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A Question About Running Enjoyment

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:14pm

I often run in our close-knit neighborhood where I wind near homes of friends, past  businesses, and around parks, churches, and schools. 

It’s not unusual to later bump into a friend in our neighborhood who says, “I saw you running the other day.”   They sometimes ask how far I was running, am I getting ready for a race , or comment how much I must really enjoy running. Those are genuinely nice people and I politely reply briefly about my running and then move on to chat about the weather, spouses, kids, etc.

Happry_running_girl Then once in a while some dunderhead asks me, “If you enjoy running so much, how come you don’t smile when you run?” or “I’ve watched marathons on TV and why do those runners look miserable?” 

Zing!  They feel like they just busted me!  They sheepishly grin like I was just exposed on Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator.”  I smile and let them believe they found me out, and that I, plus millions of other runners world wide, are fakes. 

So does not smiling while running run tell the world runners are miserable?   I guess so.  Yup, we’re all just out there every day pretending to find enjoyment, satisfaction, and other rewards in running.

Happy_guy_running_2_2 Hmm, is it our faux enjoyment that explains why we pour ourselves into our fitness?  Is that why getting new running shoes is a sacred experience and why those who truly understand runners well, like Josie,give runners gear and gadgets as gifts?

Is it our imaginary enjoyment that explains why we spend our hard-earned money on race entry fees?  And how do we explain why many like Marcy get up early to run or run in the heat of the mid-day or the last hours of the evening to fit in some miles? 

Why do we plot training runs and race dates on our already-busy calendars?   Why are some of our best friendships with those who also suffer through their running?   Some folks must associate sweat and effort as synonymous with running self-inflicted torture.

Happy_runner_smal_girl I actually believe many non-runners  do understand that runners enjoy running, and accept that we don’t need a grin plastered across our faces as evidence.  But to some skeptics, we runners appear to be screwballs.  Sadly, they haven’t experienced the thrill of the running life, and secretly, I believe they’resuffering from running envy.

So now with the smiling and enjoyment question put to rest, I'm looking for responses to some other far more important running questions:

  • Why is it when I walk up several flights of stairs along with non-runners, I’m just as short of breath as them?
  • Why don’t runners wear striped shirts?
  • How many non-blogging runners do you estimate there are for every one of us blogging runners?

Happy Girl running on Flickr by Lynn

Happy Man running on Flickr by Traveling Gurl

Young Happy runner on Flickr by Design Grave

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