To run again

Runners are crazy.  They are.  Wind, rain, humidity, ice, stuck inside on a track going around and around and around, no matter the condition a true runner will run.

I am not a true runner. I am a seasonal runner.  I like running outside, I cannot stand treadmills or tracks, and being a Canadian, winters are not conducive to running outside.  So I avoid running in the winter and this kills me every spring. I don't know why I don't think of that every fall when I'm hanging up my shoes when the snow flies. Spring rolls around I go through this cycle of debating on whether or not I want to run.

I often threaten to break up with running, and then I start talking about all of the good times we've had together.  The euphoric moment when your body turns from a body to a machine and you hit your stride.  The time when you first realize that 5k doesn't cut it and you need to go to 7, then 10 for a short run. A new pair of shoes, or any new gear for that matter.  PR or PBs, what ever you want to call them.  Persevering through a challenging run, or having scars or stories to share about running like a true vet. Even the feeling of wanting to do absolutely nothing on a Friday night, then going for a run, then thinking afterward you could easily conquer the world.

But all that talk meets reality when I go for the first run of the season.  I get more nervous and sweaty before the run than I do while actually running. Am I afraid that I am not going to impress myself?  All these nerves cause a rush of adrenaline and I shoot out of the house like a bullet thinking I can pick up where I left off in the fall.  Then because of my too-fast start my throat feels like it is going to close up.  All I can taste in my mouth is metal.  Parts are sweating, while other parts seem to not have any blood flow.  My ankles always kink on the first few runs.  My chest and jaw feel as though I have been clenching them for the last five months (if you want to know where you hold tension, go for a run, your body tells you really quickly what parts are tight).  I abdicate from running to walking until some of these discomforts start to go away.  When I can breathe without having to physically heave my chest forward, I begin to jog again. But then somehow I think I am ready to conquer a hill so I go for it, and this process starts again.  I walk, then jog, get excited, run too fast, then walk, eventually settling on a trot until I'm home.

Upon entering any place that is even one degree warmer than outside, I immediately overheat and feel like there is no air.  I have to get back outside, and breathe in and out until breathing becomes involuntary instead of a very purposeful act of life and death.

After I have calmed my respiratory system down through the recovery position and light stretching, the coughs come.  Followed shortly by a runny nose, that turns into a stuffy-runny nose.  This stuffy nose usually sticks around until my body is convinced it won't go through that again. It thinks it has sufficiently scared me with a mini-cold, but it hasn't and I vow to go again.

The craziest part of all of this, is that the second run is harder because everything is the same: the metal throat, the tight chest, the excessive sweating or lack of blood flow, the kinked ankles, it's all there except the adrenaline is missing.  So it becomes a battle of the will.  You will often see me shaking my fist at my shoulder, this is my invisible whip that I pull out and use to make myself giddy-up while running.  Or my shoulders decide that they are going to help me run by pulling my body up so they creep closer and closer to my ears forcing me to shake out my arms like I'm Rocky Balboa.

Eventually, I stop counting which run I am on, and it starts to feel less foreign and more friendly.  I start to plan ahead and look forward to running.  I sleep better when I'm running.  I can concentrate too.  It eventually becomes the only place where my brain shuts off.

So you see, it is a love-hate battle with my dear friend running and no matter how hard I try, I just cannot leave this abusive relationship.

That's all.


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