Running: A Perplexing Pastime

This morning, streams of runners passed in front of my house for an organized race. Some jogged, some ran, some walked fast. Some pushed strollers, while others walked hand in hand with a child.

They kept coming and coming, going from one point to another, simply to cover the distance and finish the journey. I am a big fan of exercise but have never quite understood running.

People close to me are avid runners who love the exhilaration of pushing to the finish line and feeling that heart-pump satisfaction after their morning outing. The buildup of sweat and energy is a huge release, they tell me, and it’s infectious – as my 7-year-old nephew explained, he didn’t like it at first and then he just couldn’t stop.

I envied his explanation. I want to feel that way about running because it is the easiest sport to adopt – go outside and just do it. Doesn’t matter where you are. Doesn’t really matter the temperature or the weather. Just run.

Like I said, I’ve tried. But I just don’t find it fun. And in my almost 43 years, I’ve realized that if a workout isn’t fun, I am not likely to do it.

With tennis, there is strategy and skill, movement and effort, body and mind. With yoga, there is the moving of energy, the beautiful music, the escape inside, to get right with what is real and what is not.

When I swim, the water lulls me into peace, and I sort things out in my head. I go back and forth, up the lane and down, breathing steady, going under the water and above it, and I feel exhilarated when I finish. Calm. Like a new day is dawning, no matter the time of day.

But running? I just can’t get into it. My instagam friends post awesome pictures of themselves at the finish line, in action, with spouses, big numbers pinned to their shirts.

Friends of mine connect by running together almost every day. It’s a community-building sport.

And one that still perplexes me.

On an average evening at our house, we count the joggers passing outside. Some look constipated and miserable, others look on top of the world. Some have socks pulled up  high, others tight black shorts, others still jog in skirts to preserve modesty.

The whole world brings to running (and really, to any sport) there perspective on life. They do it for a variety of reasons and end up with the same shared satisfaction of crossing a finish line, a job well done.

The streams of runners are continuing to pass in front of my house. It’s been going now for about a half hour and they continue to come.

The sun is bright in the sky. It looks to be a fabulous day. I guess some people just got a bigger start to it.

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