Today I went for my first run in a week. Runs have been sporadic lately. My aim was to incorporate lifting more into my routine this winter, and I have, but not as regularly as I’d planned. I have discovered that there’s just something about running… here’s a little more about why I love to run.
Yes, me, vociferous hater of running just said, “I love to run”. I still hate it sometimes, too. But here are a few reasons why I have come to love it…
Time to myself, all to myself
In the gym, where I lift, there are usually other people – they are also usually nice and polite, but try as I might I cannot make them disappear (haha, I kid, sort of). So running trumps lifting for me in this regard.
Also, I remember when I had my kids I became obsessed with finding the perfect jogging stroller. It made sense because I love getting two things done at once. Giving my kids the opportunity to be outside while I got in a workout seemed like a great idea. Soon I realized stroller running was not all that I’d imagined. Every few minutes someone needed something or someone dropped something or someone was kicking someone. And a few times someone would throw a tantrum when we were a few miles from home. I found myself full of anxiety, sprinting home. I hated stroller running.
After that, I worked more with my partner on designing a schedule that would enable regular runs for us both. And I learned that sometimes I don’t want to do it all – it is ok to occasionally hire a babysitter to go for a run. $20 is less than I’d pay to take a class in NYC anyway, and it is worth it for my sanity.
I remember my boss telling me she does her best thinking in a nice hot shower, the longer the better. I think I do my best thinking on runs, the longer the better. Both situations are problematic in terms of recording and therefore remembering ones great ideas, but I usually retain 50% of my big ah-has. It’s not often in this day and age that I am away from my phone for such an extended time and free of distraction. Both of these things, I’ve discovered are necessities for creative thought, and running affords me them.
Plus, endorphins. I don’t know that the science says, but I’m convinced they prime me to explore a wacky idea more than I would normally.
As I dropped the kiddos off at school, the sun was peeking out from a building to the east. The air was dense, but it looked as if the sun would break through and burn off the low clouds. Fifteen minutes later I was in my running gear and heading out, and the sun was nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden it was a grey and foggy day. I could smell fumes from the standing busses and exhaust from the big trucks. Something about it made me thing of my trips to China and India. Bad air quality, I suppose. Good thing I was heading for Central Park. Even in a city like Manhattan and even when it is filled with neighbors and tourists or rain and snow, there is something healing and rejuvenating about being amongst the trees and hills and ponds.
On the rare occasion that I travel, exploring a city via running is one of my favorite pastimes. You cover more ground than you would walking and you see more than you would driving. It’s perfect.
One thing I can control
I remember when I went back to work more than a year after having the twins. The idea that I could step away from my desk and get coffee at a time that I decided upon (so long as I didn’t have a meeting that interfered) without dragging two small humans along with me was powerful and freeing.
Still, even though I am long back to work, there’s so much I can’t control in a day – how a pitch I make at work will land, what small move will set off a toddler, the mood of my partner when he returns from work – the list goes on. Running, though, is in my control. Of course, some days we feel better than others and sometimes we are battling injuries, but for the most part, I decide how far, how fast and where to go. And the rest of the day I have something good to look back on.
Even if my day is crap, at least I moved my body and freed my mind.
These are the reasons why I love to run. Why do you?