I finish a run.
Then my wonderful running app kindly uploads the results from my smartphone into the digital realm of Facebook, so I can share my progress with my friends, associates and online running communities. I don’t mind sharing my results because I am proud of my personal achievements and the commitment to an exercise that literally requires blood, sweat and tears (although fortunately the blood thing was just a one off!)
In passing or in comments I often hear or read “You must be really happy with that result!”
And the simple answer is yes. I am happy with any result that somehow improves upon a previous performance, however the end result is only a fraction of the whole equation. Of course you could argue that running is about technique, stamina, pace and endurance; but it’s more than just the physical it’s also about the journey.
The peace of mind you acquire as your body begins to attune itself to its own rhythm, despite the struggle (at least for me) eventually all the individual notes come together; the way you breathe, your stride and beat of your heart begin to harmonise.
There is also an element of respect, not in an authoritarian sense, but you can never take your body or a running route for granted; just because I completed a particular route on one day does not provide a cast iron guarantee I’ll complete the distance the next time I attempt it.
People are totally unaware that most runners don’t wait for glorious sunny days and UV rays (living in the UK I’d have to wait a while for that!) I’ll run during the rain, on a blustery day, through the snow or on days where it feels like Thor, the Norse God of thunder, is right above me.
No one really wants to hear about the struggle; how running uphill takes everything I’ve got or just how often I cough, grunt and snarl. It’s unfortunate the Greek God Hermes was not feeling generous enough to bestow me with a naturally athletic, design frame. So it’s my physicality vs my mentality.
So why put myself through this grind?
Clearly there are health benefits, however truth be told I don’t know the full answer. Running affords me the opportunity to stay present and focus on the moment one step at a time. I love the kinship I feel when I cross the path of another runner, who makes me feel I am not alone with this weird physical addiction.
I feel connected to my ancestors who used this very same method of travel way before riding animals or developing mobile forms of transport were in vogue, not to mention it feels great to cover mileage, without starting an engine or needing to search for car keys.
So when I receive a passing comment on the result, does the unsuspecting commentator really want to hear, such a detailed monologue?
So I’ll just give the simple answer in the knowledge that the results are rewarding, but the real prize comes from the progress of attempting to embark on the journey in the first place!
Until next time.