Hearts and bones

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle
when the sun comes up you’d better be running.

(But, unless you’re a runner, you won’t understand.)

-Anon

I figured it was time to talk about what Running means in my life, because we often “don’t know what we’ve got til it’s gone.”

I have run in both Paradise and parking lots, and continue to do so. Now that training is mostly focussed on a half-marathon, squeezing in one more day to go out and have fun trail running is not as easy. Sunday’s long runs take priority and galloping out on the trails on Saturday leaves me extra tired for a few hours of pavement on Sunday. Or, maybe I’m just getting old(er).

Regardless, I love running. As much as it scares me and exhausts me and challenges me, there is something so formidable! about getting out and seeing yourself succeed. Here are some reasons for a pretty amazing way to treat your body:

  1. I run for my kids. I am trying to set an example that physical activity should be is a part of life and one part of that for me is running. I think of my heart, pumping along, sustaining me, and think that I’ve probably added at least a few hours to my life by being out on the road.
  2. I experience the elements. Running through snow and wind? — done it. Running in a torrential downpour on race day that had participants soaked even before the start gun went off?– done it. (The rain and puddles just did NOT let up.) Run in heat, wade through rivers, and outrun bears — it’s all outdoors and gets your heart going.
  3. I run to relieve stress and slap on some confidence. Sometimes I plan my workouts so carefully and record each pace/km and minutes so microscopically you’d think I was a lab rat. But some days I do leave my Garmin behind, or at least stop looking at it, and just listen to myself breathe and let my feet carry me along. Nothing like endorphins to combat cortisol.
  4. I love people who run. Really, I run with a great group of people. We may not talk about anything else but how hard that last hill was to run up —backwards!– but I think runners mutually respect one another. We all have lives, we’ll get back to them, but when we are together we are there for each other. But, please, bring your own water bottle.
  5. It scares me. Track workouts and racing are my mental nemesis. I am scared and anxious (read: ill) before it starts, I worry about how much it will hurt and how I just. can’t. seem. to. go. any. faster. (How come everyone else makes it look so easy?) I’m always super relieved when it’s done, and each time it’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s a metaphor for how I see myself and how competitive I am with myself. I’m currently reading Rapid recovery: accelerated information process & healing by Stephen P. King. It’s about dealing with your mental anguish and calming right down. Definitely recommend it.
  6. I have a great run coach. He leads by example (he regularly competes in half- and full-ironman competitions) and is always really happy. He is Mr. Motivation. Who else smiles when he is knowingly torturing a large group of people? He leads really tough workouts that ultimately lead to success. I have had my biggest improvements in race times running on his program.
  7. I started running. I run for me-time. It’s much harder to get going than to stop. It’s hard when everything hurts and it’s new and it’s not really ‘fun’. As you start to feel more fit and your breathing is less laboured and your workouts feel stronger and suddenly — you are running — you also get the knowing, glowing sense of accomplishment. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other, but also about being willing to keep going and making that commitment to yourself, each time you double-knot your laces.
  8. It’s physique rewarding.

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4 thoughts on “Hearts and bones

  1. The mountain lions haven’t got me yet! Several dogs have come close though….. Thanks for the entertaining post! I totally relate. Now I REALLY want to get out running tomorrow! ( :

    • Thanks for reading. Dogs are great companions, but can also be a bane. I’ve heard horror stories of people being bitten, and size is no obstacle for a dedicated biter. Bears and mountain lions…? That’s a different story of survival.

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