The thing about running


Here’s the thing about running: I hate it. Hate. It. Which is a shame because it’s such a great workout. And because I’m receiving more and more invites from friends and relatives to run in 5Ks and half marathons, etc.

Sorry, folks. I don’t run. Unless I’m being chased.

I used to run. In high school, we would run for 10 minutes before the start of every volleyball practice. Some days we would run to one of the athlete’s homes, sit for 8 minutes and then run back to the gym.* During basketball season, I spent many a practice running line sprints. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I joined the track team.

It turns out I could run really fast for really short periods of time. Really, really short periods of time. Hence my former OK-ness with running line sprints. However, anything beyond 400 meters was problematic. Long-distance running was pure agony. Not because it hurt to run, but because it was so boring.

In college, I roomed with cross country and track athletes. I’d go play volleyball. They’d go for a run. And they would run and run and run and run. Every once in a while, they would ask me to join them for a jog, and I’d usually decline. The only time I ever ran is if our volleyball team was being punished for unsavory behavior like losing. We rarely ran.

On the odd occasion when I did consider going for a run, I’d make it about three minutes before I was certain I was dying and certain there were a million other things I could be doing. Apparently, peak volleyball-playing shape and peak running shape are two different shapes. Give me a bike, inline skates, an elliptical machine, anything, and I’m good to go. Just don’t make me run!

Of course, it never helped that the more volleyball I played, the more my knees (and other body parts) would scream NO WAY, JOSE, WE’RE NOT RUNNING whenever I thought about actually running.

These days when I’m at the gym, I wistfully watch individuals effortlessly** log mile after mile on treadmills. Leaving the gym, I watch others running down the sidewalks. Again, I’m wistful. Not wistful like “Gosh, I wish I could run like that” but wistful like “Gosh, I wish I liked to run.”

I think about my college roommates who have continued to run and run and run. Erin completed a marathon before giving birth to her son. She’s now training for a half marathon. Anna completed a half triathlon and ran right up until a few days before the birth of her son. Sixteen days post-delivery, she was out pounding the pavement again.

In fact, this coming weekend, Anna and her husband are competing in the Ford Ironman Louisville. 2.4 miles of swimming. 112 miles of biking. 26.2 miles of running. That’s a lot of miles of everything. I admire their courage, stamina and fortitude. And their insanity, because let’s face it, you have to be just a little bit insane to want to participate in an event like that. I wish them all the best and then some.

In October, I have family members participating in the Niagara Falls International Marathon, and I received an invite. Some of them are running. Some are walking. I applaud them for wanting to be active and for wanting to compete.

And, likely, I’ll be there in-person. To applaud them from the sidelines.

*Sorry, Coach Ellerbrock.
**As effortlessly as one can look running 6-minute miles.

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3 thoughts on “The thing about running

  1. Brianna says:

    I can’t agree with you more! I’ve even tried training for a 5K. I thought I was going to die. Went back to walking/biking/elliptical-ing. It’s nice to find someone else who feels the same way!

  2. jilladuling says:

    My other half always says: I only run if I’m being chased. Smart man.

  3. Lucas says:

    i only run if there’s a Frisbee to catch!

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