An unexpected consequence of being a runner

I love running.

Okay, when I am out there and it is really cold or really hot or I just don’t feel good, running can be a chore.

What I love most about running is the freedom that it gives me.  An unexpected consequence of being a runner.

Last Saturday was a rough day.  In fact it was a difficult week overall, it just came to a head on Saturday.  I needed to get away.  A couple of years ago that would have entailed driving to Walmart and surrounding stores and walking through the isles of stuff.  Not this time.  Instead, I walked.  In fact I turned off my phone and walked for hours.  I walked on a trail I have run before, but never actually just took the time to look at the surroundings.  It was really cool.  Waterfalls, beaver dams and quietness.

I realized that day that because of my running I could walk as far as I wanted and not worry about how to make it home.  I was able to just go and be free.  It was awesome.

The other time this “consequence of running” occurred to me was this week while shut in at work for two days because of the snow.  I was able to spend hours outside helping people get their cars going.  I walked miles to the pharmacy to pick up meds for a coworker (and buy toothbrushes).  I never once thought, “can I make it back?”  I had freedom.  Who needs a car!

So if you are debating if you should start running or you are a runner and are trying to encourage others to run, remember what I learned.  There is a lot of freedom in life once the chains of poor physical fitness are removed.  Once you run 26.2 miles, it dawns on you that if needed, you can walk the 23 miles home in an emergency.

Freedom.  A basic instinct.  One that I am glad I received almost 2 years ago when I started running.

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15 thoughts on “An unexpected consequence of being a runner

  1. This was actually one of the first realizations that catalyzed my love of running. It was about five years ago when I first started pushing my distance limits. Once I had hit five miles, I decided to start running farther to see how far I could go. I eventually reached the lake (I live in Chicago) — and when I did, it dawned on me that I could run virtually anywhere in the city and have enough energy to come back home.

    That was huge for me. Dawning upon that singular realization was vital for my transformation into a distance runner. Great perspective.

    • Wow. That is really great. Thanks for sharing that. It is really neat how much runners share in common. Chicago? We used to visit Ballydoyle’s in Downers Grove a couple times a year. That and the pizza was amazing!!!

  2. So glad you wrote about the freedom of running…it is an element not thought of nearly enough by many who have not made the decision to start. Essays like this inspire others to begin, and that can save lives in the long “run”!

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