I hate running. Well, I thought I hated running. Back when I was younger, I was a pretty good runner. I could go for as many miles as my lunchtime at work would allow.
Then in my twenties, I decided to pursue the Olympic Games in whitewater canoe sport. I would run almost every morning along mountain roads in North Carolina or through my hipster in-town Atlanta neighborhood .
This is what athletes in most top-achieving sports are expected to do. Your coach puts “run” on your training plan.
I liked it pretty much. But I wasn’t over the moon about it. Truthfully, it was a without-passion-workout that I needed to check off the daily list.
Then I stopped running.
A few times over the years, I have given it another go. But the only runners I knew were trying to achieve a really high standard.
I respect the “true” professional competitors who desire to go faster, a longer distance, under a certain per-minute for a personal best.
Who don’t I respect?
The ones who do not run as a profession and have a debilitating obsession . . . not debilitating to themselves but to the family members and friends who must be expected to allow a runner the time and freedom to run while others handle the responsibilities at home or work.
“I’m sorry, I can’t, because that’s when I run.”
“I’d like to go with you on a walk, or a hike, or a … but I’ve already run today, and now I must rest (or take care of my own wants.)”
“I’d like to be at your weekend event, but that’s when I’m doing my long run to get ready for (fill in the blank of some sort of competition or group run.)”
I don’t want to be THAT runner. The one who feels their run must be accepted as a priority by others.
Running isn’t a competition until I make it into one.
Now that I’m older, I know that a run is a reliable way to stay healthy and get my breathing going and heart rate up. Yes, a nice run makes me feel great.
But, if I have tied myself to a daily run and I skip it — then arrives a 12-hour guilt trip. It’s as though I have let myself down: failed.
And that is how a person quits running. One missed run.
I’m not conquering any world other than mine.
Inc. magazine this week published a story stating that if you set aside one time a week to go for a run, your body will respond to it as if you run every day. When I read that article, I chirped, “that’s me!”
It’s true, I am happier and healthier because I run once a week to enjoy the outside and not to show others, or even myself, that I clocked a run.
I don’t take a phone.
I don’t take music.
I don’t take selfies.
I don’t do Instagram photos.
I don’t think about how to motivate others with a tweet.
I don’t write my accomplishments in a daily journal.
If the day I allotted for running is crappy, or I am swamped with work, or hell, I just want to do something else with that time — there are 6 other days in the week to which I can move it.
And this is what makes it even more fun . . .
I run for 3 minutes and walk one minute. Rinse and repeat for as long as I want. And before I even notice, I’ve gone a mile or a kilometer or even a few. Some days I just go and go. Three minutes on. One minute off.
And sometimes I reverse it for the pure joy of it. Go really, really, really fast (I hesitate to use the term “sprint”) for 1 minute. Then walk for 3.
And I’ve avoided the trap of getting “fixed up” to go for a run. I do not prepare a “running look” for the others I will pass in a millisecond.
No trendy running wear.
No earrings. Earrings???!!
I allow my skin to breathe. I aim to be comfortably warm or cool, depending upon the season.
If it is summer, I’ll go before it gets hot or after the sun dips below the horizon. If it is winter, I’ll wait until the day has warmed up a bit.
Why be miserable? It doesn’t score me any extra points, and no-one else cares.
I take myself on a little run. It’s time for my thoughts and to be able to look around and see stuff and think… or not think.
Séu and I were in Madrid this past weekend. We were there to meet up with our lovely friends from the United States -> Charlotte, North Carolina who are doing a tour of Spain. After they departed, she and I stayed a couple extra days to walk a million blocks and become pros at the underground subway (METRO) and taxis. Negotiating a big city by way of public transport is an absolute empowering blast.
To start each day, we would take a taxi and have our desitnation be a fancy hotel on a far side of town. When we arrived, the doorman would open the door of our cab and escort us into a hotel where we were *not* staying. Then she and I would order tea to be served in the lobby. Afterwards, we would start our walk around that part of the city. This behavior comes straight out of the Eloise books that Seu’s grandmother read to her when Séu was a little girl.
We laughed a lot and had good meals and beverages.
As always, thank you for reading.
Lisa (and Séu)