May Runs

The Joys and Sorrows of Running

I fell in love with running 9 years ago. Before that, I did not do any forms of exercise and did not think anything was wrong with that. Now, I can’t stand not exercising for more than 2 days. I can’t imagine my life without running, running is part of my life. I’d like to write about the joys and sorrows of running because my daughter said she needs to write the joys and sorrows of being a youth today for her exam. So that gives me the idea. Running is not always pretty, there are two sides to everything.

Why do we run? Why do we like running so much? We love the feeling of moving with our legs, spending time outdoors, and that sweaty sensation. It reminds us that we are strong and free.

We become adrenaline junkies (good or bad?) who are always chasing that feel-good factor after a running session. The joy of running also comes from being able to travel from place to place without having to hop on a vehicle. We can run to our destination, clock our long run, and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. In the process of running, we may encounter many interesting people and events we may not have the chance to experience if we are not running. By running regularly, our fitness and stamina improved, and we don’t feel out of breath easily when doing household chores and climbing stairs. If we meet bad people on the street, we can even outrun them. I am sure bad people can’t even run 5 KM non-stop! Running makes us feel more alive, being outdoors breathing in fresh air, and embracing the outdoor breeze while listening to our own footsteps is electrifying.

Running is a solo sport and I like being alone. I prefer to run by myself most of the time than to join a running club. Socializing is not my thing and I am not fast anyway. I am rather slow and so happens that running club members are all fast and strong runners. I enjoy running at my own pace, talking to myself, and thinking about all sorts of things. If there are things I can’t make a decision or can’t find a solution, most of the time after going for a run, I will know what to do.

I am grateful and proud that I am a runner and not a couch potato. Because I am a runner, I get to know people I may not have the opportunity to know otherwise. I am a follower of a world-famous hero who saves lives and is an ultra runner. So I know when and where he runs and how much he runs. It is such a blessing. Others who admire him but not runners, do not have this privilege.

Since I became a runner, I am more independent and stronger mentally and physically. I used to be weak, timid, and petty. I am a different person now, running has changed my life for the better and I am more mature and clear-headed. There is a wonderful saying: “One run can change your day, many runs can change your life”. To take running away from me is to take my happiness away.

Now, what are the sorrows of running? Family members who are non-runners do not understand this passion. I am often told to stop running and just do some simple exercises at home or don’t run so much. You will know the bad effects when you are old. I just nod my head and keep running. When I have any muscle ache/pain/blisters/black/missing toenails, I will keep quiet and not utter a single word about it. So that nobody knows and I can pretend nothing has happened, I am not hurt at all. I am still alive, standing and kicking.

Being a running addict always comes with strings attached. If we are not careful, we may get injured and have to force ourselves to stop running for a period of time to recover. Our fitness suffers, and our marathon goal time is shattered. I was a long-time sufferer of Plantar Fasciitis, one time in 2018 and another in 2019-2020. I tried many different types of remedies, treatments, podiatrist visits, etc. all without success. I was frustrated and disappointed. One day, I came across a YouTube video by a person called Frank Ng. His foot exercises prescribed for PF are so effective. The PF got 50% better after a month of doing the foot exercises daily. I recovered completely after about 3 months. I was able to continue running while still recovering and doing the exercises at the same time. The pain did not get worse, I was still clocking mileage. I am forever grateful to Frank. His isometric exercises are more effective than physiotherapy/podiatrist visits and heatwave therapy.

The sorrows of running also come from having ugly and uneven tan lines on the legs, arms, shoulders, and back. Bad skin from relentless sun exposure, brown spots on face. Runners are never pretty. No runners have silky smooth skin and no tan. We always look burned.

Another sorrow? Strength and conditioning exercises that we have to maintain. I think most runners do not like to do weightlifting or other forms of strengthening. We do it anyway so that we can continue our favorite activity, reduce the risk of injury, and become stronger runners.

Last but not least, expensive running shoes that need to be replaced every 500 – 800 KM? That is the general guideline. I will wear the shoes until more than 1000 KM and evaluate again. Running shoes can cost from $100 – $400++ and we need to have at least 2 to 3 pairs (the minimum) to rotate. Another important gear is a GPS watch. A good one can cost somewhere between $300 – $1300 or more. We all need one nevertheless to add more joy to our running.  Sadly, we don’t have a money-printing machine, right?

In conclusion, regardless of the sorrows, we still love to run and we will keep running because it is our way of life. Do what makes you happy. Life is short so enjoy it while we can.

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