Thursday, 12 October 2017

Running and why it's worth it

Somebody told me I have a runner's body. My first thought was no, a runner's body would have strong bloody joints that could withstand the mild, repetitive shocks that impact with the ground entails. I've come far enough in my training by now that it is essentially my knees and ankles that stop me from running as far as I'd like to. They tend to protest loudly long before my breath or general stamina runs out. But then again, I am working on that, doing exercises pretty much every day. And apart from my treacherous joints, I suppose as a runner I have a lot to be thankful for in terms of genes.

Even so, I'd venture genes is a rather minor part of it all. I believe most (generally able-bodied) people could to some extent master most kinds of physical activities. Some people are born strong or fast or vigorous, but discipline will usually make much more of a difference. It's about taking whatever you have to work with and building your body into a place for your soul to enjoy residing in.

It's not easy, mind you. Taking care of your physical well-being in this day and age requires active effort. But it's so incredibly worth it. Once upon a time I got fed up with being sickness-prone, perpetually tired, and assailed with heartburn and dizziness if I ran so much as down the street. Then I resolved to learn how to run. I did, with a lot of benefits, and eventually I even learned to like it. I won't pretend it solved all the problems of my life, but running has granted me a lot of peace over the years, both physically and mentally.

I've taught my feet to step lightly, my breath to be steady, and my heart to beat vigorously but slowly. I've learned to be thankful for every bit of wind, sunshine, rain, sunrise, sunset or starry sky that comes my way. I've learned to overcome the revulsion of dragging myself out of bed for an early morning run, or forcing myself out the door when a cozy evening on the sofa beckons. If I get sick or injured I find myself counting the days until I can go out there and once again let my body float across the ground.

To each their own and whatever works for you, of course. Far from everyone enjoys the slow, almost meditative way of running which has become my preferred way of exerting my body. Or even running at all. Just do something. Don't have enough time? Oh, please. It's all about priorities. Make some time by taking away something you could live without, at least for half an hour a week. Together with someone, or alone. For a challenge, or the sheer delight of feeling strong. And don't underestimate the power of habit. That half an hour might turn into an hour, for two or three or four days a week, and before you know it, exercise might not be as much of a struggle anymore.

Go for it, because it will make a difference for your mental health. Build your body, into a fucking temple or just a cozy little cottage. Not for looks but for the feeling of power that comes with it.

Love and strength,

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