It’s weird how epiphanies happen. This particular one (“I hate running”) came about while I was in the kitchen, getting a snack or grabbing a second lunch, well, something to do with food and stuffing my face. My train of thought went something like this:
Mmm. Hungry. Food. Ugh, leftover baby belly. Ooh, gummy bears. Hmm. Exercise? Run? Blech. I HATE RUNNING.
This really shouldn’t have come as a surprise (but it did). Back when I was a kid, I used to loathe Physical Ed (PE) classes. I especially hated the part when we had to run around the track, which I thought was pointless.
As life and luck would have it, I joined Nike in 2006. Joining a sports company, one is sort of expected to do some kind of sport, or exercise. I picked yoga, and I liked it. I paraded my Nike yoga mat around a lot. I even went to a couple of yoga retreats with my sister.
The job came with a perk – free gym membership at the fitness centre three floors down from my office. I had some fancy free/ discounted Nike gear, a gym right where I work which I didn’t have to pay for – and it still took me over a year to step foot in it.
Soon, I began running on the treadmill. A lot. I had my iPod, my fancy new Nike+ tracking my pace and distance, cool shoes and nowhere else to go. I started running 5ks, then picking the pace up to 8k (that’s 5 miles) on a regular basis. It got easier to run without feeling like I was going to die. The stitch in my side went away. Once I got past the first 2km, I’d hit my pace and glide through the next few kilometres.
I was bored stiff.
Still, I pounded that treadmill. I never ran outside because weather in Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid, roads are not runner-friendly, and frankly, if there’s an air conditioned gym right where I work, I’m going to go the lazy route.
I stopped running when I quit my job, then got pregnant. Five years and four children later, I still haven’t gone back to running. I did a couple of treadmill runs in between pregnancies, and made excuses not to go back.
I thought I just didn’t like exercise and sweating. But I knew that to be untrue because I still love yoga. (Okay, I haven’t been back to a regular practice yet, but I have twins! Just so you know, I will milk that fact for as long as I can).
So, the epiphany. Which if you’ve followed the story so far, will lead you to figure out that I’ve always hated running. I never ran more than 8k, I never ran outside (the few times I did, I hated it), I never signed up for races, and I’ve not been in a hurry to lace up my shoes. I have always hated running, but I’ve never admitted it to myself, or anyone.
I hate running because I suck at it. I hate how I feel while I’m running, and I hate how I don’t feel how I think I should, when I finish a run. When I read about how runners feel when they’re running, I think, eh, I don’t feel that same way. When people talk about how much they love it and why, I absolutely cannot relate.
I hate it because I always want it to end, barely before I even start. I hate that painful feeling in my chest when I can’t suck in enough air to breathe. I hate that I want to stop running, two minutes in. I hate that I can’t really stop because when you run outside, you have to turn back anyway to get to where you came, and you still have to run. (Okay, I guess you could walk back.)
I know I hate running, because I feel completely different about yoga. I love yoga. I love the idea of yoga. I love the practice. I love all the asanas (poses). Except the chair pose. I hate the chair pose. I love the feeling of moving with strength and deliberation. I love that I’m pretty good at it. I love how I feel afterwards, even though I’m disgustingly wringing sweat out of my hair. Yoga made me cry a few times, because ohmygoodness, all the feels. (To be fair, running has made me cry too, but out of pain and frustration).
I’m sorry, runners. I just can’t get into running. I tried. I even talked about running a marathon before I turn 40 (which is in 16 months time).
Well, that’s not going to happen.
I’m not a runner. I never will be. And I’m okay with it.
Runner friends, don’t hate me. Also, don’t try to convince me otherwise. I love you, running people (you know who you are).
Are you a runner? Why?