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.