Running used to be a punishment...
I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me: I hate running. Ok, so I guess it’s not so much a secret as it is something that I have made VERY clear to anyone who would listen, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Running and I have traditionally gotten along about as well as fire and…well, fire and anything.
Growing up playing football, running was punishment. Missed a blocking assignment? Take a lap. Bad attitude? Take a lap. Took too long to run a lap? Take a lap. Lost your mouthpiece? You get the idea. Suffice it to say, in my world, if you were running, that means you did something wrong.
Running as a bigger guy...
Aside from the negative associate I had with it, my relationship with that particular activity wasn’t helped by the fact that I was, and always have been, a “big dude.” Running was uncomfortable. I felt self-conscious about it. When I would work up the nerve go for a jog in my neighborhood, I was certain that everyone I passed was looking at me. “Aw, look at him. Bless his heart.”
To me, a big dude running wasn’t natural. It was like a glitch in the matrix. My lungs would burn, my chest and stomach would jiggle, and I moved at what couldn’t have been much faster than a light trot. And when I mercifully survived my ill-conceived endeavor, what was my reward? Chaffed thighs, sore feet, and shin splints. Sometimes, you just can’t win for losing.
I share this tale of woe with you only to say this: I’m getting back into running. Not so much back into, which implies that one was at some point actively engaged in something, as I am trying to develop the habit of running. What am I, crazy? I don’t know. Probably.
Realizing my wife may be delusional
My wife was a cross country runner in high school. Every time I think about the fact that people exist who run for fun, my brain begins to misfire a bit. And even though she always tells me how much she loved it and remembers those days fondly, I don’t believe her. Why she would lie about this I have no idea, but I know she’s up to something…
She’s shared with me the mythic concept of the runner’s high. Apparently, long distance runners sometimes reach a point during a session where they become euphoric, feeling at one with the road and unconcerned with physical discomfort. I told her that this was just a lack of oxygen reaching the brain, but she rejected this theory outright.
So, always one up for a challenge, we have begun to run together. That’s right, we are a jogging duo. Three times a week, we lace up our shoes and pound the pavement around our neighborhood. Slowly but surely, I’m trying to rid myself of the notion that running has to be a punishment. Maybe, just maybe, running can be its own reward.
Maybe this is that runner’s high I’ve been hearing so much about? Leave a comment below if you've ever achieved this "high"... And, in case you're on the same journey I am, here is a healthy snack to help make the next run a little more smooth: Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Edamame.
3 Surprises I've Experienced While Running
- There is a freedom in running out and about in the world; a feeling that you can go anywhere you want.
- Finishing a run really does provide a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
- Lung endurance actually builds faster than you expect, but you really do need to be consistent.