I used to think runners were gluttons for punishment. I never understood why people voluntarily ran…for fun. I was the kid in gym class that DREADED the mile-run in P.E. class. 10-ish minutes of torture. I would think to myself, “Can I please just go back to playing my piano and laughing with my friends like a normal music-geeky highschooler? Running is pointless!”
Fast-forward a decade. I’m in my kitchen talking with a friend. She has this new zest for life after losing 50-ish lbs and has since turned into a tri-athlete. She says to me, “Heather, you should train for the Disneyland ½ Marathon with me!” To this day, I have no idea what came over me, but I instantly agreed to the idea.
That next month or two I ran consistently 3-4x a week. Hated it. Flashbacks to P.E. class. Missed my piano. In pain. Bah! Until…I had a breakthrough moment. My first 5-mile run. This was the day that I realized the first 3 miles were the hardest, but after that, I started to get into this zone where I felt like I could run indefinitely. I was no longer panicked or in pain, and I felt EXHILARATED afterwards. I started finding other friends that shared this new passion of mine. I explored various running routes in Portland. And I CONQUERED the ½ Marathon!
Now…I get it. I understand “those” people that run for fun. Exercise releases those ‘feel-good’ brain chemicals that decrease depression, boosts self-confidence with every goal obtained, and creates another avenue to socialize with others. While you don’t have to spontaneously start training for 13.1 miles, I would encourage all my clients to find something active that gives them these benefits and brings them joy.
"There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time." - Born to Run