as I ran

Last night I went for a run. As I started running, I calculated how many hours I’d worked this past week: full days from Monday through to Saturday, a bit extra here, a bit less there – all up about 54 hours. I redid the maths a couple of times in case I missed a half-hour somewhere. No, 54 is right.

Strange, I thought, that after 54 hours of work, all I wanted to do was go for a run. 

Of course, it wasn’t an easy decision. I finished up late on Saturday (for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here…) so I was exhausted by the time I got home. But I’d been itching for a run the whole week, and I wasn’t sure I’d have time for a run in the next few days. I also knew I’d find the energy once I got out the door and got onto the street.

As I ran, I did find this reserve of energy. It occurred to me that it might be like the proverbial “dessert stomach”, which provides capacity for dessert regardless of how much one has already eaten. Perhaps this reserve energy, which exists independently of everything else in the body, allows me to run regardless of how exhausted I am. That is, of course, until I have run to my heart’s content. (Just as your dessert stomach might be satiated after having eaten dessert.)

It wasn’t easy, though, getting my running shoes on and getting out of the house. I stood at the door for a good few minutes, gently encouraging myself and psyching myself up. Even for someone like me who loves running and regards it as excellent stress-relief, there comes a point where I question if this is all too much. And what is it all for?

But those are silly questions. I know what it’s for; I know why I run.

As I ran, I could hardly believe that it had been such a struggle to get out of the house. Recently, when I run, I try to pay attention to the muscles that are at work. It is a wondrous and marvellous thing to feel like every muscle in your body is working and straining, and your body can somehow coordinate all this and feed energy to where it’s needed.

When I was younger, I thought losing one’s sight was the worst “ability” one could lose. On my last few runs, at some point (usually when my knee starts hurting or when I start getting really tired / out of breath, and I have to walk more), I’ve asked myself if it would be worse to lose an eye or lose a leg. Generally the thought of either is so upsetting, I go back to running to stop thinking about it.

As I ran, I told myself that as long as I can run, I will run.

And I will regret nothing.

12 thoughts on “as I ran

  1. That’s exactly how I feel about committing to daily yoga practice! I would feel so hard to roll out the mat on a particularly unpleasant day, but as I go through it I would wonder why I even thought about not doing it haha

    • It’s quite a strange phenomenon, isn’t it? I suppose half the struggle is all in the mind.
      Well done on committing to daily yoga! Hope you keep it up!

  2. … and that’s the paradox of running – or stretching, or just any exercise actually. When you feel tired and completely spent, it somehow manages to re-energize. Amazing how that works!

  3. It’s interesting to hear you talk about the reserve of energy thing. I’m not entirely sure if I should say anything here, perhaps it wouldn’t be appropriate, and I know I’m honing in on one little thing and not exactly responding to the whole point of what you’ve written. But I’m going to, and I hope you know I’m offering this as a thinking out in response to you thinking out loud sort of thing, not as a shut down.

    I have a chronic illness, and since getting it I’ve often thought that most people (i.e., healthy people) believe that there is some reserve of energy that they can always draw on. That there isn’t *really* a wall, not if they want it badly enough. And–from my perspective–that’s so wrong. My world is all wall, and it doesn’t matter how badly I want it, how important it is, even if my life depended on it, I can’t push past it. People struggle to understand that. I suppose for them the wall is so far off it may as well not exist. But it’s there, and for me it’s very, very close.

    • That is a fair point, since not everyone has a so-called dessert stomach, so not everyone would have this reserve energy, or be able to tap into reserve energy.

      Your wall analogy makes it easier to imagine what it’s like. To be honest, sometimes my reserve energy is not as good as I hope – sometimes I hit the wall pretty quickly, even if I manage to leave the house. (I also like the spoon analogy I’ve read somewhere before (maybe you or another blogger has linked to it in a post…?))

    • Apologies in advance for butting in. Your comment actually makes me ponder on how these walls don’t only exist on limiting physical fitness, but many aspects of life itself. I have also encountered moments where people couldn’t understand how I failed to do what other people seem to be at ease with (social relationships for example). Right now I’m not even sure if it’s appropriate to comment in your comment section and I get a bit anxious ^^”.

      • Thoughtful & considered comments like yours and Lucy’s are always welcome!

        I suppose in situations where there isn’t a tangible/visible “wall”, it can be hard for people to understand the struggle (physically, emotionally, etc)

      • Your comment is also fine with me and in no way butting in! I have social anxiety so I understand your concerns.

        I agree there are walls everywhere. Physical, social, emotional. They can be in wildly different places for different people, and many people struggle to understand other people’s walls and judge them by their own walls. Some people never even seem to realise there *are* walls.

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