When I was young, I ran everywhere. I ran outside to play in the sandbox, ran to collect water for my sandcastle’s moat, ran inside because the water made me have to go to the bathroom, ran to get a snack, ran outside to get the mail, ran to my fort to read the letter from my pen pal . . . you get the idea. I liked to run. For the fun of it.
I still do.
I don’t go running to stay healthy, or lose weight, or because zombies are chasing me. I run because I like to go fast. I like the wind in my hair, the bounce of my ponytail on my back, leaping from concrete slab to concrete slab, grass and trees and stop signs flying by. The sweat pouring down my cheek melts all the anxiety out of my system, my gasping for breath makes me thankful for each one that I pull in. Running simplifies things.
However, let’s get back to the zombies.
I’d like to think that if I ever needed to, I could run for my life. Mind you, I can’t do Parquer style free-running (I’m scared of falling from great heights) but I think I could get away from a bad guy, as long as the bad guy 1.) can’t run more than 13.1 miles. 2.) doesn’t have any long-ranged weapons 3.) doesn’t know how to track me for 13.1 miles, or else then he’d find me collapsed, red-faced, gasping for breath, and begging for death (the state I was in following my first/last half-marathon)
Long-distance runners really inspire me. Especially William Wallace, The Three Travelers, and the Tarahumara.
Remember that scene in Braveheart when ‘the legend spreads’ and William Wallace runs through the mountains with his great sword on his back, his kilt blowing in the wind, and a sweet appreciation for nature in his expression? I saw it first when I was thirteen, and it totally made me want to start running long-distances. And it totally made me want to run them while wearing a skirt.
Another amazing running scene is in the beginning of The Two Towers, when Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas run “three days and nights pursuit, no food, no rest, and no sign of our quarry but what bare rock can tell.” You know you have a true friend if they’ll run long distances for you, all so you won’t be eaten by orcs. It really it a true sign of friendship. Seeing Legolas run gently through the terrain as if he didn’t want to break a blade of grass, watching his blonde hair waving behind him, made me want to run fast and light over nature, and made me want to do it with my hair down.
And then there’s the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico.
The name they call themselves, ‘Raramuri’ means, ‘those who run fast.’ They have a fun and ancient tradition of running races of up to 120 miles through their rough, canyon country. They’ll even sometimes kick a ball in “foot-throwing” competitions, or keep a hoop rolling the entire time. Not only that, but they run in sandals! And on top of everything, they do it when they’re a bit drunk! (they consume large quantities of corn beer before races)
The Tarahumara like to run. Their races last anything from a couple of hours, to a couple of days! Now, their skills have passed down from generations and generations before them, as their fore-fathers had to run long distances in order to hunt prey (called persistence hunting) because everyone knows that a man can outrun a quadruped because quadrupeds can’t pant (isn’t there a school house rock about that?)
So, why do I run? Because one day I might have to spread the word about my rebel army, while wearing a skirt. Because anyday now, I might have to track a friend who’d been captured by cannibals or zombies or terrorists. Because sometime I may have to outrun my dinner. But mostly, I run because it’s fun.
What’s your favorite form of exercise?