The Best Run … You VS. You


I saw a woman running the other day outside who looked like she was absoutly dying. She was practically walking and looked like she was in extreme pain. Her face was scrunched up and her arms were frailing at her sides. I was nervous she was going to keel over any moment.

I almost wanted to help her.

As I went home from class that day, I began to think a lot about why people run. Do we run to keep in shape? To clear our heads? Do we run because we love the feeling of almost puking? Or that feeling when your lungs turn to stone as you push yourself past a specific landmark?

Running is You VS. You

Running is You VS. You

Why do we constantly push ourselves to finish that last grueling mile when we are sometimes clearly not enjoying it?

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
-Steve Prefontaine

You may not be an Olympic runner, but then again, maybe you are. But Olympian or not, we find ourselves out there pounding the pavement daily. (Or for some of us, every few days, or maybe once a week. Or maybe even once every month.) Regardless, it’s the drive for self-satisfaction and achievement that gets us out there.

For me, I began running the summer after my senior year of high school. I had run my normal route all throughout high school, but in the summer of 2008 something was different. After playing 12 years of volleyball and softball, I was feeling a loss of identity not truly being considered an official athlete anymore.

I began to run to keep in shape and for the soul purpose of it being a sport. But something about running was different than any other team sport I had played before. The sports I had played all my life were so primarily focused on team members, and don’t get me wrong, I loved that, but for once in my life, I was it. I was the team and everything I succeeded in was all due to my efforts.

I’ve gone on runs with plenty of people, friends, family members, team members and roommates. But to me, those runs have never been as fullfilling as when I am out there all alone. Just me and my thoughts. Or just me and my music.

To me, the best runs come from when it’s you VS. you. No matter how fast or slow you are running, no matter how experienced you are, no matter your age, gender or race – if you push yourself, and you get out there to run and give it your all…you are a runner.

That woman I talked about at the beginning of my post, she’s a runner… and a darn good one.

10 thoughts on “The Best Run … You VS. You

  1. I think it’s all about just getting out there and giving it a try! That’s the thing I love about running – it truly is all about your personal record. It’s you VS. you, so no matter what pace your going, or what route you’re running, you’re a runner because you got out there.

    If you truly are a beginning runner (and good for you!!) I would try going for a brisk walk and try jogging a couple times in between walking. I know if I haven’t run in a long time, I want to get out there and run 5523 miles, when in reality I’m really not up for it, the same thing often happens for beginning runners. Try not to push yourself too hard or get too frustrated when you’re just getting into it. Like everything else in life, running takes practice, stick to a few normal routes with a few challenges and you’ll be a pro in no time! Good luck!

  2. If started running now, I would probably look like the woman you mentioned in the beginning of your post! I’ve never been a regular runner, but I want to get in shape this summer. What do you suggest I do to find a comfortable pace, or to start running in general?

  3. Thanks for the comment Amanda. It’s very true that taking time for yourself is one of the healthiest things you can do, especially if it’s exercising – not only can it be healthy physically, but healthy for you mentally as well. I can’t agree more that it is a time for you to work out what is bothering you. I think that’s why I love running the most, because it’s something that can be just for you.

  4. They say that running is the best way to clear a troubled mind, and this past summer I was going through a lot of personal stuff and I cannot agree me with that saying and what you are saying in running can help you relax and reduce pressure. I too try not to imagine miles or pace when I’m running to relax, but if I’m running to improve I do. It differentiates with my mood though, just like you say your running adjust to your emotions. You make some really great points, thanks for the comment.

  5. Jenn, thanks for the comment, and I can agree with what you’re getting at. I like that you say to run without expectations. That’s interesting in the fact that I think it’s true, but also a little false. You may not be disappointed if you run without expectations and to just get out there and do your own thing, but also, are you really gonna push yourself and challenge your personal record if you have no expectations. Often people confuse no expectations with not caring, something as runners, we need to be careful of.

  6. I really enjoyed this post. I am not personally a runner and never really have been because I don’t have the capability of being able to breathe and run at the same time, so when I go to the Rec I stick to the elypticals and treadmills. Due to my running inability (though this may have been geared more toward those who do not have use of their legs), I like the picture with the quote at the bottom of the post about runners that run harder for those who cannot run. I can really relate to the fact that when you are by yourself with your music on and not paying attention to anything around you, it is very nice. It’s like you’re separating yourself from the world and everything that you have to deal with in it. It’s a good time to work out things that are bothering you and on your mind. I definitely agree that running, or working out rather, is a self driven thing. I always feel better about myself knowing that I have done something for myself for a couple hours a few times a week.

  7. Running is one of the best way to keep me active and energetic, too. It is not only a sport to keep my shape, but also always adjust my emotion. In the daily life, I always think a lot of thing. It made me always tired and anxious. I have attended a running club in high school. My coach told me running is not that boring and hard as I imagined. Running can help me to relax, to reduce the pressure I usually have. I never think about the speed and miles when I was running. I just try to take deep breath and do not think anything. After running, I feel that I have taken a real break. It is better than any leasure activities.

  8. I think its true in the fact that the people who look like they are dying are probably doing it for the wrong reasons. They feel like they have to run a certain distance or a set speed to impress. But if a person listens to their body they will find a stride that fits and they will be able to really run for themselves. As a jogger purely for relaxation purposes, I know that the best thing is to just run with no distractions and no expectations. I think it crosses over into other aspects of life too. If you really wanna accomplish something, you have to set a pace of achievement that is reasonable and then accomplish it. Not push yourself too fast and then wear yourself out.

  9. It’s true, there really is no better way to clear your mind then to run! I tend not to be at the rec. so much once the weather turns nice, but I agree with your workout walking on an incline, cross training is very important.

  10. I enjoy working out as often as I can. Usually I take advantage of the treadmills or track at the Recreation Center. I prefer to walk on an incline at a fast pace but sometimes I get the urge to run for a long period of time. When I run, I feel like a weight of stress is being lifted off of my shoulders. The combination of running and listening to music on my iPod makes me forget about everything that’s going on around me. After I complete a workout, appearing to be in “extreme pain” tells me that I did something right on that treadmill.

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