As part of our “Making Happiness” series, Chloe talks to us about why she runs, and ultimately, why it makes her happy.
* * * * *
Those who know me well (and probably who don’t know me that well), know that I run. A lot! They will also know that a lot of my life is geared around running (going out on a Saturday night?! But what about long-run-Sunday?!). I often reflect as to why I run… generally while running and questioning all my life choices.
I often hear people say “I love running it’s my therapy” or “it’s me time” or “it just clears my head and I can relax“. To be honest, I can clear my head with a cup of liquorice tea while watching Dance Moms or some other scripted reality show. I love exercise, I love watching sport and being active. But what I love most is what running does for me, how it makes me feel and how it structures my life.
Over the years running has become an integral part of my routine. It took a while to get there, and for a long time I would have to reaaaallly talk myself into going for a run.
I am fairly certain I tried to break up with my now husband on a run once so I wouldn’t have to run anymore (he is pretty obsessed with running).
For a time I would miss lots of runs, which slowed down my progress in reaching my running goals. I would feel guilty about it and give myself a hard time about it, which would give me less motivation to run and so the cycle went on.
Now I am in a space where I have a structured training plan, and I fit it into my routine, just like I factor in food shopping, paying bills and eating. It’s part of my routine, and whether or not I feel like it doesn’t come into it, I put my kit on and I head out.
Sometimes there is still some degree of negotiating with myself, morning runs get pushed back to after work and pushed back again and then I head out in the dark disgruntled. On days I don’t want to do it, I tell myself to just head out for 20 minutes, (or 10 or 5!) and see where that takes me.
Other days I focus on the outcome and that drives me. Occasionally, when I REALLY don’t feel like it, I skip it, and I am learning to be gentle with myself about it. I make sure I can own and respect my decision; if I’m going to feel guilty then I may as well go running. Because the pain of a run is never as bad as the mental torture of the “I-should-have-gone-running” I repeat to myself all day long (trust me it gets pretty annoying).
I love eating. I love it I love it I love it. So yes, running is good, especially long distance running. When I’m training for a marathon and attend social events, you can usually find me face deep in a bowl of crisps or whatever food I can find. And the saddest part when you’ve ran a marathon? Going back to a normal diet and not eating everything in sight. That’s when you need to sign up to your next event.
(nb from Fiona… Mark used to promise to cook Chloe dinner if she went out for a run with him in the early days of their relationship… he knew the way to her heart from the start ♥)
Ok, so I don’t like to be dramatic, but come on people. We’ve all seen the films, there is a slight possibility that some virus or drug or dodgy experiment might bring about a zombie apocalypse. And when that happens I will be ready to run away from them. I’m serious, get in shape people.
CHANNELING MY INNER GANSTA
So I can listen to gangsta rap and imagine what my life would be like in the hood without judgement. Other time I imagine I am some kind of assassin. Or a spy.
When I am running, it is just me. The results I get, the fact that I can run for a certain amount of time or a certain distance, is because I trained hard and got myself there. It’s incredibly empowering and over the years it has taught me to be proud of myself and appreciate myself for what I accomplished.
Not just the accomplishment of the event itself, but the process.
When I crossed the line of the 50km race I did in October, I was so proud of myself. Yes I had excellent guidance and support in the lead up, but I was the one training and I was the one out on the trails for 5h41min working hard and staying strong. That’s pretty cool.
But loving yourself through achievements is one thing. For me, running has taught me (and still teaches me) to love myself through “failures”. Running has exposed my deepest darkest insecurities and displayed them raw for all to see (in our wedding vows my husband “joked” that he would always be by my side, through happiness, tears, anger or despair- all of which were achieved under 4h during my second marathon. Good times.).
But even through those tough moments, I love the feeling that my body is strong, healthy and functional. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, that I have cellulite on my legs and a bit of extra padding here and there; it’s my vessel, and I have to look after it and care for it to achieve my goals.
I love watching any sporting event. There is something awe-inspiring about elite athletes working hard and putting everything on the line. But I much prefer watching the mere-mortals like myself, take part, work hard and be proud of themselves while loads of strangers cheer them on and children try and get a high-five from them.
It is an even better feeling being part of those mere-mortals; while I’m there all hung up on the fact I ran 60 seconds slower than what I wanted, complete strangers will encourage me and congratulate me on getting out there. The running community is so welcoming and uplifting, people of all ages, shapes and ability level come together and support each other which is so very humbling!
NATURE AND EXPLORING
I love being outdoors! I love nature and all its different wildlife and scenery. It might sound cliché but I love being amongst it, cut off from technology, just at one with nature (sometimes it backfires, like when you run through a spider web, or a snake wants to join you for a bit). It’s why I love trail running so much, it reminds you that the world is big and beautiful and your worries are small and trivial in comparison.
WALKING TAKES A LONG TIME
One day, the hubby and I decided that we would go for a nice long walk instead of a trail run. So we found a route, 25km, cool should take about 2h30 right?! we packed a small sandwich each and off we went. Oh.dear.god. It took FOREVER!!!! We survived, and decided walking was silly and returned to “exploring by running” .
I am sure I could go on and on, and find new reasons to love running everyday! Ultimately it’s as simple as: running makes me happy and I like being happy.
Are you a runner too? Do you share any of the above reasons with Chloe? Do you have any other reasons? Let us know in the comments below!
Chloe lives in the Sunshine Coast, Australia, with her husband Mark and her two fur babies: Sammy & Harry (and a few huntsmen spiders which apparently don’t count as pets!). Chloe famously started running when her now husband asked her to go running with him early on in their relationship, promising her dinner in exchange. This worked and many years later she now runs 50km trails in the jungle for fun! She loves good coffee, her cats and the whales she gets to see along the Sunshine Coast.