“So, wait a minute,” Mark said, clearly trying to take stock. “You don’t like running outside because it makes your legs hurt, plus it’s too cold, icy, windy, too hot, foggy, dark and there are ‘people’?”
“But you don’t like running at the gym because…it’s boring?”
He paused. Thinking.
“I’m just wondering if running is really the sport for you?”
Yeah, I wonder that, sometimes. Ok, most times. Often just as I’m about to start and sort of…forget…how to do it. I know, it sounds daft, but it’s like my old bones and muscles go into revolt at the thought of what’s to come. They seem to send a message to my brain, which makes me unable to work out exactly how to begin.
It results in an ungainly gallomp until my body gets used to the movement again – although, even then, you’d never say that I was a natural runner.
To hear me talk about it, you would probably think I absolutely loathe it. So why do I carry on? Why have I just completed the C25K programme for what feels like the 500th time?
It’s all about a feeling.
Oh, the weight loss and increased fitness are definitely on the pro list but the thing that keeps me going back is that sometimes for a few
seconds minutes while I’m running there comes a point when my mind and body are in perfect harmony. I feel incredibly strong, euphoric, almost; like, at that moment, I could take on the world. And win. More than that I feel like an actual runner.
There’s no build up, no clue that it’s about to happen. It could be in the middle or near the end but it’s elusive. One minute I might be thinking about something Freya said earlier or what I’m going to do after I finish and then it hits me. Hold on! I go through a check list in my head.
Pain in legs – none.
Breathing – normal.
Rhythm – steady.
Mind – calm.
Feeling – invincible.
And there it is.
All that effort – and some days believe me, it is a major effort – but so worth it. It never lasts long while I’m running. I’m either distracted by something or my rhythm goes but it sets me up for the day (or at least a couple of hours afterwards until I feel like I might need a nap). I can see why they say exercise is so good for mental wellbeing.
I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is the legendary “runner’s high” they talk about because I don’t think I’m running hard enough or long enough for that but there’s no doubt that it makes me happy, even as a plodder.
I may moan about running and I may stop every now and then but that’s what keeps me coming back. Injury after injury. Illness after illness. Year after year.
Are you a runner? Do you have a love/hate relationship with it too? Why do you run?