Are you a Runner? Or just want to Run…?

On the heels of running the Hana Relay this September, (The Hana Relay is a spectacular relay race, run along a 54 mile stretch of winding road, complete with waterfalls, scenic ocean and jungle views, valleys filled with ginger in full bloom, and surrounded by people dressed up, singing, and laughing – a LOT!), I got to thinking.  I used to run.  I used to love to run.  Correct that, I used to love the way I felt AFTER I had run.  Those endorphins can become an addiction, causing people to keep running, even though their doctors tell them that they MUST STOP!  It’s not unlike the heart attack patient who is told they must change their lifestyle, or they will die- Runners are told they will not be able to walk, and yet they keep running.

Okay, some of them keep running.

For me, it was after the birth of my first child that my running ended- or so I thought.  I experienced a debilitating back injury that kept me from doing much of anything, let alone running.  I could hardly walk, the pain was so bad.  Luckily, I had an amazing Physical Therapist who taught me how to bring myself back, first to normal, and then to a place where I felt even stronger and better in my body than I had felt before I had children.  This journey was part of what led me to the work I do now.  It’s an incredible thing to believe you are finished, that life will never hold the same level of activity and enjoyment for you, and then to go beyond that.

As much as I had recovered from back pain, I still didn’t think I would ever run more than a mile or so.  My comfort zone used to be in the 6-mile range, so it was quite a shock to not be able to go past that one mile mark.

But then, two years ago I was invited to run The Relay.  The Hana Relay had been elusive for me.  Interestingly enough, I connected my original back injury to 15 years earlier, training for the first Hana Relay I was going to run, I had been out in Hana, and was thrown off of a horse onto my hip.  Years later, this translated into my back pain- still having never run the relay.  I decided to go for it.  I was feeling strong again, had been a few years out of pain, and knew how to keep my core strong enough to maintain.

Ahhh, it felt good to run again- or rather, it felt good to be done after running again.  There was that feeling.  The rush of endorphins, the physical streamlining that only running brought to me.

So, this is my ode to running.  A man named Christopher McDougall has been studying how our bodies were meant to run.  The mechanics of how our bodies are meant to run.  It’s not just about ‘barefoot running’ but it’s a way of moving your body, and even a way of living a more fulfilling life.   He is articulate and has an interesting point of view.

 

Here is a link to the history of how we got so off course with our running – would you believe that our consumer society played a part?  Click here to go to the NY Times article

And here is a video connected to the article above that breaks down and shows how to re-train your body to run correctly- interestingly this comes from the 1800s – it’s called the 100-up. Click here to see the video

So, whether you feel like you were born to run, I invite you to explore your movement with a sense of playfulness, a sense of recognizing that our bodies were actually designed to move through space more than they were designed to sit at a desk or behind the wheel of a car.  I know, those things are sometimes a necessity in our lives, but the couch can wait, there is a whole big world out there, just waiting to be turned into a playground.  Have Fun!

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