I Hope This Convinces You To Try Running

I Hope This Convinces You To Try Running

Erin Ye, Editor

My first foray in running came in the seventh grade when I made the bold decision to join the middle school cross country team instead of trying out for field hockey. I didn’t really know what to expect; I was just looking for something to do after school.

 “Alright, girls, first day, all I want you to do is run half of a tour. Turn around before the hill and come back around the baseball cage.”

My coach was a lanky old man in his 70s, and he struck me as somewhere between scary and passionate. He turned out to be both. Let me tell you, I was winded after half a tour. I don’t know what I thought running was supposed to feel like, as I always walked the mile in gym class, but my aerobic system was clearly in need of improvement. I could hardly breathe. Somehow, from that terrible day onward, an entirely new part of my life sprang up, and I was introduced to a world that has made me better. There was a time that I could not run for ten minutes straight, and now I regularly go for an hour. I think everybody should try running, even if it’s only a quarter-mile at first. For indescribable reasons that I will attempt to put into words, running can really change a life.

 Make no mistake: I’m not a star athlete. In fact, I’m really slow. Look my name up on athletic.net or milesplit.com. College coaches are not calling my name. And I won’t lie to you, it still hurts. It hurts a lot. When you’re running, you can feel everything; every breath, every step, every slight slope up or downhill. A huge part of the sport is the pain.

 So why do it? Why subject yourself to torture for the sake of fun? There’s some truth to the whole runner’s high thing. When you set a goal for yourself and you see it all the way through, almost nothing feels better. Sure, there were times when you felt like quitting and moments when it got tough, but at the end of the day, you got it done. Usually, goals take time to fulfill. But every time I go on a run, I get the same feeling that I do after months of working on a project. It’s almost instant joy.

There is something very special about running on a team. A cynic would say it’s the joint suffering, or maybe it’s just the endorphins being released. Regardless, it’s a good time and one that I miss.”

 Through being on the cross country and track teams, I’ve met some of my best friends and learned some of the most important lessons. One race taught me to stay calm even in the dark, another has taught me to zero in on what’s ahead of me. If not for running, I would have never been introduced to the racewalk event, which had taught me to have fun with something, even if other people don’t seem to understand. During normal workouts at practice, I’ve learned to push myself, and from the same workouts, I’ve learned my lesson about not eating breakfast or lunch. There is something very special about running on a team. A cynic would say it’s the joint suffering, or maybe it’s just the endorphins being released. Regardless, it’s a good time and one that I miss.

 If you’re tired of going on walks during this quarantine season, try picking up the pace. It’s okay to start small and build mileage as time goes on. Take different routes, find fun trails. Compete with friends or make it your own journey. If you feel up for it, try out for the cross country team in the fall. It’s a small group, but we’re tight-knit, we work hard, we have fun, and it’s all about improvement from where you currently are. I’ve done many things in 15 years, and it’s crazy to think that had I decided I wasn’t a running person, I would be a completely different person overall. It permeates every part of what I do, and all it is, in theory, is a verb.