Over the years, people have asked me why I run. They’ve also asked me why I run so much, and so far. Further, they’ve tried to get to the bottom of the conditions under which I run… rain, snow, sleet, ice, and in the summer, heat and humidity. Am I nuts? Furthermore, they wonder, just what sane person gets up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturdays, and spends the first few hours in perpetual motion?
All of these issues are perplexing to someone who doesn’t like to run, or has never run. I get it. It’s not their thing, and I’m okay with that. I’m a bit of a freak about running, and sometimes people will try to explain to me why they don’t run, as if they need to apologize for not running. To them I say to each his own. I’ll usually also say something like, “Don’t worry, I understand… sometimes even I don’t like my runs, and I love running… so if you go out there and start out not liking it, it could be a disaster.”
But because running is ‘my thing,’ small bits of discomfort almost always get trumped by the overriding feeling of being totally in my element. When I run, my body feels like it’s doing what it was made to do. When I run alone, I feel in sync with my thoughts. My brain awakens, giving me all sorts of insightful sentiments and grand epiphanies. When I’m with my running partner, we are both in sync, and proceed to solve our problems, and the rest of the world’s problems as well. In fact, we can problem solve for however long it takes- 5,10, 15, or sometimes 26.2 miles. Things simply make more sense when they are attached to the act of running.
All of this said, my dad (the doctor) often reminds me that the human body can only take so much running. I pride myself in ignoring his comments, but unfortunately from time to time, injuries remind me that he is right. (A fact I will only admit in written form, under the guise of Runnerchica, and never say to his face.) When this happens to me (or any runner) and we find ourselves sidelined, our beloved running becomes even more important. Whether it’s an ultra nasty blister that sidelines us for a few days (this has actually happened, effectively ending my foot modeling career), or a more serious injury that causes weeks or even months of rest, the emotional toll is the same. When something we love is taken away temporarily, we suddenly realize just how important it is, and how easy it is to take for granted. When I can’t just throw on my running shoes and clothes and hit the streets, I realize just how good I had it when I could.
So, to answer the questions addressed in the first paragraph, I run through rain, sleet, snow, and heat because even though it’s hard, I know I’d rather be doing this than not doing it at all. I also know that even when a run is uncomfortable, the next run probably won’t be. I also know that while sometimes my training will require me to go for miles and miles, and I’ll wonder just why it IS that I choose to do this, I do know that the run will eventually be over, and I will again be able to rest. Similarly, I know that shorter runs are in my future- it all just depends on that day’s plan. And, finally, while it is certainly not a treat to get up at 5:30, once I get through the initial shock, it really feels amazing to be breathing fresh morning air, see beautiful scenery, and have great conversations with my running buddies.
Bottom line, when you find something you love, you just know it’s worth it to push past the challenges. Because really, nothing in this world is perfect- even (or perhaps especially) the things we love the most. And, those injuries that pop up from time to time, while they test our patience and sanity, are also great reminders not to take anything in this lifetime for granted- the truth of it is, each day doing something we love or spending time with someone we love needs to be treated as a gift. So, friends… hold tight to whatever or whoever it is that YOU love, and enjoy them in all of their imperfect glory.
Now, get out there and go do your thing.
by abbey algiers