Thanks for going on my first run with me. Just wondering, are my feet supposed to feel like I’m smashing them into a pit of burning coals?

Yeah? Cool. Because I’m getting a lot of that right now.

It’s so nice to get out of the house. Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m wheezing like a ruptured accordion. Every time I gasp for breath, it’s as if no matter how much air I squeeze through my shriveled, raisin lungs, I’ll never be satiated. That’s normal? Nice. I figured.

Wow. Running is actually so liberating. I’m like a newborn deer taking my first steps in a meadow. There’s a world of possibility ahead of me. Also, my legs are too weak to support my bloated torso. And with every step, I waddle on the verge of collapse.

By the way, I know this is probably the norm, but all the liquid in my body is pooling on my forehead then cascading fiery salt into my eyes with the force of a Niagara Falls filled with jellyfish? No worries. I’m good to keep going if you are.

You said that everyone has a different running form, which is neat. I guess I didn’t consider that all my neighbors would be judging me for having the gait of a spooked penguin. My gut is telling me they’re about to hoist their children onto their shoulders. All so they can get a better view of the deflated, parade float of a man who dared to flop a quarter-mile around the cul-de-sac. Is it normal to feel like this? Or is it only me?

Also, my hair is physically hurting. Just an observation.

I love how exercise has so many mental benefits. But every single brain cell is begging me to stop. It’s a nightmarish chorus that screeches louder every second. As if a troop of rabid baboons has been stirred into a maddening frenzy in my superheated brain.

The only thing keeping me going is that, if I stop, I get the sense you’re going to judge me a tiny bit.

This is actually a lot easier than I—

Sorry. Blacked out for a second. Hah! I know that’s normal. Right? But I also saw God waiting at the gates of Heaven. A beautiful shrine of glowing light encased Their divine form. I was basked in the most powerful sorrow and the brightest joy. I shrunk to my knees and wept.

God allowed me one question. I whispered, “Why is there evil?”

There was a pause.

“So that you may know the power of goodness.”

I was abruptly swept into the warm ether of the universe. Cozy as a babe swaddled in my mother’s arms. I resonated in harmony with every living cell. For the first time in my life, I was at peace.

I snapped out of it when my nipples started chafing like two pieces of moist sandpaper.

Yup, that’s a lot of blood.

Are you sure this is how running is supposed to feel?