When we last saw our heroine, she was running…and running and running. Here’s what she learned along the way.
5 Things Running Taught Me
Don’t complain. Some people spend their entire lives in wheelchairs or hospitals. They would love to be able to whine about how they “have” to run in the rain/wind/snow/heat. Get over yourself.
Don’t brag. There is always someone who can’t run as far as you, but also always someone who can run farther, faster, more gracefully.
Enjoy it. I used to ask my running group, So when does this Runner’s High I’m always hearing about kick in? And they would laugh at me. Loudly. Like I was trying to be funny. I confess, I rarely felt that surge of renewed energy, and it never lasted (dammit). Now I think of Runner’s High as embracing your commitment and letting go of expectations. Well, I’m out here for the long haul, I may as well enjoy myself. And then you do! The sky so blue overhead…or some gorgeous marbled grey. The sun came up today! Yay! Imagine if it didn’t! See, always something to be grateful for. The high is also about the trail, which is in constant dialogue with your body. The trail is a straight shooter, my friend. It does not dole out flattery. But it when you’re done, you appreciate that the trail makes you earn it.
You need a Big Why. Running is like any challenge in life: When it gets long and boring or steep and tough, you need high-octane sustenance, a reason to hang on. Why are you here, on this trail, at this moment? If you can’t answer that, your feet/knees/lungs will. The one with the better answer wins.
Whoop it up! One day, on a very steep stretch, when the road refused to flatten out for me, I just let out a Charlie Brown-style “Aaaarg!” while running. Then another, louder one. It gave me energy. It validated me. What I was doing was hard, and I was not going to take it silently. I worked—I crested the hill and shot over the top. Now I just holler whenever I’m running and losing steam. Why not? Weightlifters do it in competitions all the time. But more importantly, I holler when I’m having fun. I holler when I’m in the zone and the road is just flying under my feet. I run like a Banshee, wailing on the uphill, kindergartener-crazy with joy on the downhill. Why not? Running is a full-throttle engagement. You might as well let the universe know what you’re up to. Run like a banshee and make some righteous noise!