For reasons which do not matter here, I ran three days in a row on the same course: An 8 and one quarter mile loop.
The first run was on Wednesday, which was cool but which was also a fasting day (my wife and I are trying the fast diet, which is a subject on which I will probably blog about at some point). Anyway, I had nothing to eat that day except for coffee in the morning. I did fine on this run and kept the pace at 7:55
The next day I had a good breakfast but by the time of my run in the early afternoon, it was already in the low 90's. The run was miserable and slow at 8:26.
The final run was both a fast day and slightly hotter than the day before. Yet somehow I pulled my self together and ran slow but not by as much as the day before: 8:22/mile.
Either the fasting is not a problem for running or my ability to adapt to heat made up for the hot fasting run. I do feel tired and weak on fast days.
I generally consider any run of 13 miles or less to be a failure if it comes in over 8/mile, but I have to cut myself some slack considering the weather.
All of this effort, concentrated in the last three working days of the week, set me to musing about why I bother with it. I've been 30 pounds heavier and I looked fine. I felt fine too. Why can't I settle into being a short, fat balding and jolly creature? Maybe I will at some point. I don't after-all feel any contempt for, or superiority to, other people who have let themselves go. Anyway, the key point I was left with is that it is really hard to stay in shape. I do it for some reason and it is my choice to do so.
I choose to make the efforts needed to stay in shape but how would I feel about such exertions if they were forced upon me? Hard to imagine, but I think being forced would make it even more difficult because instead of it being a manifestation of my freedom, it would be the opposite: It would be proof that I don't have freedom. This is the fundamental problem with socialized medicine (actually, it is the problem with socialized anything): If your health is the state's business, then they might intrude on your freedom to eat what you want, to exercise or not, to smoke, to drink etc. Alternatively, they will not meddle; but then how is it fair for me to be in the same risk pool as an obese, sedentary alcoholic who smokes?
This is what socialism always comes down to: Infringe freedom, punish virtue or both.