Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy National Running Day!

Thanks to MizFit’s post today, I learned it is National Running Day. So in honor of all of you crazies (and I love you!) who run for fitness, including those of you training ala C25K and on your own, I confess my running prejudice and reformation.

It’s our nature that when we’re told we can’t do something, we either try to do it anyway, or we convince ourselves that whatever we’re not supposed to do is stupid and we hate it, even though secretly we’re angry that we can’t do it. That’s how it was (PAST tense) with me and running (and skiing).

Since my first knee surgery in 1977 (I was 14), I’ve been told repeatedly to not run or ski. Ergo, I began to consider each of them a waste of time.

Yet some of my best friends are runners. Heck, my husband’s been running for 30+ years. But I never understood their passion. To me, running was nothing more than sending your knees and feet to an early grave.

But I changed my mind on a quiet Sunday morning a few years ago. I started out with my typical Sunday workout intention: to ride my bike up to the track, walk a few miles, then ride home. Like oatmeal or white bread, Sunday workouts are bland but familiar.

I got to the track and walked the first quarter mile, same as I always do. Then I remembered the dream I had the night before – a recurring dream I had every few weeks in which I ran around an obscure track, being timed by a coach. I thought about how as a kid I loved to run just for the sake of running, and how long it had been since I’d run anywhere, and how if this was thousands of years ago and I was one of the early humans who fell out of the trees and stood erect and went hunting, I’d have been one of the first ones eaten.

But on that Sunday morning, with no one was around to critique me and no predators to eat me, I…well…kinda decided to run. Not far – a quarter to a half mile tops, and only in 100-yard spurts – but it was far enough to make me completely change my opinion of running and runners.

I used to think that since I could walk a 12-minute mile, it was close enough to running. Man, was I wrong. Running is so much more than walking. It’s child-like! It’s a rush! The wind feels different, the air smells different, and all your body mechanics are in hyper mode. In just a few hundred yards, I had a small sense of what runner’s mean by a “runner’s high.”

Back in reality, I know I’ll never actually BE a runner, but I’m glad I tried it again. I appreciate my running friends that much more, and as for that recurring dream, I never had it again. Next up may not be skiing, but I am going to try snowshoeing this winter.

So to all my runner friends and runner bloggers and my daughter Cassie who recently became addicted to 5Ks, happy National Running Day! I love your stamina and enthusiasm. Long live your knees, hips, toes and lungs!

9 comments:

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

Love this! I've just started running again and continually ask myself why I ever stopped. It is so freeing!

Jeanelle said...

Oh, I do relate. I loved to run until I had a terrible whip lash accident when I was 19. I try occasionally to run, but I pay with much neck pain. Sometimes when I'm walking, I have to break out in a run. It feels SO good, and I always think how blessed are the people who can run and enjoy it!

Lori said...

Happy running day. I miss running less than I thought with this injury, but it does feel good to start to get back into it.

Shelley said...

I love that it's running day AND my birthday - feels like the universe is trying to tell me that it's ok for me to run at my advanced age!

Emily said...

Dang! I didn't today was National Running Day... guess someone will be running tonight! Love it! It's my new favorite exercise and running *almost* barefoot is the best way for me.

Emily said...

Gosh darn it! I mean to say *realize* it was Nat'l Running Day.

carla said...

I ran.
I proud.
I not addicted at all :) but I do think my heart appreciates it and, for now, my knees arent rebelling :)

debby said...

Yes, that's how I felt the first time I tried to run--childlike, loving the feel of the wind. Its not gonna be a regular thing for me with my knees and my back, but when everything seems to be working, I give it a try.

Christine said...

I love this post! It's very well written -- I love the predator analogy! So did you get out there and run in honor of the holiday? Keep up the awesome work!