Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My love/hate relationship with running

Today's running achievements:

1) I actually went running. Like outside and everything. In a forest.
2) I didn't get lost in the forest.
3) I didn't fall this time!

So all in all it's been a good morning. Let me backtrack a bit.

I have this love/hate relationship with running. Runners intimidate me. They're more intense then postal service workers. Why? Because they are so effing committed to running that they will go out in absurd weather like a freak hail storm... that turns into freezing rain... with wind gushing about, and they go out there just to run around. They're not running to anything or from anything, but merely practicing in case something comes up where they will need to run 10-20k without stopping and live to tell the tale.

So their intensity intimidates me. I like to run, but I don't by any means call myself a runner. But why does that stop so many of us from getting out there? You don't have to be a professional (or stuck in a maze with no memory- James Dashner reference) to run.

A friend of mine invited me out to run a few days ago through this awesome conservation area, and I love a good outdoor adventure, so I couldn't say no (especially since I was just going to workout indoors). It was a short run, but a run none-the-less. And I did fall, but that's to be expected when you add in the fact that I'm extremely clumsy and also that the forest is filled with tree roots that stick out of the ground.

Today was gorgeous outside so I decided to venture out on my own. I started at the same spot as last time, and I swear my inner bird/turtle senses kicked in and I was able to retrace the exact route through the forest trails without getting lost. This was unbelievable. Every time I came upon a landmark that I recognized, I felt a little ping of joy and relief that I wouldn't have to call Search-and-Rescue to come find me.

My 30 minute gallivant through the woods wasn't intense. I walked up the really steep hiking hills instead of running them. I took interval walking breaks when my lungs were burning like they had been sprayed with sulphuric acid. But I did the complete loop. And truthfully, the feeling afterwards when you've just completed a run is amazing.

Image from Friends. The one where Phoebe runs.
It actually makes the whole thing worth it. I mean, it's great to be out in nature, away from the people and the sounds of traffic. I could have easily just hiked the trails instead of running them. But sometimes you wanna feel like a kid again and just run for no apparent reason. Run like no one is watching you.

I hate running because I suck at it, by a runner's definition. Tomorrow my TFLs and IT bands will be sore and achy; and yes my lungs worked harder than ever to keep up to me, but at the same time I love running because it's movement. I get antsy and I need to go do something... work my muscles... burn some energies... strengthen muscles... breath fresh air and get sunshine on my skin.

Running might be a pain in the ass (and legs) for most of us, but it's nice to get out there every once in a while. You don't have to be a track star, a chronic jogger or a marathon runner to go outside and run. I've had days where I've gotten home from work/school and literally just went for a run around the block because I needed to move. And sometimes that amount is enough for me.

Looking back on this experience, the lesson is this: Don't be intimidated to move around, workout, or get any sort of physical exercise. There's no one to measure up to. Do only what you can physically do, but do something. Even if it's just walking for 20-30 minutes. And now that the weather is beautiful again, there's no better time to start.