Hi, I’m Mrs. Tucker and I’m a lifelong runner.
Hi, Mrs. Tucker!!!
When I say I’m a lifelong runner, what I mean to say is I’ve pounded the pavement for most of my life. My “intentional” running began in elementary school when a track coach thought I might have the speed and talent to help our school win a shiny trophy and bragging rights at the Little Olympics. At the very least, I think he thought it might just plain wear my behind out during P.E.
Long story short, I entered the Little Olympics only to sprain my ankle in training and was placed in a cheerleader slot as a consolation prize. I was horrified. Couldn’t they see? I wasn’t a cheerleader; I was a runner.
You can be too!
Throughout my running years, I have been asked, by those considering running as an activity: Why do you run? They politely refrain from adding the hell part.
So glad you asked…
The physical aspect of running is the part that gets most folks started and is the part that makes most folks stop. Why? Because it’s hard. Asking your previously non-runner body to push itself through space and time is a lot like getting a toddler to use their indoor voice in a public restroom; it’s seemingly impossible.
At the same time, once you start running (ignoring your brain’s pleadings to cease and desist), it can be one a most satisfying experience…once you stop. WHAT DID THAT RUNNER GURL SAY??! I said: it’s great once you stop. Welcome to one of the secret dichotomies of running.
I run because running is the fastest way to lose unwanted pounds, the fastest way to cardiovascular health, and the fastest way to a toned body that will get me through the day. Almost every runner I know has a love/hate relationship with the sport. Those that don’t admit it are simply in denial.
The key to the physical is simple: keep running. Once you master that, it’s all gravy. Not to mention you can now eat the gravy.
The mental aspect of running is the biggest draw for me. I am blessed (some say cursed) with a nonstop mind. If I’m awake, I’m thinking and pondering and puzzling things out; it’s never-ending.I may look like I’m just washing the dog, but my brain is on three other things, simultaneously.
Yet, when I’m running, it’s like all the rivers of my brain align and effortlessly flow into my big-brained sea. Running allows me clarity, it allows me a calm I have never been able to duplicate in any other sport or activity (trust me, I’ve tried), but most importantly, it allows me peace.
I know it seems like the physical hardness of running would interfere with the calming mental effect (another running dichotomy), but somehow it works.
The spiritual aspect of running is my favorite. Along with a healthy body and a quieted mind, running allows me uninterrupted time with God. No phone, no doorbell, no puppy to shoo from the aging cat. Just me and God. One on one.
A few years back I trained for my first marathon, sans iPod (I saw you cringe!), and I found that my prayers had a focus unlike any other time I chose to pray. Sure, some of my prayers were: Oh Dear God, please let me make it home. Don’t let me die out here!! But, the majority of my prayers were focused on the concerns of others. Praying while running was not only a gift to me, but to those who had trusted me to pray for their intentions.
To this day, when I need to unmuddy the waters on anything, I lace up my shoes and hit the streets to pray and to regain clarity. The physical wellness is a lovely bonus, because it’s the mental and the spiritual that keep me on the roads, that keeps me running.
Doesn’t it sound wonderful? (all except the actual running part, of course!) Now, who’s in?
Next time: The Essentials of Running
Originally published @ Happy Life 7/10