Running is My Always Lover

I’ve always been a runner. 

No really, I’m one of those people that can not run for ages and then just go out and do five miles – or six – whatever.  It’s just sort of how I’m built.  It’s in my blood.  It’s like breathing to me… just part of how I make it through life.

After destroying my left FHL tendon a few years ago (and subsequently being subjected to a year of walking cast and PT, a nightmare we don’t even want to get into right now), I figured out that running is not just a prancing motion my body likes to make – it’s an actual love.

Being unable to do it was literally heartbreaking and psychologically crushing.

These days, I enjoy every single run I do as if it could be my last.  I don’t obsess over splits and pace anymore.  I just run.  I run wherever I feel like going, not even necessarily a pre-determined course or distance. 

I have really super beefy orthodics and a carbon fiber plate that I wear under the orthodic in my left shoe.  My feet are fragile these days.  I stepped off a dark curb in January and sprained my right ankle (previously the good ankle) something fierce.  Now that joint is always a little funny when it’s cold out, or I’m having an especially stiff day.

P90X doesn’t leave much energy or time left for running.  Indeed, running (unless you’re cranking out really intense intervals) isn’t even that great for fat-burning.  It will make you a better runner, but it won’t make you better at much else. 

With everyone poo-poo-ing slow cardio these days (I’m with them, mostly), I’ve moved away from running a bit.  It’s true.  I get a better workout from about a million other things. 

But running isn’t about working out.  It used to be – but it’s not anymore.  Now, running is about fun.  It’s about taking off and feeling good.  It’s about seeing my neighborhood and smiling at dogs that smile back.  It’s about noticing that persimmon tree that I’ve never noticed before.

It’s my unplug moment.

So yesterday and today, even though I was completely burned from my P90 workouts, I went for short runs.  I ran under the gray, cold, winter skies – under bare branches, carefully around the "raisin bran" that the leaf-piles have turned into. I ran three or four miles and smiled the entire time.  I wore running tights, wool base layers and long-sleeved running shirts with little mittens that pull out of the arms. 

I listened to Beiruit’s "Scenic World" on infinite repeat.

My world lit up from the inside out.  I came home glowing, steaming, sweaty, and elated.

Do what you love.  Love what you do.  Run, jump, dance, whatever.

Among all this tracking, counting, and p90x "bringing it", it was a good reminder of the core value of physical activity. 

It’s freedom.  It makes you feel good. 

Find your passion.
Then be grateful for it every single day.

*

 

 

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11 comments

  1. Amen to that one, love. I think this is the absolute best part of exercise – its meditative qualities and their attending euphoria. Thank you for this gorgeous reminder.

  2. Preach it, sister! Running is such a gift. Thanks for reminding me why I enjoy it.

  3. Hmmm, running has been a necessary evil when it’s too cold to bike in the winter, but now that it doesn’t kill me afterwards anymore, I’m starting to like it a bit. Don’t tell me that it’s not a good cardio workout though! I’m not at the point of doing it for the love – it better keep me in shape until I can get on the bike again!

  4. I ran my first marathon when I was in the Air Force, stationed in Turkey. It was the real deal, from Marathon to Athens on a terribly hot day in 1975. It was a nightmare….but I was hooked. It was the ease and simplicity of getting that wonderful endorphin rush that kept me at it until a silly mountaineering accident brought it all to an end almost ten years ago. Cycling works, but in so many ways I miss the simple act of running. You know what I mean…when everything clicks and you find that groove and you could just keep going forever.

  5. Cyclocross forced me to run for the first time in at least three years!

    as much as it hurt, it felt good.

    i rode up to Tabor yesterday and shouldered/ran up the stairs-
    …even though cross is over.

    i wanted to.
    it felt good.
    and it put an awkward smile on my face after…

    freedom is good

  6. Sing it, sister. I’m with those who say that there is a strong, meditative aspect to exercise–especially those that we just feel an affinity with (affinity exists for a reason!).

    And you–for you, running is shooting from the gut in your life the way that writing and teaching (and–fuckit–spinning, as dorky as that sound) are for me.

    <3

  7. Don’t worry, Steven! It’ll keep your lungs nice and happy for the bike. The critics are talking more about “regular people” (yes, now I’m saying you’re not normal;) who want to lose weight or get fit and spend mindless hours at the gym doing long, slow cardio on machines… or long, slow runs at the same pace every time. Trust me, you’re getting your money’s worth with your running, dude!

    Greg – WOW – you’re first Marathon WAS the real deal. That is so cool -seriously. I got your comment last night as I was going to bed (on my phone) and it totally tugged at my heart. I *do* know exactly what you mean when “everything clicks”. It’s a feeling that is beyond beyond. Indescribable. Sal feels this way on the bike but I don’t – I wonder if I ever will?

    Sherry – you kill! It’s so rad that you shouldered your bike up Tabor, you animal. I think I’m headed for a Forest Park day when I get back into town, I miss ‘cross. :)

    Stephanie – you also kill. Spinning is hard as shit. That’s why I don’t do it ;)

  8. Say what you want about spinning (and thanks for the props, lady), but I will say that it is NOT slow cardio. And with the 2 people who I like to take classes from back to back–2 hours of spinning ideally twice a week–oh my goodness. I did the 2 hour spinning spell for the first time on my 30th birthday. BEST BEST BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER. My teacher, K, who was subbing for the first hour as well as teaching her class, played Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in both classes because she knows it’s my favorite.

    Tonight is my first post-teaching spinning extraveganza. I could hardly sleep last night because I was so excited. That excitement far outweighed my exhaustion from grading endless shitty papers. I nearly danced on the ice down my street to get to the bus stop. Listening to music on my way to work, I had to concentrate really damn hard for my legs to not go in circles as if on the cycle.

    Yay!

    (And I WILL say that since I got into the spinning in a big way it seriously upped my game with other cardio at my gym. Even my intervals workouts on the elliptical machines needed to be tweaked because even THAT–intervalsforfuckssake–seemed too slow and plain. And the extreme lower-body workout and need for core and upper-body stability really made me more focused on chese presses and upper body strength training all summer long. There is a damn good reason why my shoulders went from the curvy mess you saw in my faculty ID photo to the getting-some-actual-definition from back in September. It’s like a domino effect–extremely ass-kicking lower body cardio that requires a stable core and upper body requires hardcore core and upper body strength training if it is going to work.)

  9. You know what I mean…when everything clicks and you find that groove and you could just keep going forever
    When everything clicks it’s time to go see a knee doctor! ;-)

  10. To Steven,

    Hey, touche my man, you are right on. I have the scars to prove it….

  11. This is really beautiful. Running is not always like this for me, but sometimes it is, and it is like this often enough for me to keep going out the door for a run. You really captured it well.

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