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.

Dear 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'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 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.

New Sara


  1. Inspiring :) I'm new to the couch-to-5k plan, just beginning week 2, and this made me want to keep going, to push limits. You CAN do it. You HAVE done it. :)
    -- Kait

  2. I've never commented but I just wanted to say you'll do great tomorrow! I ran my first 5K last month in Johnston and it was amazing. I didn't run the whole thing but I finished in under 42 minutes (My goal was to do it in under 45) Just the fact that I participated and finished a 5K felt like such an accomplishment. I can't wait to hear about your 5K experience!

  3. You couldn't have put it any better! I started running in January and had ALWAYS said running is stupid, I hate running, etc, etc, etc. For some reason I decided I was going to give C25K a shot and challenged my mom do it with me (virtually - we live in different cities) and at the end we'd run a 5k. Well, since that first 5k, I joined a running class and made some new friends. I've now started running with my coach from the running class. It's like you took the words out of my mouth... I always tell her, if I was driving by and saw myself running I'd think I looked ridiculous and SLOW! But as my coach keeps telling me, I'm faster that I think I am! It's my competitive nature that keeps me going because with each race (I've done six 5K's so far) I want to beat my previous time. I'm now training for a 10k (with my mom) in October!