Running: It’s my release, even if it’s not yours

For the past 20 years, my personal release has always been running.

Always.

I’m not naturally fast—I’ve never won a race.

I also don’t look like you’re typical runner—I’m not long and lean, rather, I look exactly like I was built for the sport that was my first love: gymnastics. Yet, 5-nothing and muscular, I run.

I’ve run 5Ks. I’ve run 100Ks. Well, one 100K.

I’ve done three-day races in the wilds of Arkansas. (And gotten hopelessly lost in the wilds of Arkansas…make your “Deliverance” jokes in the comments section.)

I’ve run 18 miles through the Pyrenees with nothing but a granola bar, a friend and a disposable camera for when we reached the border of Spain and France. We also didn’t have a plan as to how to make it back to our hotel and hitched a ride with a French family who played the English-language portions of a Celine Dion CD for us and gave us taffy to chew on between our English/Spanish/French exclamations of thanks.

Yes, even when I totally screw up, running is a release for me.

I know it’s not this way for everyone. Most people I know hate running. Many cite it as punishment for bungled volleyball practices and lost football games.

But that’s just fine.

That leaves more miles for me.

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17 thoughts on “Running: It’s my release, even if it’s not yours”

  1. Okay, running through the Pyrenees sounds cool. I wasn’t a runner before my knee was messed up, so anybody who can do that has my admiration. I have a college friend who does triathlons. Same approach – she may not win, but doing them makes her feel alive.

  2. You do make it sound great. I used to run back in college, and there was a definite zen zone that I’d hit a couple of miles in. I have turned to the other camp since then, so I’ll leave the miles for you!

  3. Fantastic! I have a friend who does ultra marathons, and I can’t wrap my head around it. But, I recently got back into running (I was a sprinter in high school), and while I can’t say I love it–when I hurt my back and took a break, I did miss it. It feels good to have done it! Pyrenees? Wow. That’s pretty amazing.

  4. It does make me feel alive, that’s a great way to put it, Mary! Alive and zen at the same time:)

    The Pyrenees story is sort of crazy. I was studying abroad and my roommate and I decided we were so close to France, we’d like to run there. We asked the bus driver and he said it was 8 miles. So, we figured we could run there, take a picture and then make it back for when our tour bus was scheduled to leave. When we realized how far it actually was and how late we were, we thought we were screwed. We were crying and sort of freaking out (we were 19), and then this French family saved us. They put their son in another car (they were travelling caravan-style) and loaded us in and took us to our hotel. We made it just in time to make the bus. I thought our lead professor was going to vomit when we told him what we’d done. And then, once we were loaded on the bus, we found out we were taking a surprise trip to France that day anyway. We’d run there because we just wanted to see it and then it turned out we were headed there anyway! Ha.

  5. I’m a runner too. 4 marathons, all slow. I don’t look like a runner either. Cannot imagine doing 100k. Actually, I’m a plodder. But yes, it’s a definite release. And I can sometimes sort out plot problems when I’m on the plod!

  6. Running is a release for me as well, Sarah! I love listening to music, getting out in nature, and just letting my mind wander wherever it will. What an incredible story about running through the Pyrenees–thank you for sharing!

  7. Back surgery cured me, from the running thing. Now I walk. The longest I ever ran was a half marathon. Recently I did 15 miles a little, no, a lot slower but still. But it’s a working walk none the less. Great ideas for my fiction work their way up and out. The problem is memory and too many summers passed. If only walking improved that I could get all of those plot twists into the work. Maybe herbal supplements would help…

  8. Done running but I bike to work when I can and walk a lot. The motion us soothing. Love the Pyrenees story. As close as I get to that is walking around San Francisco from Fisherman’s Wharf back to Union Square. I was grateful to find stairs and then really grateful to find a cable car stop.

  9. I listen to audio books while I run — well I don’t REALLY run, just walk quickly. It gives me time to catch up on books I love without people bothering me

  10. All of you who said you plot while you run: Me too! I always work out problems points or add drama or figure out new twists and then grab a notebook the second I get home. I feel like such a jerk sometimes because I have to get it all out and I don’t want anyone to talk to me until it’s written down!

  11. I love to run too, not as far as you, but still running. Running barefoot on a flat beach with my dog, my man and my girlfriends is my favourite. I get lots of writing ideas while I run, too.

  12. Any sport or physical exercise is such a great way for release. Love your Pyrenees story! What a wonderful, special experience, even if it didn’t seem so at the time.

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