Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Run til you're tired... then keep running!

As a kid, the thought of me exercising would have been crazy. I was way too busy playing basketball, riding my bike, playing manhunt, running around, etc. to have any interest or need for exercise. What would have been the point?
"Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes." ~Robert M Hutchins
Regardless of the activity, I could just go and go all day.  I  don’t remember ever getting tired or sore and I certainly don’t remember ever having to take a day off or having to take it easy because I played the day before.  I just had fun.

"Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game." ~Michael Jordan 
Now, as another birthday has arrived, I unfortunately have to exercise to avoid falling completely apart.  Sure, sometimes a workout can be fun but most of the time it isn’t fun.  But the lack of fun is kind of what I like.

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle
when the sun comes up you'd better be running.
(But, unless you're a runner, you won't understand.)
The other day I was on an afternoon run.  The heat and excessive humidity were making it difficult for me to breathe and covered me in sweat.  With each stride my shirt moved just enough to being chafing me raw.  While this may not sound ideal, I realized that the temporary suffering is what I like about running.

"Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage" ~George Patton
When I first started running, I would run a couple of blocks and feel exhausted.  When the exhaustion became too great, I would slow down and begin to walk.  Walking would instantly make me feel better.  Ironically, the quick removal of the discomfort hurt my pride more than the running hurt.  How could it go from so bad to perfectly fine so quickly?  

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." ~Confucius
I began to ask myself on runs... did I want to feel better temporarily or feel great when I was done?  Sure, sometimes I still have to give in and walk but most of the time I’m able to push through.  The more I have to fight myself to keep going the more rewarding it is when I’m finished.
"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started." ~Steve Prefontaine