The Runner's Chronicles - 3

I’ve fallen off the consistency wagon more than once.

When I look back at the beginnings of me and Mr. Running, I can’t help but romanticize it. Young and naïve little me, with a Casio watch timing me and a route that I became intimate with. The growth came easy.

Once back at work after the pandemic, I felt running and I were in dire need of a break. We had met at a time where I had time, where clearing my thoughts was a necessity. I did not understand how I could bring him into my demanding life.

I stopped taking his calls, and because his teachings were not yet engraved in my brain, it was easy to push them aside. My twice a week runs decreased to a run every two weeks, and eventually the monthly run was not worth it because I was back to square one. How discouraging that what seemed natural a few months ago now felt like a steep mountain; and that mountain came with legitimate rhetoric of being busy with work, having a long commute, putting time towards my relationship, and respecting much needed down time. The logic checked out, but my clothes felt less cute, my diet became sloppy, and my stress abruptly present.

I didn’t know how to get back. Was I ready to think of running as more than a phase?

I will say that one advantage that I did have was that I knew more runners than I thought I did. Through hearing anecdotes, travel stories, meet cutes, chats on injuries, let downs, and unbelievable accomplishments, my curiosity began to turn once more.

I particularly loved to hear how differently people ran. Everyone who had given running a real try had found their style in return. I classify these runners in one (or more) of the following categories: The Spiritual, The Clock Junkie, and The Casual.

The Spiritual sees running as a means to stay sane by being present in every run. They see running as meditation and most of the time, prefer to do it alone. If they want company, they will likely drive out to scenic trails.

The Clock Junkie loves the track and runs to break their own previous race records, as well as their best friend’s PR by a decent number of seconds. They are competitive in nature, read lots about nutrition, and study methods to improve their stride and time.

The Casual is a multi-disciplinary being who fits into running, cycling, and other sports alike, and when they come back to running it’s as if they had never left.

I also loved to hear about marathon day stories, and trail racing. Most runners have dabbled in both, and sometimes they were Clock Junkies that one day decided to let their beards grow and ended up ditching the clock to instead go by the time set by the terrain itself. Hearing many stories from women also opened my appetite to give running another try. I heard stories of how running could allow for times shared with a dog, a moment of silence, an opportunity to catch up with best friends, a place to meet others who understand the practice, and a safe place to stop thinking of comparison and instead act as a collective.

Who cares what your time is really? If you show up for yourself to every run, and if you push your mind to follow, you are doing harder work than trying to get something nice on the clock. Should you see progress? Absolutely. If your goal is to run faster, or to run longer, it will only happen if you find what type of runner you are.

Running Teaching #11: Running will only give you as much as you put into it.