I have a love/hate relationship with running.
It seems to me to be a pursuit that's equal parts ridiculous and essential. I fight it, I embrace it, I punch it in the face, I hold it in my arms. Gah.
It would perhaps be less troubling if I was any good at it, in my head I'm leaping down the road like a baby gazelle, however the reality is much, much different. I can usually manage to look quite normal for the first half a mile but after that I'm struggling every step of the way and it shows. I literally have to fight my bloody legs to carry me, fight my bloody head to keep repeating that I can do it, I can do it, I can. It's this internal battle that doesn't seem to lessen with time that's led me to wonder why I bloody bother.
Maybe it's because even if you are shit at running and look a holy mess whilst partaking of it, it doesn't matter because you've got off your arse and gone out and done something haven't you? I always think 'good for you' whenever I see somebody running, maybe because I know how hard it is, not just to do the actual running thing but to get your bum off the sofa, struggle into skin-tight lycra and open the front door with your trainers on and the world's largest iron-clad running bra strapped to your boobs.
Then there's the challenge of it I suppose. If your body and your mind are both screaming no but yet you still carry on then that is immensely satisfying, no? But quite freakish too, because if your body says no and your mind says no then who exactly is it that's saying yes? What part of you is carrying you forward? Your ego, your spirit, your soul? Your magical, mystical imaginary friend?
Is it possible that all that talk of running being a zen activity is true? Did I scoff at those theories prematurely? I think the answer is yes because whilst I'm dragging my old body round my run route and hurting every step of the way, I know once you've pushed through the first bit of pain (am I really saying this) you settle into this wonderful zone of invincibility where your body feels relaxed and soft, your mind has settled into the plod, plod, plod of your feet and you feel like you could go on forever. A painful, lung screaming, over-heated, vomit inducing forever but a forever just the same.