For most of my life, I hated running. I still hate running. Why?
I wasn’t very fit when I was young and did not think I was born with an athletic body. Other kids used to run around, jump, somersault, and I didn’t do much of that. I buried my head and mind in books, solving math problems and my solitary hobbies. I ended up flexing my mind’s muscles and not my body’s muscles. After all, what does all that running and moving around accomplish?
Over 15 years ago, an in-depth analysis of my blood test proved that I have the alpha Thalassemia blood trait. Sounds cool and then I found out more about it. So, is that what’s making me less fit or less of an athlete than some people? A reduced capacity of my blood to carry oxygen due to abnormality in the haemogoblin. That was the story I tell myself and just over 2 years ago, I shed this limiting belief and tried running. It was hard and I hated running. I keep telling myself I can do it but I went and did it. I haven’t really looked back since. Running helped me lose weight and made me fitter than my past self.
I was asked, ‘How long are you keeping up your running?’, ‘Is running some kind of passing fad for you?’ I thought hard and decided it’s not a fad and I’ll keep running as long as my body is strong enough to do so. But I still hated running.
Running is challenging. You are using your entire body and exerting extra effort to propel your entire bodyweight along the ground faster that you usually move. Your breathing increases, blood rushes, muscles flex and work harder, your feet hurts, your toenails may get bruised, and your joints and ligaments hurt. Then the next day, you feel old, sore and tired all over. I hate running.
All that pounding of the pavement, thousands of additional steps on the feet must be torture on the toes, feet, knees, ankles and hips. Running adds stresses to the musculoskeletal system. I wonder if the efforts and stresses are worth the additional risk of injury to my physical body. I hate running.
As a fitness regime, running punishes the body, whilst there are alternatives that strengthen and improve fitness levels with less effort and punishment. I did not enjoy them as much. I had to pick running. I still hate running.
Running is mostly done outdoors. It gets me outside. I hate outside when it rains, when it’s hot, when it’s cold, when it’s windy and when it’s dark. When will it be perfect conditions to run? It’s so difficult to pick. I hate running.
If I don’t run outside, I have to find a treadmill in the gym and do my running. Almost everyone calls it a ‘dreadmill’. It is so boring – the constant thump, thump, thumping of feet on the belt and the whirring of wheels. There is nothing to see, to distract from the drudgery of the running belt. I feel like a hamster in a running wheel. Everything seems to drag on. I’m sure that I already ran 5k, why does it still say 4k? I hate running.
I am not a morning person. I love to sleep in as much as I can. I tend to stay awake way past midnight. The running events start in the morning, some at the crack of dawn. I have to train and do my running in the mornings, when it’s cooler in Summer, and before I get ready for work. It is worse in Winter. The sun’s not up and it is so cold. I am not a morning person. I hate running.
I enjoy being sweaty and smelly as much as the next person. All the fluids oozing from within my body. My blood must be getting thicker by the minute. I could die from all this perspiration. The acidity stings my eyes and the saltiness unpleasant to taste. The secretion contains ammonia and urea. Yuck. Give me a hug after a long run, would you? The stink and wetness permeate through the supposed quick-dry and cool-dry technologies of specialised sportswear. I hate running.
What do I wear for running? I can’t pick cotton, it sticks to my skin when wet, and it doesn’t evaporate well. The special fabrics and running wear designs cost more. I need running shoes that help soften the thousands of impact of my feet on the ground. I need to spend more money on being comfortable and protected from the outside elements when I run. My wardrobe is filling up with running wear. I hate running.
Laundry days come along more often. The reek of worn running clothes and socks becomes unbearable. The special fabrics require additional special care – should I hand wash or put through the gentle machine cycle. I spend more time on laundry. I hate running.
Why don’t I choose Walking? I could but everybody does it, some more than others. I’ve done 100-kilometre hikes and all distances less. Getting from A to B by walking just takes too long, it’s boring and not as challenging, so, run. It gets you to places where views are beautiful. I hate you running.
As I’m running more, my body and mind crave for better and healthier foods. I’m hungrier quicker as my body becomes a furnace and burns through the energy. I’m spending more on preparing and eating healthy foods. Quality healthy and fresh foods cost more and it hurts my wallet. With living expenses rising and being in one of the top 10 most expensive city to live in do not help my financial well being. I hate running.
Despite all that, I continue to be in awe of athletes and runners of all ages. The extra challenges that they face are so inspiring. I challenge myself like them and continue to run as long as it is still challenging, keeps me moving, keep me strong and keeping hating it. If you love running, you might be crazy. Runners are people on the edge of insanity, seeking meditation with their minds, putting up with the drudgery and self-punishment to get somewhere and find another level to their existence.
What do you think? Is it fair for me to hate this activity so much to enjoy doing it?