Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it. – Oprah Winfrey
Running — it’s a lifestyle not a sport.
I do admit, pre-run I can get nervous. I’m usually worried about how many dogs are going to chase me, yapping at my toes as I go, and which fully-grown adult Olympians who run marathons for fun will pass me this time. I also worry about the little things, like my earphones falling out, or my shoelaces untying. And what if I need to go to the toilet half way through? — Whilst running seems like an easy sport, there can be many complications involved (though most of which are simply in my head).
But once I’m out, 2km down and getting into a rhythm, I love it! The wind blowing in my face (which is usually pink with exhaustion, I have a really unattractive running face, although I don’t think such a thing exists!?), the freedom of being able to go anywhere, without being weighed down by clunky machinery and sweaty helmets. A little guilty pleasure of mine is passing walkers whilst en route; it reminds me of the scene in Ice Age 3 where the antelope speeds passed an out of breath Diego exclaiming “My hooves are burning, baby! They are burning! Look at this. I got to tip-toe! I got to tip-toe! Eat my dust, dingo!”.
The sheer simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other, crunching through the kilometres, being out of breath with my hair springing loose from its once-neat bundle. 30 mins, an hour, two hours to shut out the world and focus on running. One of my favourite things to watch on YouTube is olympic athletes training; they’re so inspirational and incredibly fit! Sometimes, whilst running, I imagine the commentators sitting in their little box, announcing every little detail of the run: “and she’s making an overtaking move on the inside, past the old woman with the little shaggy dog, and can she make it across this puddle without getting soaked through?”, that is, if I can hear my thoughts over the booming music ringing in my ears!
All these details – both minor and fundamental – just come with running, and they’re what makes runners have such great bond. A running buddy is something which I’ve never really had. I’ve occasionally gone out with my brothers and a few friends during athletics, but I’m usually on my Sunday morning 5km run alone. The relationship between two workout buddies is something to be cherished. My friend and I are currently doing a ’30 Day Ab Challenge’ together, and little texts saying “Just completed today’s workout, the crunches were killer! Have you seen how long our plank is tomorrow?!” are very unique, which I love!
Of course, I track all of my runs on my app Runkeeper, which can make becoming obsessed with PBs for elevation climb, average pace, distance etc very easy! Whilst the little updates every 5 minutes on how I’m doing are helpful, they can get a little irritating at times, especially when they interrupt my favourite song!
So, apparently running is a lifestyle, not a sport. Why? I get way more out of my run when, instead of fitting it around my day, I fit my day around my run; it becomes the main event, and that’s how I like it. I’m naturally really competitive, and that little fight is always inside me to go that extra 2km, or get my pace up, and sometimes a 4km run can quickly become much more. It’s like sugar: addictive. My Mum always says that exercising is something that you’ll never regret afterwards, and the sense of achievement and purpose you feel afterwards is overwhelming!
I hope that I continue to grow as a runner, and enjoy it more and more. Remembering why you run, and why you started is paramount in sticking with it. Sometimes, we can go on autopilot, especially when running the same route week in week out, I like to mix it up and explore different routes to keep the interest. Running is amazing, and often a sport (or lifestyle!) that is overlooked. Runners are hard core, and, maybe one day I’ll become one of those ‘fully-grown adult Olympians who run marathons for fun’ – as quoted by me!