musings on running, life, and everything in between

Sad Zombies, Run!

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I was running the other day thinking about sadness. I wrestle with depression and have for a very long time. It’s been awhile since I’ve had any significant reoccurrences of it, but there’s one looming that I’m fighting. Interestingly enough, there have been a couple popular culture intersections about the importance (?) of sadness, which I realize is NOT the same thing as depression, but bear with me.

I went to watch Disney/Pixar’s film Inside Out, which is about a little girl (Riley) who moves cross-country with her family and the various emotion entities that are part of her identity–specifically: joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear. They take turns being in charge, but joy is the most dominant emotion/entity. Without getting too much into the plot, joy and sadness get lost in a part of Riley’s brain/psyche and have to find their way back. In the meanwhile, Riley has some serious mood swings as the other emotions take turns trying to be in charge, and it isn’t going well for her.


Image from from Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out

At one point, joy and sadness–polar opposites obviously–have a falling out and joy has the opportunity to leave sadness forever behind. And she does.


From Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out

But only for a short time, as she realizes that sadness also has power and a purpose to play in all of our lives. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but it was a surprisingly moving film and one I’d recommend. My son, who is averse to movies, loved it and asked to watch it again. I read an interview with the director, who said he did alot of research and consultation with psychologists about what emotions to include and the science behind our personalities.

This brings me to my other connection about sadness and one that is actually running-related. I’ve heralded my deep deep love of the running app, Zombies, Run to anyone who would listen. For those uninitiated, it’s an app that is part audio-book, part running motivation, part genius. Season 4 was $7.99 for all of the updates, missions, etc. totally worth it. It takes place in a post-zombie apocalyptic world, and you are Runner 5. You are part of a community, Abel Township, that is struggling to survive. As a runner, you bring back supplies, people, and other missions as needed. The audio clips play “live,” as if you were really Runner 5 and all the people are talking to you directly, etc. There’s quite a big of governmental intrigue, mad scientists, and love involved.

The clips, which are probably only about 1-2 minutes) play every 5 minutes or so (although you can adjust this), and then it works with your music for the gaps in between (and it’s great because it can now work with other music apps you have like Spotify or RockMyRun. Before you had to have playlists specifically on your phone). It’s even got specific race-length missions, and even a 5k training app. On your runs, you pick up various supplies. You can turn this feature on or off, so you can be alerted every time you pick up a sports bra (there’s an unwieldy number of sports bras in the zombie apocalypse) or medicine or whatever else. You can then use these supplies to build your base. There’s a virtual base where you build houses, farms, etc. The more supplies you pick up, the larger your Abel township gets. There’s a whole virtual community online, and people submit pictures of what their Runner 5 or Sam Yao or any other character looks like. Since it’s Radio, you have to use your imagination!

I was recently able to get the fourth season–woohoo! It’s what got me running through an entire winter several years ago–my first all-outdoor run winter. You look forward to the runs as you want to find out what happens next. There’s even a “zombie chase” feature if you want to incorporate intervals into your run! I often joke about having no concrete skills to offer in the post-apocalypse. This app offers me the hope of at least being a runner, haha.

Anyhow, without giving away too much about the storyline, one of the main points of conflict is a character who wants to mind control everyone left on the planet so that they can be blissed out and happy all of the time. No suffering. No one wants to be mind controlled, though, right? And how can there be true happiness if there’s not suffering to make it all the sweeter? When I think about the lobotomies or electric shock therapy people used to try and “cure” depression, I shudder. The lengths we go to try and cure ourselves. But perhaps it is a delicate balance of sadness and joy. I don’t know. Feel free to field advice my way.

Ok, on to the real running bit of this blog. I went with more braids yesterday for the long run. Corn rows–or recently I found someone called them Dutch braids.

Anna and I went out to Waterfall Glen yesterday, and those hills and the humidity kicked my butt. I had to cut the run short from 12 to 10. I thought about forcing myself to gut out 2 more, but I was tired. And I have 20 this weekend. I will actually have to chop up the 20 as I have a half marathon Saturday evening (the Full Moon Half in Kohler, WI). I’m opting for running 7 earlier in the morning instead of trying to run 7 before and then racing the last 13 (*shudder*). I have mixed feelings about chopping up my first 20 for this training cycle, but it can’t be helped. The only other option I could think of was to run Thursday and then just race Saturday, but that also seemed unpleasant…Either way, it’ll be a learning experience. 🙂

It was a tough run, so I decided to treat myself to some compression. I love these Lunatik Athletiks rainbow Zuza socks.

More attempts to eat healthier. This was essentially a garbage salad. Romaine and spinach with peppers, white beans, leftover lentil salad from the previous night, and leftover guac. It was ok. Our household is working on not wasting food so garbage salads work.   Anyhow, it’s finally Friday. Have a great long run and weekend! Wish me luck on the half (pipe in with your experience if you have any with chopping up long runs or this race in particular), and share your advice on how you deal with depression.

Author: runNerdier

Marathoner. Academic. Mom of 2 ankle-biters.

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