I know lots of runners. One of my best friends is an avid runner – motivated largely by an app called Zombie, Run! though she was a runner prior to starting in on it. Her sister is also a runner. My boss is a dedicated, out-every-morning runner. One of my childhood friends regularly posts pictures of Facebook of herself at marathons, numbered and kitted out in running gear. My dad has always been a runner – he met my mother while he was out on a run and she was out for a walk. I even following Sneakers on Pavement by dedicated long-distance runner/blogger robyn.
But do I run myself? No.
I’ve tried. I did track in 9th grade and did nothing but fail, generally the most epic way, and usually in public. After college I tried to take it up again as a way to get me out of the house and exercising. I manage less than a mile for two whole days before the following conversation with a co-worker:
Me: Are you a runner? (I was pretty certain he was.)
He laughed at me, but it more or less condensed my feelings on running in a nutshell. I don’t run. I don’t like running. I would like to like running. I like being active – I bike, hike, dance, swim and am always ready to try new activities. I’ve gone climbing. I’ve fenced. I’ve done weightlifting and ballroom dancing. But put me in a pair of running shoes and point me down an empty road and after about a hundred yards I’ll be going, “Screw this.” And it’s even worse on a track. Running isn’t fun, but running in circles is downright boring.
My current excuse this that I have one leg that’s a half-inch shorter than the other, which, honest-to-goodness, does put a jerk in my stride that gets downright painful after a while, but I imagine that if I really wanted to run, I wouldn’t let that stop me. And I can run. I run on ellipitcals. I run in place while playing games on the Wii. I can even run in heels – much to the surprise of some of the two-year-olds I’ve babysat. (Nothing with legs that short should move that fast, but they certainly seem to manage, don’t they?) I just don’t understand the appeal, except as a form of exercise. And when I’m chasing something.
You would think that being surrounded by runners, this would make me the target of a certain amount of grief, but so far the worst that happened was my dad was mildly disappointed I didn’t stick with track. Beside, I’m not alone on the running-is-good-for-you-but-I-hate-it side of the fence. My brother put it rather brilliantly while we were eating breakfast at a restaurant one morning, watching a group of people involved in some sort of costume charity thing run up and down the street outside. He said, “I don’t see a bear, Autumn. Why are they running if there’s no bear?”