Note: Written as a response to 15 Reasons You Should Go for a Run.
I’ve always hated running.
In grade school, on the dreaded day when we had to run the mile, the only kid who was slower than me had a foot to thigh cast on his leg and used a walker.
I wheezed and gasped, and grabbed at what they called the “stitch” in my side, which was less like a stitch and more like a knitting needle stuck into my obliques.
I was so humiliated that I practiced running– a thing that everyone else seemed to do effortlessly–in secret, staggering around the cricket pitch across the street from my house. My goal was to go ten times around the field. I didn’t even make it once.
Even after I reached adulthood and was working out regularly, I still sucked at running. I’d try it every couple of years or so, just to make sure it was as hideous as I remembered. It always was.
I wondered, how on earth are all these people just jogging around like it’s nothing when after ten steps I need to vomit?
I’d see friends and family sign up for 5Ks, “fun” runs, 10Ks and marathons. My brother even banged out an Ironman. It was so strenuous, he said, that he was peeing black by the time it ended.
I felt deficient because I wasn’t joining everyone in their runner’s high. It didn’t matter that I biked, or lifted weights, or swam, or practiced yoga, or rollerbladed every single day—because I didn’t run, in my mind, I was still that grade school loser.
And then one day I had a capital E epiphany. I can still be a good person and have a full life and be in great shape and never ever run. Ever.
I’m 43 years old: I can choose how and when to move my body, and whatever I choose is fine!
Here are five reasons I choose not to run:
1) I hate it. See above.
Walking on the other hand, walking I love. I can breath normally and look around and see stuff, because I’m not crouched behind a bush trying not to hurl.
2) It hurts my back.
I’ve always had a bad back; I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12 and wore a full back brace for two years. Later, I herniated two discs and had to have back surgery.
When I run, my spine feels like a broken Slinky. Afterwards, all my muscles seize up and if I don’t take an anti-inflammatory, pain shoots down my legs and my left foot goes numb.
When I walk, my back is fine.
3) It hurts my knees.
I don’t know why. It just does.
Walking doesn’t. It’s not complicated.
4) I look ridiculous.
As a yoga teacher, I strive to be immune to the pitfalls of the ego, but come on!
I don’t know how, when or why I developed my #notsuperfly stride, but it’s been remarked upon more than once so I know I’m not imagining it.
Somehow my heels never really hit the ground, so I bounce up and down on my toes and look more or less exactly like a human pogo stick.
To all my winged foot compatriots I say, run! Run like the devil! Gump up that track like it’s never been Gumped before! Bathe in your endorphins, suck down those gels, let your urine be black!
I will even un-ironically sing you the Chariots of Fire theme song as you fly by, and hold out electrolyte dense beverages in tiny paper cups.
And when you’re gone, I’ll turn around and began to meander the long way home. You’ll make it there before me, even though you took the longer way, but that’s ok by me.
Since you’ll be so early, feel free to get dinner started—I’m certain I’ll be famished. Never underestimate how exhausting singing Chariots of Fire without a modicum of sarcasm can be.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons
Photo: Courtesy of the editor