I have fallen in love with running again. Most days, anyway. I think it appeals to me so much because it parallels LIFE, or at least mine.
It is such a physical reminder to me that my best is the only thing that counts, and that comparing to other people usually leaves me discouraged, ashamed, or prideful. (Most times it is a combination of all three.)
For example, it seems as though it often happens that I get halfway through your workout and think, "Well, maybe I will just give myself a break today", not because I really need one, but because I don't want to have to try anymore. Just then, some super-lean Machine decked out in Eddie Bauer gear and a bright pink Ipod gets on the treadmill right next to me and proceeds to run twice as fast as me with seemingly NO effort. What the heck?
I am left to choose: I either could play the victim card as fast as I could, step off the treadmill trying to hide my scuffed tennis shoes with my head down, making no eye contact, and mumbling something about feeling sick
I could run at the pace I need, finish my race, and then smile nicely as I pick up the brand new Ipod that the Machine just dropped. On the way out, I feel great as I try really hard to not envy the Machine's perfectly sculpted buns of steel.
Running is one of the few activities without an element of distraction. When I ride a bike or walk, I can do all sorts of things to distract yourself from the pain and discomfort. I can read, watch TV, talk to a friend, etc. Running is too intense...if you do it well, I concentrate on my movements, on my breathing (and on not dropping off the back of the treadmill). I love that opportunity to focus; that forced chance to feel the pain, the momentum, the effort, and the exhilaration of doing something hard, and in doing it as well as I can.
I love that running is all about the journey. Running is not about the destination. If it was, most people would choose a destination on the other side of the block. The process of the journey is where joy resides. What a great physical demonstration of life! If one cant find the joy in the little steps which cumulatively form a great journey, then the journey is all for naught.
So even though my buns are closer to being aluminum foil than steel, I am a believer in the therapy of running. Critics claim it to be a rather radical and extreme form of therapy. Some even claim to prefer the controversial shock therapy. But supporters claim that nine mile runs in the rain can be as rejuvenating as seeing your husband scrub the toilet. What do you think? Tie on those shoes, get out the gym pass, and jump on a treadmill. Feel free to talk about your childhood, crazy parents, lost love, etc as you run. Oh, and by the way, if that is you in the Eddie Bauer tank, you dropped your Ipod.