Feeling Human

“I’ve been enjoying your e-mails. They make me feel human,” was a comment over breakfast this week with a runner and friend. After all, we are just human are we not? And yet social media, blogs, face book posts, tweets, magazine articles, videos overwhelming focus on elite athlete behaviors. We didn’t worry about elite performance when we were kids. Think about a bunch of kids running around on a playground. They run just for the fun of it! As adult runners we’re bombarded with the idea we need to achieve a new PR. Smoke our last run. Out perform ourselves. We’re made to feel like we need to be Captain America or Wonder Woman rather than allowing ourselves to be human, to be like kids and run just for fun. Think of the apps for your phone. Now, they track segments of your runs so you can measure yourself against segments. Did I run up that hill faster this time than I did last time. If we don’t constantly outperform ourselves, there’s a tendency to beat ourselves up. Oh I’m such a slacker. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that doughnut! Why did I skip that mid-week run. I know better. If I just had some self discipline!

Running Fun

I love to quote my brother. One of my favorite sayings of his is: “If it’s not fun i don’t do it.”  Then he’ll qualify with “I’m not spending $110 to run a marathon. I can’t have $110 worth of fun running.” He’s not an avid runner. Me on the other hand, I can have $150 worth of fun running a marathon.  Actually, that feeling of crossing the finish line, getting the medal and scratching another notch on the trainers is priceless whether it’s 13.1 or 26.2. I just love to run. There’s a kid in this 60 year old body somewhere. Take a second and think about it. If you could put on a pair of sneakers right now and just go out for an enjoyable fartlek, speeding up when you feel like it, slowing down at your convenience with the goal of nothing more than pure fun,  doesn’t simply the thought of that make you smile? It does me. When we allow ourselves to be just human it’s a totally enjoyable experience.

More Than a PR

Maybe that’s why my e-mails seem to have a human quality in some cases. Personally, I run for fun. Yeah, I like a PR. They feel good. But that’s not why I run. I’m not always trying to out perform myself. I run because I love to feel the cold brisk air on my cheeks. Looking in the mirror and seeing frost on my eyebrows. Sweat pouring off the top of my bald head in 90 degree heat. And of course the absolute bliss of endorphins.

Just because I love to run doesn’t mean I always want to get up and do it. I may smile when I look in the mirror after a run and see ice on my hood but the idea of crawling out from under the nice warm fleece blanket to brave sub-zero weather and go for a run in the pitch dark at 4:30 a.m. isn’t all that appealing beforehand. However, what I do know is that on race day, I’ll be thankful I got out of bed on those cold mornings. The more I run, the better I am at sticking to plan, will enhance the race day experience and even after a really lousy run I still feel better than if I had not run at all.

I choose to read all those posts, etc. to pick up pointers that will enhance my running experience as opposed to outperforming myself with every outing. What if this weekend you allowed the kid in you to come out, you let yourself be human and drew every ounce of pleasure possible from your long run regardless of how fast or how far you go?

Keep those miles up. Pay attention to pains. Stick to plan. Don’t over do it. Rest as appropriate. Get out there and have a blast.

Run On,


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