Column, Movie Diary

Running on empty

By Dom Cioffi

I run every other day almost without fail. Sometimes the weather or an unforeseen issue messes with my plans, but more often than not, I get my miles in.

I run because I love the way that it makes me feel and because it’s good for me. I know my body, and if I didn’t push myself several times a week, I’d start to degenerate physically and mentally.

I’ve learned over the years that I often need to coerce myself into to the act of running. Even when I have the historical perspective that I always feel better once my run is complete, many times it’s still hard to initiate the activity.

When the negative thoughts about running start creeping in, I’ll often have the following conversation with myself: “C’mon, get your running clothes on. You know when this is all over, you’re going to feel that amazing endorphin rush that you love. It feels daunting now, but soon you’ll be glad you pushed through. And if you don’t go, you’re going to end up feeling miserable later in the day.”

That little internal pep talk is generally all it takes to get me moving.

I’ll then gather up my running attire and get changed.

I only splurge on a couple of things in my life and one of them is running socks. I buy a top-of-the-line brand called Balega that feel like tiny clouds wrapped around my feet. I won’t go running unless I’m wearing a pair of those — that’s how good they are.

My running shoes aren’t the best you can buy, but they are good quality. I had my feet professionally scanned at a running store several years ago and was directed toward the Brooks brand due to the shape of my foot, angle of my arch, and desire for extra cushioning. I’ve been through several pair over the years and have never deviated from them.

The rest of my running attire is basic, with shorts and t-shirts generally made of the Dri-Fit material that’s so popular today (I’m personally done with cotton). I love the lightness and wicking properties of Dri-Fit — especially in the heat of the summer sun.

I also have a pair of running sunglasses that wrap around my head. These are a must on bright, sunny days. This is a case where you could spend hundreds of dollars for a name brand, but I choose to wear $30 knockoffs since I can’t tell the difference.

The only other running accessory I use is a tiny iPod Shuffle that’s over a decade old. I love my Shuffle because it’s so light that I don’t even know it’s in my pocket. I’m angry at Apple for discontinuing the product; luckily, I have two so they should last me for a few more years.

My Shuffle is full of my favorite running music, but by default I almost always start my runs off with a podcast. I’ll listen to anything that holds my attention, whether it’s interviews, lectures or debates.

Recently, I’ve been enthralled with a podcast called “This Is Actually Happening,” a unique show where individuals recount harrowing experiences that shaped their lives. The episodes are generally an hour long and often expose a story of epic emotional or physical trauma.

As you can probably guess, some of the stories are incredibly difficult to listen to. I’ve listened to women recount years of abuse by sociopathic husbands and people reliving motor vehicle accidents that left them paralyzed. There’s even an episode where a woman searched for her missing brother for 30 years.

And yet, as difficult as these stories are to hear, they are surprisingly cathartic in that the people who relate them have survived (and many times thrived) in interesting ways.

“Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes” – Click here to see the trailer

I doubt this podcast is for everyone, but I find that during my runs, the episodes take my brain off the activity at hand and allow me to live empathetically with another person’s struggles.

This week’s film, a recently released documentary on Netflix called “Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes,” felt a lot like an episode of “This is Actually Happening.”

The documentary focuses on the Scottish serial killer, Dennis Nilsen, who killed at least 12 young men in London between 1978 and 1983. While serial killer stories are almost always intriguing from a mental standpoint, this documentary shines in the creative way it was produced. But what really made this story gripping were the glimpses into the perpetrator’s mind via the hours of audio tapes that he recorded in prison.

Check this one out if you’re interested in the macabre, just be ready for a difficult look inside the mind of pure evil.

A ghastly “B” for “Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at [email protected]

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