Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Pete Magill
I love running.
But I hate it, too. Yin and yang, you know.
Obviously, we runners love our sport for the health benefits. And the camaraderie of our peers. And “finding our greatness” and “stopping at never” and yadda yadda yadda. There’s a lot to love.
But let’s admit that there’s a lot to hate, too. I know this because conversations with runners seem to revolve around complaints. About what? Well, let’s start with these 10 things . . .
LIMPING: When I’m not running, I limp. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles bursitis, hip and knee injuries have taken their toll. At one point, I kept a crutch by my bedside so I wouldn’t have to crawl to the bathroom. I need handrails to walk down stairs. A full “Walk” signal to cross the street. The only time I don’t limp is when I run, and even then chronic muscle tightness requires that I find a bench when my shoelace comes untied.
DIETING: I’m hungry all the time. Light breakfast, light lunch, bigger dinner – the latter so I can sleep at night without my stomach launching into a rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk.” Training burns an extra 1,500–2,000 calories a day, but I only add half that to my diet. So don’t tell me that I’m thin and can eat anything I want. I’m 30 bacon double cheeseburgers shy of “anything I want.”
DOGS OFF-LEASH: Every dog that has bitten me was a dog that didn’t bite. Their owners told me so – often as the blood dripped down my leg from Fido’s fang marks. Oh, and sniffing, charging and tackling aren’t OK either. I’m not your doggie’s play date.
TRACKS: Tracks were once lonely outposts for diehard runners. Not anymore. Now they’re obstacle courses. Three-abreast power walkers. Soccer gear-drop zones. Soccer parents crowding the inside lanes like fans hugging the stage at a Rolling Stones concert. Hey, we don’t run across the soccer field; how about you make room on the track?
ONE-STEPPERS: Look, I closed 200 yards on you in the last half-mile. I’m about to pass. What’s with picking up your pace to stay one step ahead of me? I’m enjoying an easy distance run, not racing you. Want to race? There’s a 5K this weekend. We’ll race then. I’ll even wait at the finish line to cheer you in.
BAD WEATHER: In high school, my metabolism was a coal-burning furnace. I ran shirtless in winter. Splashed through the rain. Thrilled to the wind. These days, it’s chafed thighs, runner’s nipple and a post-run nap in anything colder than 55 degrees. Rain only reminds me that sensible adults are inside, sipping hot chocolate under a warm blanket.
FEAR OF COLDS: It’s not “just a cold.” So I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t cough or dribble snot all over me. A cold is the death knell for last month’s training. And next week’s race. Tell you what: Work a month, deposit your check, have the bank lose your money, and shrug it off as “just a computer glitch.” Then talk to me about your cold.
WRONG-WAY VIGILANTES: Yes, I’m running with traffic, not against it. Runners fear cross-traffic, cars merging from side streets and driveways, not psychopaths mowing us down from behind. I’ve been hit. Every runner has slammed on the brakes for cars pulling out in front of them. Drivers glance in the direction of oncoming traffic. When they do, they’ll see me.
HAVE YOU RUN A MARATHON?: No, I haven’t. And yes, I’m impressed that your neighbor ran five hours at Boston off 25 miles a week. I train 90 miles a week: distance, intervals, hill reps, tempo. If I just wanted to finish 26.2 miles, I’d add 5 or 6 miles to my Sunday run. But when I race, it’s to race, not to complete another distance run.
THE THINGS I DON’T GET TO DO: Pickup basketball and football. Spontaneous bike rides, surfing or other activities that aren’t on my training schedule. Ditto for an impromptu bottle of wine. Or a night on the town. Or any of the happy-go-lucky moments that occur when life isn’t planned around five to 10 runs a week.
We runners constantly weigh the pros and cons of our sport. And then we lace up our shoes.
Because we really do love running. Even as we hate it, too.