Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Romance of Running

Continuing with my inspirational excerpts from Born to Run, I found myself both convicted and inspired by ultramarathoner Ann Trason's analysis of the romance of running:

"Grueling, grimy, muddy, bloody, lonely trail-running equals moonlight and champagne. But yeah, Ann insisted, running was romantic; and no of course her friends didn't get it because they'd never broken through. For them, running was a miserable tow miles motivated solely by size 6 jeans: get on the scale, get depressed, get your headphones on, and get it over with."

Ouch. Clearly, Liv + I have quite frequently fallen into the category of Ann's friends. But every so often, the romance finds its way into running, and the two work in harmony to create the ultimate "runner's high."

"You have to be in tune with your body, and know when you can push it and when to back off... You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back; make sure to treat yourself to cool water and a salty snack and ask yourself, honestly and often, exactly how you feel. What could be more sensual than paying exquisite attention to your own body? Sensual counted as romantic, right?"

Through the bang-ups and hang-ups of injury and training pitfalls, I've certainly realized our mistake of committing to a marathon before we learned to truly love running. We no doubt would be in a better situation now if we were more seasoned runners with years of experience under our belts. But for Liv + I, we needed a goal to work toward to make us stick with running - otherwise, we both would've quickly gotten sidetracked by whatever fitness craze seemed exciting and new. So while our approach has been a little unconventional and slightly extremely alarming to our bodies, it has mostly worked for us. 

But I find myself jealous of Ann's love affair with running and her full understanding of her body's needs and limitations (if she actually has limitations, that is). The good news is that the marathon is only the beginning of a lifetime of running for us - and our love affair with running will continue to grow. 


  1. Thank you for this post and for admitting to jumping into the marathon before learning to love running! I understand your reasoning for doing it. But, it is SO common today to see people doing this and not understanding the love of running first. My neighbor did this not once, but twice. She hated the journey of the marathon and complained every step of the way. Finally it clicked and she decided to stop running marathons. Now maybe she'll have the breathing room to find the love of running. You'll get there too. Just give it the space it needs.

  2. thanks for your comments, miss z. it's not easy to admit my mistakes, but the more and more i learn and explore about running, i become increasingly aware of how flawed my approach has been. committing to the marathon on day one forced me to focus on 26.2, rather than "right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot." while it is essential for me to have a goal in mind in order to stick with any plan (especially considering how little i cared for running before), i definitely should have started slower and given my body more time to adjust, and my mind more time to accept and love running. but the past is the past - i now have 26 miles to look forward to on sunday, followed by a lifetime of miles to come.