feel better?

I’ve come to realise that whenever I come home from a run/jog, somewhere between the gate and the door, I tend to ask myself something like “feel better?” (I’m usually too exhausted by this time to formulate a complete sentence. And, yes, the answer is always “feel better”.)

This has led me to ponder about why I run. Actually, this is something that I tend to ponder about at some point during my run/jog – maybe in the early stages, while I’m still giving myself a bit of an internal pep talk, or maybe in the final stages, so that I can tick off the boxes.

I remember reading a feature article by Kathleen Noonan a while ago about why people run. I don’t really remember the main point of the article, but I vaguely remember her saying that we should run for the sake of running – because we enjoy it, and not because we need to de-stress or get in shape or stuff like that. At least, I think that was the overarching message… Again, I only have very vague recollections of the article. Nevertheless (there’s a word I used to use a lot in essays! I hardly get to use it anymore…) I think it was this article that started this habit of reflection while running.

I suppose the main reason I go running/jogging is because I enjoy it. I feel good when I run, and I feel good afterwards. I like that I just need to put my running shoes on, and I can run wherever I want to, for however long I can manage.

But there are plenty of other reasons, and I think they’re still valid reasons regardless of what anyone else says. Health and fitness is a big one. Believe it or not but, as a health professional, I am actually quite mindful of my own health and well-being. Kind of contradictory to that, I also like to eat a lot, so “guilt” is another reason why I run. Coincidentally, that was my primary reason for going for a run this afternoon. It works both ways though: sometimes I run because I’ve overeaten, and sometimes I run so that I can eat more later.

I also find running (or almost any exercise, really) to be, ironicly, quite energising. Of course, you’re probably thinking that this is just the post-run “high”, but I just find something quite exhilirating about being totally exhausted. The aforementioned “guilt” also applies to sloth-ful-ness (is that even a word? or close to a word?). I spent the whole morning and early afternoon lounging around, reading and watching YouTube, so I figured I owed it to myself to get outside.

Another reason, which I would assume is quite common, is de-stressing or “clearing one’s head”. Apart from reflecting on why I’m running, I actually don’t tend to think about a great deal while running. Sometimes I’ll have a song playing over and over again in my mind, and sometimes I’ll think about something that happened recently, but sometimes my mind is just blank. It feels quite meditative.

One final reason to run, which I have been advised of recently, is to cure a hangover. Just, umm.. you know, something to keep in mind in case you ever need it…

just run

As it was a public holiday on Monday, I went out to catch up with some high school friends. I got home at about 5:30pm after a very long lunch and, because it was such perfect weather (and since it’s Summer, the sun would be out for at least another hour), I decided to go for a run.

I was a bit sore the following day, returning to work, but I don’t regret it for a second. It’s one of the best feelings – going for a run in beautiful weather.

That’s something I’ve realised the more I run: I never regret going for a run. I might question whether going for a run would be a good idea, peering at the dark clouds gathering in the sky, or contemplating the humidity and stillness of the air, but once the decision is made and the first steps are taken, I know I’m doing the right thing.

But that’s not to say that every run is brilliant. Just a couple of days prior to the exhilirating Monday run, I thought I’d do a bit of interval running. I had my mind set on running because I’d been lounging around at home all day, but somehow the energy wasn’t quite there. I was still tired from all the running and exercise throughout the week that was, and the humidity was unbelievable. So that endeavour only lasted about half an hour, but I never regretted leaving the comfort of the lounge chair.

Another thing I like about running is that you don’t need any equipment. You just need a half-decent pair of sneakers and some comfortable clothes, and you’re set.

Just writing this and thinking about running makes me want to go for a run. Too bad I have to go to bed soon… I guess I can wait until tomorrow…

boom

As most Brisbanites would now, yesterday was the annual ‘Bridge to Brisbane’ fun run. This was my first year participating. I finished 10km in just under 68 minutes, which is better than what I expected to manage. Prior to B2B I did a few 9km runs, and they took a bit over an hour (it was an approximate 9km based on Google Maps; plus I also walked a fair bit).

Despite the early start (got up at 4:30am, race started at 6am), which I’ve always considered to be the main “con” against taking part in B2B, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can’t wait until next year. Going to aim to get closer to the one hour mark.

I was kind of surprised at how fast I was running at some parts of the course, dodging past people and over-taking the slower joggers. It’s an incredible feeling, though. Totally worth the soreness and stiffness (yeah, I probably didn’t stretch as much as I should have pre- or post-run).

The home stretch was definitely the best. Even though my feet were burning (in hindsight I’m surprised my legs hadn’t cramped up at all during the run (totally did not even think about it during the run) and I never even got a stitch), and even though it felt like my lungs were going to implode, I fully ran the last 200m or so. I don’t personally know what it’s like to have an asthma attack but, based on knowledge from others, I imagine it would be similar to how I felt running that last 200m.

Before I wrap up this post, just want to give props to all the volunteers and water people at B2B. Truly appreciate it. I reckon if, for some reason, I cannot take part in B2B, I’d definitely like to volunteer.

One of the promotional concept things they used for B2B this year was encouraging people to share their “reason for running” – whether it be as simple as burning extra calories or more deep and personal. I reckon I run for a number of reasons: for the health/fitness benefits, because I can be quite competitive, and for that incredible feeling of awesomeness that comes with intense physical activity.