Monday, October 5, 2015

The gift of not running

This October I am trying to give myself time to do more of those things that bring me joy. Writing is not always easy and there are times it feels as if there is nothing to say, but I am always glad when I take the time to pound out some thoughts on the keyboard. So this month I am trying to write more- whatever that may look like. In keeping with the theme of October as a gift, I will be writing about daily practices, habits or activities that I intentionally choose for myself and others. I think. Hopefully. We will see how this goes...


When I turned 40, I gave myself the gift of not running.

Before you spend too much time trying to puzzle out the metaphorical implications of what was surely a deeply symbolic gesture to myself, let me help you out. I mean I literally gave myself the gift of no more running.

I said to myself, "Self, you are 40. God willing you still have at least another 40 years of this life to enjoy and it is time to stop doing things you hate. You do not like running. You may stop. That is my gift to you. Love, Me."

And I have not run for exercise since.

I think it might be the best gift I have ever received.

It's not that I didn't ever get any satisfaction out of running. When I completed my first 10K there was a definite sense of accomplishment. There were days when my run actually bordered on some sort of feeling slightly below torture. And there were periods when running actually helped me to accomplish my aim of losing weight and increasing my overall fitness (which was always the only point).

But I was never a "runner". I never once experienced anything that could be described as a "runner's high". (Honestly, I am convinced that is a myth concocted by athletic companies in their quest to sell shoes.)

I was slow and plodding and pathetic looking in my running endeavors. I never set my sights above a 10K simply because I don't think anyone should spend more time running than it takes to watch a Law and Order episode. A 10K was already pushing the boundaries of that for me (which is why 5K's are so much more civilized) so anything upwards of that time and distance was off limits.

I spent a good chunk of my 20's and 30's attempting various versions of "running" (distance, intervals, HIIT etc...) but for the past five years I have woken up everyday and re-opened my gift to myself by saying, "You may do many, many things today. You will exercise and take care of yourself. But you do not need to run."

And I smile.

My walking buddy.
He gets me out even when it's rainy and wet.
Although, sometimes I think even he questions the sanity of the whole thing.

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