5 REASONS TO RUN

May 26, 2015

I love treating runners.  I love, love, love it.  Not because I’m a runner myself, and not just because runners tend to be concerned for their own health and well-being (although I do love that about them).  Runners are a cohort of people that have an energy all unto themselves, and I love being a part of their journey.

run for the voices2I’ve been a runner now for 13 years.  Prior to 2002, I was an outright non-runner; my running experience was the sum of sprinting to catch buses combined with failed attempts to circle the track in high school.  The first time I attempted to run on purpose for recreation was in the summer of 2001.  I heroically clambered onto the treadmill at work (I was a personal trainer then) and decided to “run a short mile.”  I thereafter decided that running was an evil thing designed to break even the strongest of people, and I didn’t attempt it again for almost a year.

  1. Run for the silence.
Glorious.

Glorious.

Runners often run to get away from problems.  I was not  exception when running finally stuck for me in 2002.  I was in a bad relationship.  I was an overweight personal trainer feeling inept and sorry for myself.  It was almost my 21st birthday.  I needed a kick in the ass.

So I decided to train for a triathlon.

The running was hell, I’m not going to lie.  Swimming and biking were fine, but there was something about running that set off my inner demons like nothing else.  I felt crazy running most of the time, not to mention sweaty, winded, wheezy and inelegant.  My head would fight me the whole time, at first, but soon I noticed moments of silence in my head.  Really, really nice silence.  This kind of silence was different than the awkward moments on the phone with a new boyfriend.  This silence was peaceful, I realized, and I began to crave it more than I hated feeling winded.  So I continued to run.

  1. Run for the voices in your head.

Running makes you realize you’re a little nutty.  Maybe nutty for running in the first place, who knows.

run for the voicesThe voices in my own head reared up immediately and sneered at me, What on earth do you think you’re doing?  This isn’t possible, you know.  You’ll try and fail.  Don’t even bother. Just quit.  And on and on.  I started to run for those voices, though, because you know what?  They’re easily beaten.  And once you beat them off, you win.  They come back, and you beat them again. And you win again.  And eventually you realize that you’re better than your voices.  You realize you’re better than your demons.

And you realize you’re still running.

  1. Run for the killer legs

One thing I notice amongst all of my running clients is that they have really strong legs.  It doesn’t matter if the client is young or old, slim or stocky, male or female.  They all have killer, tough legs that don’t quit.  I can spot a runner a mile away now, just by the legs.  It’s great.

run for the stories 1

We all want nice legs, don’t we?  Well, running does that.  And I won’t even mention all the cool running tights that look amazing on toned, lean legs.  Ok I will mention it: running tights come in all sorts of cool patterns now, from swirly galaxy ones to fish-scale ones to ones with all the leg muscles drawn on.  Tights should actually be a reason unto themselves to run.

  1. Run for the hardware

Free shirt, chunky medal, crowds of people cheering you on.  What could be better?  Most of the time I’m not excited about receiving a participation award; in fact, I believe it’s a huge blunder on the part of school systems and recreational sports teams that they grant losing teams awards for just showing up.run for the hardware

Somehow, though, running is the exception to this rule.  Running is a solitary sport.  Everybody can win because everyone is playing against themselves; the only exception is the elite runners, who are actually running against the pack because that’s their job.  For the rest of us: you cross that finish line and you’ve done it.  You deserve that hunk of aluminum, and so does everyone else who fought their demons and pushed on for the last number of minutes and hours.

I remember my first ever medal, for that infamous triathlon I set out to complete in 2002.  I thought the whole time that I was going to drown, fall off my bike, and trip, respectively, but I did none of those things.  Instead, I won against my inner demons and my body’s complaining and I beat back the loser in me.  I was so proud of myself that I cried, and that medal hangs on my wall today to remind me where I’ve come from.

  1. Run for the stories

Whether you’re a solitary or group runner, you amass quite a few stories along the way (and I get to be privy to many of them while massaging people).  I’ve heard stories of tears, of triumph, of hysteria and hardship, and they are all essential pieces of the epic story that makes up Your Running Life.

Yes.

Yes.

Life seems richer when you run regularly; you encounter people (and often their dogs), places (with and without mud puddles), and experiences (closed roads, icy paths, crazy weather and bathroom troubles, to name a few) that you never would encounter otherwise.

The running community is full and diverse, and can provide a contentment and enrichment to life that is unmeasurable.  My mother, who is now a 7-time marathoner, has forged deep friendships with a group of running friends that she calls her Sole Sisters.  Their stories can entertain me for hours; they’ve been lost, got stuck in snowdrifts, tripped by dogs on leashes, and nearly peed their pants laughing multiple times along the running trails.  Friendships and stories like theirs are part of the reason running reaches so many.

Whether you run for the reasons above or for other reasons, running is a pretty great sport.  It’s easy to learn, it can be inexpensive to begin (all you really need are shoes), and it’s benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh its evils.  You can run all the time, or only occasionally, but the road is always there waiting for you, and it never really changes, even when you do.  It’s predictable, grounding, and even though it can be extremely challenging, it can also transform you into the best version of yourself.

 

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen