My father has one condition – and one condition only – upon which rest my hopes for going to Boston this coming fall: I have to start running. Often. Primarily, I assume, so that I can continue this habit over the course of the four years that I do spend in Boston and, hopefully, throughout my life. An understandable request, and I definitely do want to get back into shape.
Not that I ever was in shape to begin with.
That said, of course, this “condition” is mostly a joke (I think. I’m not entirely sure. And this scares me slightly.) and besides which, not a condition that I mind very much. “Oh, sure, I love running,” I remember saying to him when he touted the prerequisite to me. “That shouldn’t be a problem at all.”
So I thought. But a whole bunch of “tomorrows” happened and, about 4 months on, I never actually ended up running at all. In fact, I probably ran more before my dad brought up that particular term than I did after.
…okay, so in my defense, I’ve been super busy and the thought of being sore after an exhausting (albeit exhilarating, I’m sure) run wasn’t the most appealing one. That said, at the risk of completely destroying my respectability, it was also complete and utter laziness that factored into the not-running thing.
Until this morning.
A couple of my friends and I’d decided about two months ago that we would go on morning jogs before heading to school (surprise, surprise, a whole bunch of “tomorrows” passed before that actually happened too) and it wasn’t until this morning that it actually happened. And though it was hard at first, being as out of shape as I am, it reminded me why I love running so much.
As a kid, I was the often slowest runner and the last person to finish any race because I hated the competitive aspect of it. Running on its own was such an incredible feeling, why would you taint it by throwing in competition? Didn’t help that my comparatively short legs make actual sprinting really, really difficult, and add onto that the pressure of having to do decently (AKA not get last place) just so I could brush off all the little “fatso” comments…yeah, running kind of got ruined for me. But now, as a teenager, without all those nagging voices ringing in my ears, running once again has its charm.
Sure, it sucks to feel your breath catch and breathing turn shallow and painful because of the nippy air. Yes, the soreness is awful. But those are minuscule problems compared to the feel of running and, for once, it isn’t something I can explain either. I suppose there’s a kind of freedom to it. When you’re running, truly running, it doesn’t matter what’s going on around you. All you care about is getting from point A to point B, the invisible markers you’ve made in your head, and losing yourself in your own head. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons I love running so much, why anyone would enjoy running – your capacity to think changes entirely, and you find yourself pondering more things while your legs pump and pound the pavement in a rhythmic pace than any other moment.
The best part about running on your own terms, though?
No P.E teacher yelling at you to go faster. That’s something I can get behind.