People who don’t run don’t understand what its all about.
The procrastination on a wet and windy day as i hope that the rain and the wind will ease if Ifind something more important to do for 30 minutes before I run.
The steely determination as I set off, the heavy legs and the thoughts that I actually feel really unfit and my legs obviously belong to someone else.
The breathlessness as I try and climb another hill.
The chaffing as I realise this is the first time I’ve worn that heart rate monitor.
The blisters because my new shoes which should fit like a dream and make me faster ( yeah my own fault I know, who’d believe all that rubbish?!) fit badly and are rubbing and making me run like there’s a poker in my shoe.
The tiredness and the fatigue as I realise I’ve only run 3 miles and there’s at least 11 more to go.
The emotion – often tears with me, when I’ve completed a really long run.
“Why bother?” “Why do you do it?” I’m asked. “look at the state of you!” People exclaim as I lie on my kitchen floor sobbing, unable to remove my shoes because I’m either completely spent or my fingers are frozen along with my laces.
I bother because I love it. I bother because it is what keeps me sane and makes me feel alive, despite my deathly appearance. There is nothing like running. Don’t get me wrong, I love cycling – the speed, the power, the downhills, the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, even the sore and dysfunctional legs at the end of a hard ride. But I don’t lose myself in the same way as when I run. I need to concentrate when I cycle, I need to be aware of those around me, of the road, the traffic. I also love swimming – lord knows its taken me long enough, but yes I really do. I love the satisfaction of swimming 3k. Im no dolphin. I once got mistaken for brick, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. I do. And I do lose myself when I swim sometimes, but its not running.
It is often an effort to get out there and start a run and this is why i can procrastinate so. I am only human after all ( although questions have been raised as far – see earlier remark re brick!). Once i get out there and start i know i will continue, the hardest bit is done – making the effort. The first few miles can go either way – if I’m lucky my legs will fell fresh and brain alert. i’ll run like I was born to do so ( or like I’ve nicked something!) if I’m not as fortunate I will wonder why I’m still asleep and who re surfaced the road with superglue before I left. If I’m really unlucky this feeling of carrying not only the world but also Apollo himself on my shoulders can last for the entire run. And still I continue. Battling with myself. I will not give in, I will not be beaten, I am in a competition with myself and we will not be beaten by the sloth on my shoulder. ( Yes a sloth, plus the world plus flippin Apollo! No wonder its hard work). I feel like this is the hardest run I’ve ever done and I grit my teeth and adopt a stony faced mask.
Sometimes the magic happens sooner rather than later and I feel as though I can fly. I smile at random people who assume I am either high or laughing at a private joke. Why else would some stranger with wet hair and a red face be beaming at me? they ponder. But they don’t know, they don’t realise I am smiling because I am bursting with emotion, with happiness that spills out of me because I AM RUNNING!
For me there is nothing that matches a long run. I am humbled every single time. I am amazed that my body continually does what I ask it, that it allows me to push it. I am amazed at my mental strength, because believe me, it hurts. I want to walk but I wont succumb, it is all in my head and I will finish. And when I finish I am so overwhelmed, so thankful that it is over and that I have actually achieved what I set out to that I can only cry.
My tears are not because I am hurting, that has stopped when I finish running. My tears are of joy and of thanks that as humans, we are truly remarkable creatures. And then I marvel at how we are designed and how we really can push ourselves harder and faster and longer, doing what seemingly feels impossible. I run because it is a gift, because I can and because not to would just be plain rude.