Friday, June 3, 2011
Why I Run: A Love/Hate Letter
On the eve of my first 5K (my rambling accident notwithstanding), I've been thinking about my adventure in running & what it has done for me over the past 8 weeks...yup, I've only been running for 8 weeks. Here is my love/hate letter to Running.
You're a tricky little minx. You have this persona that is so tough & inaccessible, but really you're just fast walking with a hop in the middle. There's nothing tough about hopping...it's what bunnies do, for Pete's sake. And yet people are--I am--so afraid of you.
What if I look stupid? What if I can't do it? What if I trip? What if I can't do it? What if someone sees me? What if I can't do it? What if I'm really slow? What if I CAN'T do it?
But even my one year old daughter can do it...am I to be outdone by a person who can't even say the word "running?"
Maybe. About 20 minutes in, I know that I will die. I know that Running is my Everest & I am not its equal. The aching legs, the taste of blood, the gasping & the panting will be the last things I ever experience. The casual observer will see me, creeping at my snail's pace, & wonder why I look so rough for going so slow. At 25 minutes in, I hope that I will die. And yet...
I run because...I have never felt more alive than in those first few steps, early in the morning when the neighborhood is still sleepy. I have never felt more powerful & at the same time feminine than when I'm really getting going & the sweat starts to pool on my lip & in the small of my back. I have never stood so tall as I do when I get to the top of a hill in preparation of "flying" down. I have never felt more clarity & peace in solitude than when I take a deep, full, nose-flaring breath to calm down my heart & stretch out my chest as I slow to cool down. I have never felt more accomplished than when I return to my front porch to the strains of "Man in the Mirror" knowing that I am making a change.
And, pragmatically, I've never felt more efficient than seeing my calorie burn in half an hour to be unsurpassed by any other activity.
I didn't set out to become a "runner," yet in my laziness I found running. Running, you hurt me. I dread you & I desire you. I hate you & I love you. Maybe it's the hate that makes the love so sweet?
Whatever it is, I'm so glad that I accidentally found you & look forwarding to hating/loving you for years to come.