by Stephen Poupart
I don’t like running. There, I said it—and on a running website to boot!
Why on earth would I choose a running website as a place to share this thought? This website is filled with inspirational stories about people who defy the couch and substitute running or walking for (insert vice or life deficiency here) in order to find a sense of meaning and balance in their lives.
It’s a collection of upbeat stories that can’t help but motivate you into thinking: “If they can do it, I suppose I can too.” So why would I proclaim my unabashed distaste for running here?
Let me explain.
I witnessed the annual Melissa’s Road Race in Banff as several friends and relatives participated. I stood near the finish line and watched as runner after runner crossed the finish line with smiles plastered on their faces. It didn’t seem like anything could wipe those smiles away. I turned to my brother-in-law and said matter-of-factly: “Let’s run the 10K next year.” His response? “Sure.” I registered for the September event sometime over the winter months. I wasn’t worried, as it was months away. As I have never been a gifted breather during sports, I thought that some training was definitely in order. I started by running for one minute and walking for two. I did this over a 2.3 kilometre loop that I created near my house. I slowly built up to two minutes of running and one minute of walking. Still, I didn’t like it or enjoy it in any way. Every time I finished the loop, the words “this sucks” came to mind. I kept training out of a fear of failure on race day. Eventually, I was able to run 5.5K using a 10 minute run, one minute walk pattern. In training, that’s as close as I got to the 10K distance—not exactly a recommended method.
Race day arrived and to make a long story short, I finished the 10K in 55:21, a number that will stay with me forever. My finish line celebration involved lying down on my back somewhere behind the cheering crowds. I had done it. I swore I would keep running now that my goal of a 10K was achieved. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Since that day, about 14 years ago, I have chosen many races and trained for them (more properly, I might add). I don’t run regularly unless I’m training for an event. Why not? Refer to the first sentence of this story.
My point is: some people find that running suits them well enough that they choose to do it regularly. I am acutely aware of the benefits that running brings me during training. I lose a little weight, I am more energized and I feel generally healthier. While it is absolutely true that I don’t like running, it seems to like me. So if you’ll excuse me, spring is here and I think I have a race to register for.