“Why would anyone choose to run?” The other day my daughter and I discussed my weekly yoga and running routine and her self-proclaimed dislike of running. This perspective of hers always makes me chuckle because she’s very athletic and actually pretty good at running – when she wants to run. “I mean, I get it if you’re running after a ball to make a play in a game or running for your life, but I just don’t get why people run for fun.”
“Because it IS fun.” The look on her face was priceless. She was as convinced as she would be if I was trying to sell her air. I was faced with a beautiful challenge. How could I share with her why people liked, and even loved, to run? How could I show her why I enjoy it?
So, while I was out on my run today I did some soul searching. What was it about this activity that made me happy? In junior high school I danced. In high school I played field hockey. I developed a knee injury in both knees (Chondromalacia of the Patella) and couldn’t run for a while after my senior season, but it improved, and I have been running ever since. Why?
In high school I ran because I was told to. It was part of playing field hockey. I ran in college. A lot. I ran because it was during that time my mom got sick at the start of her long illness and was in a coma. My safe place became the gym and field house at University of Rhode Island. Most people gained the “Freshman Fifteen.” I lost fifteen pounds.
Running became my way of coping with life events that were out of my control. I could clear my mind and think. By running I could manage the stress of school and family. I could make things better. I felt better both physically and emotionally.
But is that really “fun”?
I ran in graduate school. I still ran after I got my first job. I became the Freshman Field Hockey coach at the high school in the first school district I ever worked in. Coaching was fun! When the girls ran our 2 miles during practice I ran with them. I moved from New England to California after I got married. I started a regular yoga practice and kept running. Yoga has helped me in so many ways, even made me a better runner! I don’t run marathons or even half-marathons. I don’t even time myself anymore, but I run.
I’m still running today at 45 years old. I’ve tried to just walk, but I always end up running. I get a lot out of running. I love how I feel after I’ve been running for a little while. Maybe it’s the “runner’s high”. Maybe it’s the cardio workout. Maybe it’s because it keeps me feeling healthy and strong. Maybe it’s the way running helps me process and release my stress. Maybe it’s the way being out on a run is sacred “Wendy Time” where I think, come up with great ideas, find solutions to problems and even plan my writing. I’m sure it’s a combination of all these things.
To me, running is fun because it makes my life better. I feel like a better “me” after I finish a run. There’s a great saying out there, “You’re only one run away from a better mood.”
I know not everyone likes to run. My daughter certainly doesn’t. But we all have something we do because it’s fun, we love it, and it makes our lives better.
What’s your “run”? Keep the “fun” in your “run”. Spread the joy!