Running is far more than a form of exercise for me. It’s where I draw my self-esteem and self-worth from. It’s the first place I look when I need to find inner strength, motivation and hope in any aspect of my life. It has the power to make me feel so incredible; to make even the worst day enjoyable; to force me out of my comfort zone.
As I’ve blogged about before, I’ve been doing running for a long time. I’ve become good at it. Oh no, I’ll never be an Olympic athlete or a Marathon winner – I don’t have enough specialised training behind me to carry off something like that. On a local running-with-a-club and doing amateur races level…I’m good. Good enough for me. Good enough for me is more than good enough. I have bad days when I’m convinced I can’t do anything right, then I remember that I can run. I can screw up the rest of the day, but then go and have a strong run.
It’s to do with the endorphins. When you do particularly vigorous cardiovascular exercise, your body releases huge amounts of hormones. Of course, I’ve got to run FAST to get the full effect: but I float home from training on those nights.
It’s to do with nearly a decade of archived experience. I’ve run through snow, hail and rainstorms. I’ve gone out for what I assumed would be easy runs, only to tack half an hour on at the end to run up a nearby mountain (in the mist). I’ve dealt with stitches, injuries and fields of stinging nettles. I know what it’s like to get soaked to the skin – I no longer care if it’s raining when I head out the door. The running memories help me out in all sorts of challenging situations. They inspire me to keep fightin’.
I hope that everybody out there has at least one hobby/sport that they’re good at. Or maybe they’re just getting good at – it took me quite a few years to become a strong runner, after all. Just as a way of keeping the rest of your life in (a positive) perspective, and helping you get through the stuff that tries to knock your confidence. I reckon that’s one of my tips for a happy life, right there.
If anybody ever wants encouragement, advice or information about running…well, I’d be delighted to try and convert you to its wonders…