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I’m not a runner

March 21, 2012

People who LOVE to run (you know the type: the really peppy, excited, super-supportive ones) say that as soon as you’re running, you’re a runner. I don’t think that’s true, at least not for me. I started running a year ago, after being inspired by both the elite and amateur runners at The Hague’s big half marathon, the City-Pier-City run. I started Couch to 5K (C25K for those of us in the know), signed up for a race, worked my butt off, ran my race in record time thanks to a very supportive race buddy and… promptly stopped running. It was a crummy summer, I was busy with either school or work every waking hour, my shins hurt, I was tired – the list of excuses went on and on. The fact of the matter is, though, that I just don’t love to run. Never have. I don’t get runner’s high. I don’t find it clears my mind. I don’t get into a zone of sorts. I pant and bitch and moan and ask myself why I thought this was a good idea to do in the first place every single step of the way.

But I still do it. It’s a cheap, quick way of getting some exercise in, of seeing something of my neighborhood, of spending a little time outside (and as someone who has to spend a lot of time in classrooms, offices, and libraries, that time is precious). I started running again a few months ago and this time I hope to stick with it, despite not believing I’ll ever truly LOVE it like those other people LOVE it.

Days like today help me stick to that resolution. After a productive day working on a conference paper in the library and spending my lunch and coffee breaks soaking up the tentative March warmth in the sun with friends, I decided to go for a run through the dunes and on the beach; the first time I’ve done so since I stopped running last year.

Watching the sun set while running through the dunes was lovely.

Looking out over the sea from the top of the dune before running down the stairs to the beach was better.

Running on the beach, waves crashing on my left, sun setting just behind me, the smell of sea and salt in my nose, was the absolute best.

I may not be a runner, but I can appreciate a beautiful day when it comes around. Today was an excellent one. It may have become a cliché by now, but Karen Blixen was on to something when she wrote

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.

Sometimes, it’s nice to hit two out of three at the same time.

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