Running: a recipe for happiness.
I was talking with a good friend today about running. Put simply, he said, “I hate running." After thinking that hate is a really strong word, I began to wonder why some people feel this way. After all, we evolved into upright primates so we could run and hunt for our food. How can a basic skill be so bad? I have noted time and time again that I am neither fast nor graceful when it comes to running. I barely use the heels of my feet to strike the pavement. I am a mechanical mess. Despite this, I am drawn to it. I believe so much in the power of a natural dopamine high that it led to the creation of Go Far. For every perfect runner out there, there are many of us that run with faults. Despite the shaky footing some runners may have, the positivity that comes from it takes precedence. Just this week, an article spread like wildfire on the Internet suggesting that one in ever 5 Americans have suffered from mental illness over the past year. “The research defined a major episode as at least a two-week period when a person is depressed with a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, while also experiencing at least four of seven symptoms defined in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” I personally blame this epidemic on a sedentary lifestyle. But I believe that running can be a game changer. It has proven to be a successful coping mechanism for the many stresses that life throws at us. My husband often runs home from his stressful job as an anesthesiologist. His run allows him to detox from the pressures of work. Those stresses are checked at the door allowing him quality family time diminishing any baggage that comes with his job. After his run, any emptiness he may have inside, is hungrily satisfied with a bowl of pasta. For my son, running comes out of necessity. His natural ability to run placates his resistance to sit still during school. At a young age, I realized that for his teachers’ sake, a pair of running shoes for the boy would be a must. Running has taught him things about himself that couldn’t be learned via parenting, through textbooks or an Xbox. It’s helped define who he is and who he wants to be. It’s given him life skill sets that include navigation, road safety, and parental independence. With every step he makes, a decision is made and he learns quickly to think on his feet. Personally, running brings my creative thoughts into crystal clear focus. The seeds planted in my mind during a run tend to grow into realistic goals and projects. It is here that any misguided thoughts are booted out and the positive ones take their place. It helps me be a more effective parent and keep things in perspective. My daughter is a reluctant runner. Despite her resistance to run, the effects of the sport in her life are undeniable. As I see it, the sport will have a more deliberate effect on her. Over the years, she’ll come relish in the family traditions that running has created. At seasonal events such as Turkey Trots or marathons, up to twelve immediate Schulten family members may gather to race together. Like the rest of us, she cherishes those times realizing that a family that runs together, stays together. Starting a running regimen takes little more than having a decent pair of sneakers. A runner’s first weeks are undoubtedly the hardest and may feel downright insidious. The heroic dopamine in our body is at war with its sinister foe, lactic acid. But as luck has it, this too shall pass and better runs are in store for the future. Add running into your long- term goals and you just may find yourself in a better place. Stick with it, and you can truly Go Far.
1/26/2012 10:22:10 am
I have told ever single one of my clients that has uttered those words - noone can judge running until they are fit enough to run for an hour! At that point I'll listen! Funny thing is - not one , once there, hasn't "gotten it" and completely chaged there tune!
1/27/2012 12:24:03 am
Sandie. You couldn't have said it any better
1/26/2012 10:51:02 am
Your friend is doing it wrong, lol. I used to say I hated running too, but I wasn't DOING it. I just started, and it's hard. Some days I just feel like I can't, but I go as far as I can, then I walk, then I run and then I walk. And three days later, (after the initial I can't 1/4 mile) I feel like I can run and run. Today I ran at Chatfield Hollow and as I was running on the curvy boardwalk through the swamp I felt like putting my hands out and making airplane noises. I didn't do it because a man was coming from the other end and I didn't want him to think I was nuts! Also, maybe your friend thinks he has to do it every day to do it right. You don't! There are some weeks I barely get one run in, some weeks I get four or five. I don't make myself crazy, I just try to fit SOMETHING in on some days.
1/27/2012 12:25:58 am
I am so proud of you April. You have truly showed us all how an amazing transformation is possible with a decent pair of running shoes and the desire to just do it.
1/26/2012 05:08:46 pm
I really enjoyed this post. Running is a necessity for me - it is my physical, my emotional and my spiritual release. I am to the point where when I don't run I am not having a good day/week. Running is something I share with my sister - our stories, training, injuries, etc have bonded us in so many ways. She recently visited us in Australia and it was so amazing to run with her again. Running is a common bond that my colleagues and I share together at work. We have been signing up for running events - it has brought us all together in ways that mundane every day work activities can't. I am teaching my girls the joy of running - having them join me for my last couple of kilometers of my run - whether they run with me or scooter beside me doesn't matter - only that they come join me. Happy running!
1/27/2012 12:27:03 am
sarah, when I lived in mexico, i felt like I was at home running. It doesn't matter where you live, running brings you home.
1/27/2012 11:23:42 am
re: Kate ; Maybe she thinks while she's painstakingly running. hmmm..
1/28/2012 08:54:04 pm
Such a well written article!!! I began running as an 11 year old girl, and i truly changed my life. My son also began running as an 11 year-old boy, and the benefits I see it gives him are enormous. Yes, it is hard. But it does give me a chance to turn the many thoughts of the day over in my head and try to get some clarity. In a very confusing world, that in itself can be more than enough.
6/21/2012 10:36:01 am
Your blog looked so simple to design that I decided to create one, thanks!
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