Monday, August 15, 2011

Running Revelation: It Hurts

(As I build up this new site, I am moving some select posts over from a couple other blogs I used to maintain.  I want to have all these posts in one place and have something for people to ready while I get started.  Sorry for the deluge of posts, most of which are out dated by now but still relevant.)
I just started reading Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run, by Kristin Armstrong.
Thus far, it’s nothing ground breaking, but rather is just one woman’s thoughts about running – the who, why, where, when and how of it all.  From what I understand, it’s a collection of blog posts and/or columns that the author wrote for Runner’s World.  Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable and entertaining read, and not too heavy after a day of work.  The author is personable and you can relate to her.  She can make you laugh and make you tear up, make you think about important things or remember special moments.
The revelation I experienced last night while reading is exactly what the post title says: running hurts.
The author was recounting a marathon she had run, and said that her feet hurt and her calves were aching.  And I thought, “Huh.  Even experienced runners feel pain.”
In my naivete about running, I had assumed that people who run all the time – “real runners” – were able to do so because after years of training, they just didn’t hurt any more.  I guess I thought they got used to it or something?  I imagined “real runners” breezing through marathons pain free, light as air, quick on their feet and feeling great.
Apparently, it’s not so.  Apparently, it’s always going to feel this way – my feet are going to hurt, my shins are going to ache, my chest is going to be tight, my body is going to fight back once and a while.
And rather than feeling destroyed by this and giving up – rather than thinking that it’s not worth training or running if becoming “good” at running doesn’t mean running pain free, I’m feeling buoyed by this revelation.  This is awesome!  Real runners hurt, so it’s okay to hurt!  I’m not hurting because I’m doing it wrong or I’m not “good at it” yet or I’m a “fake” runner.  I hurt now and I’ll hurt tomorrow and I’ll probably REALLY hurt during and after my half-marathon.  But that is okay.
I guess it all comes back to what the salesperson at The Running Room said – “There are no fake runners or novice runners, we’re just all runners.”  And we all hurt, and we all feel pain, and we all have to push through it to the next mile.

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