Did you ever watch one of those Nike commercials, or see one of those photos online somewhere, of a woman running down a tree-lined road? Just her. Her tennis shoes. Maybe a pair of head phones. And it’s as if you can see the peace and silence of that picture. Kind of like when someone says they can smell something that you really can’t describe, like hot. How does hot smell? Or when someone says that they feel blue. Obviously it means that they feel sad, but in strict context, you cannot feel a color. So, then, it’s just another one of life’s little mysteries that I can see the peace in one of those running commercials/photos.
Well, I always wanted to feel that. To go for a run, just myself, and feel that peace like a warm blanket surrounding me. Those commercials always look so perfect. She’s clearly fit, she must do a lot of that running in peace stuff. She’s always got a nice little workout get-up on. Her hair and make-up are great. And she always, always has a cute pair of running shoes on. It is a Nike commercial, so I guess that’s a given.
…and then I go and try to replicate that peaceful vision.
And it never, ever feels or looks the same. Literally by 5 minutes in, I’m out of breath and can feel a side cramp creeping up. Pretty Nike commercial lady never looks like she gets side cramps. If I make it to ten full minutes of running without having to stop and walk, I’m fairly certain that I’m going to need defibrillated. And that’s a big IF, because once I start feeling like a chain smoker with a case of cramps, I’m usually calling it a day.
And I am so frustrated! I can do HIIT intervals like no one’s business. I do sprint intervals on the Stairmill, on the treadmill, and even outside. Up hill, down a hill, and even in my own yard. Basically it’s a Dr. Seuss story. You get the point. I do short and fast running alternated with brisk walking. But any time I get a wild idea that I want to try any sort of long distance running, I fail. Now I know two things to be true. #1- long distance to me starts at one mile and #2- I know I fail because I give up. Because it’s hard. And running sucks…for me, at least.
I will never understand people who say, “Oh I’m addicted to running. It’s my escape”. I’m more like, “girl, you’re crazy! I’d only run to escape running!”. I can’t fathom running 26.2 miles or even a 5k. To me, that is wayyyyyyy to much work and too painful. Running is not fun to me. I can even remember having to run the mile in elementary school during gym class, and I hated it then when I had way less of me to propel forward.
So, why am I writing this nonsense? Well because this weekend was basically the epitome of perfect fall weather in western Pennsylvania. Beautiful, sunny skies and crisp cool air. So, of course, I thought to myself, “this would be perfect weather for running”. If I actually did that sort of thing…which I clearly do not. And on my drive to the store I passed quite a few runners, who looked so peaceful and happy. And I just don’t get it. I really am a believer in the idea that you either “have it” or you don’t. And I’m quite certain that my genetic makeup lacks the coding for distance running.
Instead, I went home and laced up my Nike shoes, and headed outside for a workout. I did ponder (for about 30 seconds) the idea of taking a run around my neighborhood. But I squashed that thought, and settled on a HIIT and bodyweight workout in my driveway. There was no pounding of my feet against the pavement. There was no peaceful thinking as I focused solely on my stride. I chose what is comfortable to me and what I know. I guess I chose the “safe” option. And maybe one day I should venture outside of my little box of sprinting and into the wide world of running, but today is not that. And I doubt tomorrow will be either.
I will continue to admire you runners from afar. I respect what you do. Never in a million years would I make my goal a marathon. My dreams are not your dreams, your goals are not mine. But I will always appreciate how tranquil you look as you run, lost in your own world. And I will forever be okay with looking like a deranged hound when I attempt to replicate that peaceful stride.
Today, on this absolutely perfect fall day, I dare you to do you. March, sprint, run, dance, bend, or lift to the beat of your own drum. Do whatever it is that makes your body healthy and your heart happy, and be completely unapologetic about it.