Fitness: Running is a bit like chocolate

2014-12-08 07:30

It is possible that, when you’ve made running your friend and routine for a long time, you ­forget why you started in the first place.

When people ask me why, I say I run because I want to, but that’s not really it.

It really isn’t – never was – to lose weight or to stay physically healthy. Some experts even say ­running ultramarathons is bad for you. Maybe I used to do it to feel like I’ve achieved something, but having done five Comrades races and a few other adventurous runs, it has gone ­beyond that.

I run because I run, and lately it feels like I’ve been running for my life. My mind and body have been in a bit of a slump, something almost like the severe blues. Every little bit of routine takes a whole lot of effort, and anything outside of that ­routine makes me anxious as hell.

It’s like the post-election exhaustion politicians are experiencing has spread to the rest of us, or maybe chasing stories has burnt me out a bit, or it could just be that collective end-of-year fatigue – 2014 was a busy one.

Eating junk, drinking more than usual and the occasional cigarette have become good friends of mine of late.

In the absence of running, I might have pigged out on some hard and hedonistic substances, and stayed in bed for 100 days on end, or more. There would have been no reason to get up. Instead, I’ve been up and at it every morning by five. If not running, then cross-training so that I could run the next day.

My running is the one thing you should not touch me on. It is the only zen of my existence. It doesn’t demand any explanation. So, if you ask why they run, those people who have cars in which to travel; those people who run when nothing is chasing them; those people who run even when their old, stiff or injured bodies are not so fluid any more, here’s my answer:

.?Running is a bit like chocolate – it is good, even when it’s bad. It’s a craving

.?Running is your best friend

.?Running is a refuge

.?Running doesn’t ask questions, and sometimes it doesn’t even have all the answers

.?Running understands

.?Running travels well

.?Running takes you to places you have never been

.?Running is kind and running is cruel, and often there is no telling how a run will treat you until you are on the road

.?Running will lie to you at times, spit you out ­fatigued and injured, only to have you yearning for more

.?Most runs you will finish, but there will be runs that finish you off. Then you run until you can’t any more, and then run some more

.?Running has a way of just happening sometimes. It doesn’t wait for New Year’s Day or a Monday.

Running starts when the spirit takes you.

So if you are feeling a bit down, or even if you are not, start doing it now. By the time the New Year’s resolutionists come with their drivel and their hangovers, your bridge over troubled water will already be laid down.

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