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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Running as a metaphor for life

A (then 2½) sprinting with all her might. Nova Scotia, 2008.

Since I started running a few years ago I realized it's a powerful metaphor for life.

In running you will go through as many painful moments as ecstatic moments, but the latter totally make up for the former.

In running when you feel on top of the world something unexpectedly happens that brings you down.

In running, when you feel there's nothing left to you, somehow you find a hidden reserve of energy and strength to get you through.

In running the recipe for success is pacing yourself, being consistent, and finding balance.

In running you learn so much about yourself.

Yesterday I went and bought a new pair of sneakers (that I will probably not wear for the Bluenose; they'll still be too new). The sales guy was a tall, skinny, funny twenty-something. The sneakers I felt best in were blue and yellow, not exactly my favorite, but hey, in running the look of the shoes is secondary to comfort. Sales guy said "Well if you run fast enough they will turn green".

He had been training for a sub-16 5K but unfortunately got himself injured and will have to do it slow (which is probably still faster than my 5Ks). He was whining about the whole thing being very frustrating. I know what it means as I've had to downgrade my distance and speed because of running injuries in the past... and so have many of my friends. I said to him "Ya, running teaches you all kinds of things, doesn't it!"

These days, however, running fills me with gratitude, as I'm getting ready for my first half-marathon. Today was our last real, long run before taper, and K and I decided to try the actual Bluenose route in downtown Halifax. Here's how it went.

Kilometer 0-3, I felt yucky; I still have a little bit of a cold and it's worse in the morning.

Kilometer 4, K and I both needed to pee real bad, so we went into the closest building (there was something going on as it was full of people wearing bright orange tutus and the like), did what we had to do, got out, and resumed running. I actually had to pull K out of there as she kind of lost her focus when she saw they were having a shoe sale (she's quite the shopper). No time for that today, honey!

Kilometer 4-10, I was warmed up and felt much better; we chatted, of everything and anything.

Kilometer 10-18, we put on our music and kept going. I was still feeling great and happily noticed all kinds of pleasant stimuli:

  • Blooming magnolias (one of my favorite trees)
  • Colorful tulips (one of my favorite flowers)
  • A yummy smell of bacon (funny part is that I don't even eat bacon)
  • Cute dogs
  • A smell of sea spray, and some vistas of the great blue soup
  • Nice houses
  • Nice cars (Me likes nice cars... one of my bedroom's posters in my teenage years was that of a BMW Z3 convertible, silver)
  • Hot bods (what!)
  • And the glorious weather

Kilometer 18-20, I started feeling fatigue in my legs, but I knew we were almost done. The timing of my music was perfect: my iPod started playing a bunch of either violent or vulgar tunes that gave me the illusion I still had stamina.

I was paying a little bit too much attention to either the music or my discomforts, though, and almost spit in a bus shelter full of people!!!

Kilometer 20-21, I gathered all my remaining energy and sprinted to the end!

All in all it was a great run, with perfect weather, minimal pain, no asthma, and only 1 extrasystole (my heart likes to play its own tune from time to time).

K and I did this like pros, and I feel confident that we will do even better two weeks from now. Go legs, go! And good luck to all my other friends who will be running on that day too!

What has running taught you?


  1. I don't consider myself a runner, per se, at present (although I am getting back into it after a solid 18 months of not running at all) -- but it is the foundation upon which I built my commitment to fitness, and running taught me that I *did* have an athlete inside, after all.

    And I love working out to NIN. :)

    1. Running is very empowering, and such a good way to improve your overall fitness! For me it's only 1 piece of the puzzle, but an important one. :-)

  2. This makes me want to run!! I am not much of a runner because of my knees but I love any kind of exercise that challenges me beyond what I thought I could do.

    1. It is possible to run despite all kinds of "limitations" (e.g. diabetes, no legs at all, being over 80, name it!) But of course if your body simply is not up to it, better listen... :-) There are all kinds of other great physical activities.

  3. That I can cover a lot of ground one step at a time.

  4. Running has taught me that I can't always do what I WANT and have to be flexible and sneaky and patient to achieve my goals. Too many recurrent injuries to just hit the trail whenever I want, so I've had to develop all kinds of alternatives, even though if it were up to me, i'd run every day. But patience pays off, and i've been exercising my whole life; if I'd thrown my whole identity into running, I'd not be a happy camper now.

    As it happens flexible and sneaky and patient come in handy for all sorts of life goals!

    1. Yes, running is humbling that way!

      I agree with not putting all your eggs in the same basket, either. When the basket tips over it's too easy to feel miserable if you only had 1 basket. That's why I have many, many baskets. :-)

    2. I like to say "legs on my table" for the same concept.

      So if we lose a leg it doesn't tip over.

    3. All about balance. Balance is my mantra. :-)