Ever since high school, I’ve been a jogger. An outside jogger that is, although lately that’s included treadmill running, which does the job, but is far less enjoyable.
I began my love affair with it in high school when running to High Park and back seemed like no big deal, when it was at least three miles, all in the space of a single gym class.
Over the years, there have been times when I run, and times when I don’t. It’s never a good thing when I stay away from running, and always a clear indication that I need to take stock, and add some balance to my life. I guess it also means that I’m not happy. Well, I haven’t run in a very long time, until now.
I thought I couldn’t run much or for long because I’d been away from it for a long time. I thought I’d try the Running Room program, and was put off by the guy behind the counter who seemed more drill sergeant than kind supporter, as he listed all the things he hated about runners, including people who had jogged before enlisting in an intro class and people who signed up in January as part of their New Year’s Resolutions only to quit soon afterwards.
Still, I wanted a program with some structure, so I thought I’d try running on my own to see if I could run for 10 minutes without stopping to determine if I could go right to the Running Room’s beginner’s program, or risk the drill sergeant’s wrath.
To my surprise and serious delight I did, and I could. While running on that beautiful snowy day, I decided I’d skip the organized program for now and just run. It felt like the right thing to do.
If you live in a cold climate, you probably know that the secret to staying warm is in layering properly to the point where you actually feel warm. I skipped the Running Room, and found more kindness at Lululemon, where the sales girls were very clear and helpful in choosing the right gear to run outside in. Having been so long away from it, I needed guidance in what was best to use with layering for running in Toronto with freezing temperatures. The girls also seemed to love running themselves, and invited me to go on their weekly runs, which I don’t think I’m ready to do, but it’s still nice to be invited.
It was a bit of work getting organized to run outside, but it’s so worth it because running in winter is fantastic. There aren’t as many people out (it’s still super important to still be on your guard), so it’s even more solitary an activity than usual, which can provide for a nice change of tone from a crowded, busy life. And it’s easier to run when you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery, especially the winter white of a snowfall. Nothing but the crisp air and the sound of your footsteps against the snow as you start your iPod.
Someone once said that when you get past a certain point in your run, you feel like you can go on forever. It’s true. The challenge is to keep running until you reach that threshold, and then something else magically seems to take over. I guess that’s why people, myself included, keep going back to it.