You open the front door and power walk down the driveway to warm up. Just as you’re about to go, your nosy next-door neighbor flags you down to chat. Despite the fact that you are clearly dressed in running gear and bouncing up and down to stay warm, he holds you hostage for 10 minutes telling you about his conspiracy theory that the mailman is stealing his magazines.
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2. You finally break free and jog peacefully down the tree-lined street. Right as you’re hitting your stride, the overly friendly Labrador from the next block over escapes his yard and slobbers all over you until you agree to a belly rub.
3. Free of Fido, you turn down a main road to avoid any more ambushes. You settle into a comfortable pace for a bit until you get the feeling you’re being followed. Glancing over your shoulder, you seeing a car idling behind you, the driver clearly afraid to pass you. You run as close to the edge of the road as you can but the Nervous Nelly is still creeping behind you. Finally you step off into the grass, do your best crossing guard impression and wave the car by.
4. With the road clear, you finally get a couple solid miles to yourself. You’re feeling pretty good until you’ve covered the entire neighborhood and reach the point where you can either do another loop—or head home. The idea of running right past your front door suddenly seems impossible. This is your Everest.
5. Somehow you find the strength to ignore the siren song of stopping at home and push through another mile. You’re feeling pretty good and cruising right along until suddenly you’re swarmed by kids. You look at your watch: 3pm. School is out, and the bus is dropping kids off at practically every house along your way. It feels like you’re Dorothy in the middle of Munchkinland. You take advantage of the bus stopping to drop off a family of four and sprint to get ahead of the Disneyland-esque crowds.
6. At the last intersection you have to cross before you get home, you pause and wait for your moment. Car after car cruises by. You jog in place. Bust out some high knees. Stretch your hamstrings. Mentally compose a petition to your councilman for a crossing light.
7. As you head down the home stretch, you can just see your house when you hear the familiar jingle drifting towards you. Your mouth starts to water before you even see it. The ice cream truck. It crests the hill and comes straight towards you, begging you to stop for a Nutty Buddy. Right on cue, your legs cramp up, almost forcing you to stop and refuel with a delicious dairy treat. But at the last moment you bear down and sprint home, victorious over the call of the cone!