A weekly feature of SideSpin. Now featuring actual emails!

Depression does weird things to a mind. The whole "just to feel alive" thing is true, at least from experience. Also of note is that I have not ran in months or gotten much cardiovascular exercise other than some biking.

OK. This morning I thought I should go for a run to wake up. It's 33 degrees in Detroit, and I figured a mile out, a mile back wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I got out of the house and ran north to the freeway, but kept going- west to midtown, and then south to downtown on John R, then Gratiot home. I ran this in sneakers I bought at Dollar General.

When I got back, I tallied it up, and it kinda scared me, since I'd ran about 6.5, 7 miles in bitter spring air with cruddy shoes and minimal stretching, and my body wasn't wrecked with cramps, aches, or fatigue. It took an hour and twenty minutes, also partially since I did crap like run on curbs or dither about my path. I'll add that I'm drug free, at least this past week.

So my question is: how bad should my body feel? 'Cos this is wayyyyy uncool. Unrealistic crap.

—Placeholdername Surname

First off, I’m sorry to hear that you are depressed. I sometimes confuse “depressed”, “repressed” and “Seacrest”, but I do know that those are all bad things, so I hope you get better.

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As for your running question, I’m not surprised that you aren’t feeling any material effects from the run. Cheap running shoes will actually run quite nicely for the first 50 miles or so, stretching isn’t a requirement (I certainly never stretch), and temps in the mid-30s are quite ideal for an easy long run. You may have run a little further than you’re accustomed to, but a one-off long run (within reason) isn’t going to present any problems. I would never plan on a 30-mile weekend run, but if I went and ran it easy, I’m sure I’d be fine.

I always tell beginners to think less about distance, and more about time spent running. Most beginners would freak out if they had to run 7 miles, but they probably could wrap their mind around an easy hour and twenty minutes. If you’ve played any sport in your life (especially soccer or basketball), you’ve certainly had occasion to run around for an hour or two, and quickly at that. If you can play basketball for a couple of hours, you can run easy for an hour or more. I’m not suggesting that you suddenly and irresponsibly ramp up your mileage, but the occasional 1:30 long run is probably a good idea for runners of all fitness levels.

I have a fancy job and I’m just too busy for this new commenting system. Also I’m too good for all of you.

—IronMikeGallego

OK, that may have been a fake email.

Raysism is a commenter, Fraggle breeder, runner, attorney, and lecturer who rose to fame through his listing in the Guinness Book of World Records under "Highest LSAT By A Deadspin Commenter of the Year". Since 1986, he has written "Ask Raysism", a Tuesday column in SideSpin in which he solves puzzles and answers questions from readers on a variety of subjects. If you have a question for future columns, send them to raysism@gmail.com.