‘What We Think About When We Run’

Feet went numb, stomachs ached, lungs heaved, exhaustion loomed, hills hurt, heat sapped, vomit threatened; all told, fully a third of runners’ thoughts concerned the downsides of running.

In the years since high school, I’ve run thousands and thousands of miles. I’ve run in subzero temperatures, kicking numb toes through shin-deep snow. I’ve run beneath pouring rain, shoes squelching with each soggy step. I’ve run through sweltering heat, sucking thick air. I’ve run beside busy two-lanes, along barely-maintained wilderness trails, and atop groaning treadmills.

Friends who admire my jogging habit sometimes assume that I must love it. That I’m addicted to some mythical runner’s high. That I feel at one with the world when I’m pounding the pavement.

The truth? I resent every mile. When I run, my brain repeats a bitter mantra: “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.” I dread every workout and only “enjoy” running when it’s over.

So why run at all? Why torture myself? Simple math. My running regimen burns extra calories and gives my diet some breathing room. It’s hardly the romantic or devout rationale some runners cite.