The love/hate relationship I have with running

Photo Credit: Adrian Lee
Photo Credit: Adrian Lee

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to running.

I think most runners do. After all, who in their right mind would want to wake up in the wee hours of a weekend morning and run with a bunch of strangers for many many miles just for a shiny piece of metal? But it isn’t just about that shiny bling  (Okay maybe some part of it is). I’ve recently discovered the joy of running when there isn’t a medal involved too, and it’s not half as bad as I thought it would be.

The whole process itself is a roller-coaster. I start every run feeling excited, which then translates to, “Oh God why did I even get out of bed this morning?!”, which then turns to “This place is pretty. Look at the trees/houses/road/cat/squirrel!”  which then turns back to me grumbling away, questioning my sanity. This cycle goes back and forth until I see the finish line and I am hit by a sense of achievement and accomplishment that comes right after every race, which is priceless.

At the recent CAPAM International Run, held in Putrajaya.
At the recent CAPAM International Run, held in Putrajaya.

So apart from the rush of adrenaline and the all-good feeling that comes from post-run endorphins, WHY do we run? If you’re a runner, please feel free to drop a comment on why you decided to take up running 🙂

1. I run because I can’t do anything else that is even remotely connected to exercise. 

Okay that’s not entirely true – A while back, I was into horseback riding, and did that for a couple of years. Riding a horse isn’t as easy as it seems, and contrary to popular belief, you don’t just ‘sit there’ and let the horse do all the work, but that’s a different story altogether.

Most of the time I am pretty sedentary. I spend my life sitting down, working in front of a computer. If I was at home, I’d be sitting on the couch, watching TV. Or if I was out with my friends, we’d be sitting at a cafe somewhere. ‘Sitting’ seems to be the common denominator here.  It was all fine and fun until I realized how much trouble I had climbing up one flight of stairs. It  was so easy for me to get tired even if I’ve had 8 hours of sleep the night before and minimum activities during the day. Years of bad diet and poor habits have caught up with me, and it got worse when I could no longer afford horseback riding lessons. Running is an easy sport to get into (it’s relatively cheap after you’ve gone through the initial purchase of proper shoes). All you have to do after that is to find a park to run in. A few months after I started running, a lot of things began to change. I supplemented my running with some basic yoga, and it improved my health quite significantly. I don’t wheeze as much as I used to (I tend to get wheezy when it’s cold). I’m more energetic and focused these days, and I’ve been told all that hydrating has done wonders to my skin.

2. Outdoors, outdoors! 

Trees, check. Grass, check. Lake, check. Clouds, check. Sky, check!
Trees, check. Grass, check. Lake, check. Clouds, check. Sky, check!
A little hazy, but it's still quite the view.
A little hazy, but it’s still quite the view.
This track is at a park in Kepong.
This track is at a park in Kepong.

I never knew how much I loved the outdoors until I started spending time outside. I highly recommend it. The trees, the grass, the sky (depending on the haze situation ya. Running in thick haze isn’t a good definition of what healthy is) – The sights and sounds, and generally just being among nature takes your mind off the daily rat race and refreshes your body. This is why I’m starting to lean towards trail running. I like road running for the training, but trails would be the ultimate goal, for me.  Did I mention that I highly recommend going outside? Really, shut down that computer and quit staring at your phone screen. Go outside for a while. It’ll be fun!

3. The Races 

Holy moly, look at that crowd!
Holy moly, look at that crowd!

Most runners will tell you that the only race they’re running is with themselves and this is true. Trying to compare yourself with another runner (especially the seasoned ones) is a sure-fire way to make you miserable, especially when you’re just starting out. I made this mistake when I first started running, wanting to always keep up with faster runners only to hurt myself in the process.

The right level of competitiveness is a good thing, I admit, but pushing yourself to the point of injury just to shave a few seconds off your time is a bit much. The races themselves are a really fun affair. It can be a very calming experience to run out there on your own but when you run with a whole group of people, the energy just buzzes through you throughout the whole run and resonates within you for hours afterwards. I love the whole process of stepping at the starting line and taking off, and running on unfamiliar trails with dozens of spectators cheering you along the way.

So, these are just some of the reasons why I run. Why do you run? 🙂

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. rungirlierun says:

    So i can eat amazing food ! Like you I struggle with it, some days it feels perfect and I’m in tune, others it’s a battle. But it gives me purpose, calmness, fitness and a different perspective on life. It’s an endurance thing, life is a path…..

  2. ikakoeck84 says:

    Hi Rungirlierun. Thanks for commenting!

    Ah yes, the food! I like how you describe that it gave you a different perspective on life and how it’s an endurance thing. It’s very true. I didn’t realize how much it can do for the mind. – Life is movement. Movement is life.

  3. Love and hate perfectly describes my relationship with running as well! Just because i run so much people think that i’m in love with it. Number 2 & 3 applies to me. Sometimes also gives me moments of super clarity. And i guess i kinda have something to prove to myself.. not sure what exactly.

  4. ikakoeck84 says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Harry 🙂 It’s true! People think it’s just love, but on bad days it’s just pure hate! *chuckles*

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