Running – A Reflection




I hate running.

I actually hate cardio in general.

At best, it’s a necessary evil.

And running?

It’s hard.

And boring.

And I’m not good at it.

But it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017, so I’m giving it a try.

The Goal

Somewhere in the mists of time (10 years ago) I had a vision of myself as in-shape.

The me in this vision lifted 3-4 times a week, could regularly squat and bench press his bodyweight, and ran 2 miles three times a week.

Fairly modest goals, even for a busy adult.

But here’s the thing.

I was never that athletic, not even in my teens.

This isn’t a case of a former college (or even high school) athlete aiming to regain a fraction of his former glory – no – this is a never-was trying to build new muscles out of willpower alone.

The Excuse

The excuse when I was a kid?

Exercise-induced asthma. I had a few attacks – even went to the hospital twice.

Cardio was the only thing that really set me off – sprints, or worse – swimming.

My two worst asthma attacks – the hospital visit ones – happened in the water. One was in the deep end of a pool. The other? The middle of a lake.

Scary stuff.

But time moved on and I outgrew it. Haven’t even carried an inhaler in 20 years.

At my absolute peak conditioning – senior year of college, I could barely jog 2.0 miles.

Hard to be better at 30+ years old than you were at 20.

But in a way, it’s an advantage – that I wasn’t a high school track star means that every single mile is a triumph.

It also means I don’t have to compete against a ghost.


Since Jan. 1, I’ve run four 5K races and a 4-miler.

I’m proud of myself, even as I’ve shirked consistent training.

The results?

Bottom 15% of men in my age group (and overall). Thoroughly mediocre.

But, as I wrote last month, sometimes mediocrity doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I run at all.

Because it’s hard.

And it takes discipline.

At the end of the day the only person I’m competing against is myself.

Last week I ran a full 3 miles without stopping to walk once. It was a personal record — a triumph, even if I came in slower than several full 5K’s where I’d taken breaks to walk.


Somewhere in there is also a metaphor for life – we’re all progressing along this journey just as a runner puts one foot in front of the other to move forward.

But at the end of the day, my biggest realization so far has been this:

Running serves as a great gut check for the overall balance of my life – days that I run generally turn out better than days that I don’t.

And that?

That is enough.


* This post originally appeared yesterday on Quora.

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