I don’t know too many people who loved running the first go around. For most, it takes several weeks, even months, before finding the “joy” in running. It’s a process. I would imagine if you’re just starting the sport you may be a little perplexed by all of the posters and quotes about how glorious running is, and even more baffled why so many people would “share” and “like” those banners.
You see, running is a lot like wine. How many people do you know who loved their first sip of wine? I distinctly remember mine. I believe I was around 16 years old and asked my father if I could have a try. He handed the wine glass to me with a huge smirk on his face and a loud, “SURE, go right ahead.” I think you can guess what happened next, I nearly spit it out on the living room floor. I think my only positive experience with wine was accepting communion– the “Blood of Christ” had a horrible taste, but gave a warm soothing sensation as it traveled down my esophagus. To be honest, as a child I was not completely convinced that I wasn’t drinking blood, so, well… that was freaky.
So, like wine, I think it’s only fair to give running more than one chance. There are runs to be savored and sipped, and others that, like a teenager, you gulp down (Think Boones Farm Strawberry Wine). With age, you learn that you don’t need to sprint through every run, nor gulp down a glass of wine. Sometimes your pace is heavy and slow, and others light and crisp. You can only feel the intricate details of a run by slowing down and being in the moment, like sipping wine and holding it in your mouth to taste the bold top notes, and subtle undertones.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not promoting that you go out and drink wine, I don’t even drink because it gives me terrible migraine headaches. I’m saying that exploring the idea that we don’t always love something on the first try, and that you may even grow to appreciate it in a way you never thought possible, might be a good idea. I also know people who have tried wine, hate it, and will never drink another sip again in their life, the same is true for running… it is not for everyone.
For me and many others, we consider ourselves connoisseur’s of the run. We would much rather get drunk on endorphins than alcohol. We prefer a “full bodied”… human body. We love a good runners “blush” in the Summer, and the “bouquet” of “earthy” sweat after a long run doesn’t seem to bother us at all. “Thicker” and “slower legs” means we’ve over trained. The word “reserve” describes energy that we are saving for the last part of a race.
So the next time you see a motivational running poster that says something like, “Feel the joy in running” or, “Running is my Therapy”, give it a second thought. Maybe right now you can’t comprehend how on Earth someone could possibly love running, but next month it might happen for you. If you’ve just started running and you hate it, maybe, after a few outings, you’ll understand that running is just a little bit like wine.
Just like wine, not every run will be perfect. Some wine will be Corked or Oxidized. Some runs will Suck Diaper Doo Doo or be Nightmarish. Neither scenario is a reason to throw in the towel. Who knows, maybe if you keep trying, someday you’ll have the perfectly aged, premium, reserve run.