Thursday, October 14, 2010

Run like the wind

When I was a teenager I hated sports. I sucked in it too. Every sport class we had I tried to do my absolute worst.  Most of all I hated running. It seemed like the ultimate torture.  Luckily I was a skinny teenager no weight issues at all (but of course I hated the way I looked, we women are mental in this sense). Even in the army when you have no choice but to run, I really hated performing this sort of duty for my country.  In University I started to like swimming. Swimming was nice especially in a hot place like Israel because you don't sweat when you swim. During those years I hated running I had no problem walking and hiking. That was fine, hiking was always a great pleasure for me and in my teens and early twenties I walked everywhere. 
The way I feel when I run

When I got pregnant with my first child I gained a lot of weight. Over 21kg! I was so enormous, people called me "a whale" to my face. But surprisingly enough all the weight was gone with no special effort some months after I gave birth. This is a serious advantage having babies when you're young.  During my second pregnancy gaining a lot of weight was hazardous because I developed symptom of diabetes.  I needed to do sports. I started walking again and it was no trivial matter walking in the horrible weather of tropical Singapore. But it worked. I didn't get too gigantic and more important didn't get diabetes.  Then I learned that doing sports does have a direct effect on your health. I was mildly surprised.
When my second child was 4 months old we came back home and here I was back in Israel with two kids and a post-natal over weight. I subscribed to the local gym. That was a onetime experience. I spent a fortune on all sorts of classes that I disliked. Just like high-school all over again. I spent so much money on activities like spinning. What is the sense in cycling with 30 other very sweaty people and not reaching anywhere? I felt ridiculous doing that. I don't get all the machinery involved in weight lifting. These rooms full of metallic equipment seem to me like some middle ages torture basement.  I had to find some sport that is cheap, useful and doesn't require special gear. Walking was the sensible option but it wasn't challenging anymore.  So I decided I'll start running. At first I almost fainted after only 200 meters. But I hated the fact that I'm letting myself of the hook so easily. I challenged my character and own lazy tendencies. So the running distance grew. 200 meters became a kilometer. One Km became 2 and 3 and suddenly I could run 5km! I run 2-3 times a week. I am in shape. I got thinner although not as skinny as I'd liked to be. I was amazed, sports works. And you even don't have to pay for it. Just lace up those trainers and run. Nothing is simpler. I jog for several years now with some breaks during pregnancy and breast feeding.  I've run the Nike Night Run for 10km each year for the past 4 years and although it wasn't easy it was fun. And I'm proud of myself for facing the challenge.

As an aspiring runner I was delighted to read Haruki Murakami's book "what I talk about when I talk about running". Murakami is one of my favorite authors, and I learned he is also an amateur runner, but in a much higher level than I am, the guy does 2 full Marathons a year. In this book which is a personal memoir he tries to give the reader a glimpse on to what motivates him to run and to write. He writes about the first Marathon he ran that was in Greece from Athens to Marathon (the original Marathon was the other way around), he writes about running an ultra Marathon of 100 (!!!)km but not from the professional aspect of how to train and what to eat but rather what were his thoughts and how he felt during those very long runs. Most of the time you don't really understand why he runs but I think that is because he himself doesn't have a specific reason. He states in the book that he begun to run for no special reason, one day suddenly he started running and he didn't stop. I don't think I am made from the stuff people like Murakami are made of, he's diligent, hard working and committed to whatever he chooses to do either running or writing. I'm so lazy that every time I accomplish a task I feel like I finished an ultra-marathon myself. The book is very charming Murakami is a very talented writer. Now when I run I keep in my mind one of the best sentences I read: "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional". Amen.
Murakami running to Marathon

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about gyms, that's why I like independent sports so I can leave everyone behind. The book sounds interesting.
    I am very impressed you ran 10 km!