Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Running: A Consideration

Running is a solitary act. Even when running beside my friend, I am alone in my pain, alone with my aching knees and my tingling feet. I run first and foremost in my head, perhaps in my solitary consciousness, alone with my thoughts and my doubts. But when running alone, with my friend, I run, somehow, through the doubts and the pain to the end, wherever that is, wherever I have decided beforehand to stop. Though I am tired and thirsty, though I swear in my mind at the lack of water, and rethink everything I ate or drank the day before, I finish.
I don't even like running. Really. But somehow, despite that, or perhaps because of it, I ran 13 miles.
Once, not too long ago, when I was watching TV and there was a guy in running shoes and shorts and a T-shirt, I felt a rev in my body, a physical reaction that said, "Run!"
Today, while doing my "recovery" workout, I wanted to get off the damn bike and onto the treadmill. For once, I considered my knees and did not run.
But I can see now, I can understand in my fundamental human condition, why people run, and why I know for certain that I will run again. Maybe not 13 miles, but I will run.


Sleepy E said...

Running is terrible for you, but for cardio nothing beats it. My pops always says that it takes 3 weeks to acquire or break any habit, but it took me a full 2 months 2 years ago to get in the habit of running (I was training for the LA marathon, yeah, right). After that though, I admit, I started to get addicted. This lasted for 2 months before I injured myself doing a 10-miler. I haven't been able to get a consistent regimen since. I've decided to take swim lessons as a 34-year old, in hopes that this will get me to the pool.

lis said...

A faculty member at the college (can't remember her name at the moment) was lamenting to me once about how she used to run, but because of an injury she can only run slowly on a treadmill. "And that," she said, "Is about as good as kissing your sister." Amen.

And E, I took swimming lessons at 29 and it was pretty great. I haven't done much swimming since, but it was liberating finally being able to swim straight across a pool.

Lisa B. said...

Swimming rocks. I used to swim a mile a day, and it's the most awesome exercise--something about the no talking makes it especially great. Counting my laps came to seem like a meditation.

Also, Dr., you have changed your template. It briefly disoriented me.

Counterintuitive said...

A great, the greatest I think, read on running that fleshes out the "why would anyone run?": Running and Being by George Sheehan. As a teenager I picked up the term ectomorph from Sheehan's book. It was sweet solace to realize being skinny had benefits and that by being an ectomorph I was a different kind of animal, a scrappy lean fighter as Sheehan insists.

Wish I could find my copy--I loaned it to somebody and they never returned it. I hate it when that happens.