Well, it’s finally time I wrote that love letter to running.
I’ve always hesitated for a few reasons.
- In a world full of runners, my meager efforts have never felt that exciting or noteworthy. And sure, runners are nice enough to encourage and celebrate each other, but running is also a competition. It is mostly a competition between yourself today and yourself three months ago, but you’re still always competing with some someone. So I’ve always been scared to be like, “YO I’M A RUNNER LET ME TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE IT,” in case some actual runner sees it and laughs at me.
- Did I actually love running? I mean, I definitely do now for many reasons I’m going to tell you about, but at first, for a long time, I think I mostly just liked being able to brag about running. Or maybe after the fact, I’d be like, “That was awesome!” but almost never during an actual run did I think, “This is a joy!”
But now, fuck all that. I’M A RUNNER AND I LOVE IT.
I love running SO. MUCH. But also, I hate it a lot?
I think of all those things that start to happen to your body as you run as fun by products I can brag about, but also, they completely suck! I don’t want to lose a toenail a month before my wedding! (Toenail status: holding strong, think I can get it to hang on until October.) I’m tired of being so sweaty my feet feel like they weigh 100 pounds because my shoes are basically POOLS. I’m tired of having cuts all over my body from something rubbing the wrong way, fixing one to only have another appear the next day. I’m tired of trying so hard to get faster and instead getting slower somehow? I’m tired of hills. I’m tired of being SO THIRSTY I’M GOING TO DIE and then breaking onto a tennis court to steal water and drinking so much I now feel that death is actually imminent and oops, I still have to run home.
But even during my very worst runs on my very worst days, I still love running more than almost anything I do (obviously not more than reading, don’t be crazy).
It’s taken me a long time to actually love running and not just what happens to you when you run. Like the running part? I love that.
- I love when I’m starting to freak out about the perpetual hill that is Country Club Road in LaGrange (it’s an actual half mile of straight up that I cover on the last half mile of every long run) and there’s nothing to do but to keep going and then all of sudden I finally crest the top of it and I’m moving so fast again and I’m suddenly so proud and so happy and so strong.
- I love when I whine and whine and whine about going and then instead of just being a baby, I’m a baby who actually does what she says she’s going to do. And I start that run and all that whining is done (jokes, it will come back at mile 7 guaranteed).
- I love the time it takes. Sometimes I hate the time it takes. But mostly I love the time I devote to myself, by myself, for myself.
- I love that it gives me even more time to read! Audio books are where it’s at, you guys.
- I love that it’s helped me know my body remarkably well. If only everyone could listen to their body, the world would be completely different.
- I love that it’s made me somehow stronger, tougher, calmer, and more rational while also making me more emotional, more sensitive, more passionate, and wilder.
- I love the pure joy and relief I feel on a rest day. I earned that rest day. I don’t have to run!
- I love the days I do have to run! I get to run today!! HOW EXCITING.
- I love the chocolate donut I get for myself on every long run day.
- I love that for some people, it’s so easy and so not a big deal, but for me, I have to work really hard to only wait months and months to see a difference. Hard work is pretty amazing.
- I love that it’s literally all for me. No one else cares if I run 11 miles. No one else cares if I hit my goal time in the half marathon I’ve been planning to run for impossibly long (I’m not crazy enough to run my first half in Georgia in summer). I care, though. I care so much. And I’m so proud to devote so much time to something that will never make me an all star in anyone else’s eyes but has already made me one in my own.
- I love that running has taught me, finally, that I have no limits. Will I run 50 miles run day? I seriously hope not, but I know that if I wanted to do it, I would damn well do it.
I would have never known that when I started running 1.5 miles five days a week with my sweetest Ella two years ago, that I’d end up here, in love with running. And I’ve learned, the hard way, that it’s not inevitable. You won’t necessarily love running if you just keep doing it for two years until it finally clicks.
But if you’re really lucky, you just might. And then! How truly amazing.