I am (not) a runner

I am not a runner.

…and then I started running. It was an early Saturday afternoon in late February on a less-than-quiet island. Winter was making way for spring, temperatures finally increasing, especially after about 15 minutes of trotting alongside the calm inland sea waters. No hooded sweatshirt necessary. There was no real goal in mind, just curious how the Japanese scenery looked from this new viewpoint – indescribable, really. A comfortable pace was kept, followed by a race out to the end of the cement fishing pier, a sprint up some unnecessarily random stairs, and ¥120 later we had ourselves the delightful reward of Aquarius in a can.

Everything looks different from the swiftness of a jog, as opposed to the speed of a stroll, or the comparatively-speaking lighting pace of an automobile. Perhaps it is more of a focus, or a “Oh my heavens, I am actually running! Why!?!” type of thing. The mind responds differently, the heart pumps, the breathing increases, the shins begin to feel slight winces of pain.

No wonder Forrest Gump trotted from sea to sea with such intense concentration.

Or how about a real-life comparison: Canada’s own Terry Fox. That man trotted half-way across Canada (averaging a marathon a day) on one real – AND ONE PROSTHETIC – leg, all the while battling cancer. He did raise 30 million Loonies for cancer research (one for every person in Canada at the time) and eventually graced the back of the Loonie himself.

My brother swears by the sport. Is it a sport? Is golf a sport? A hobby?


What gives?

Is it the sensation of running from something? Or being one step ahead of the person who is walking? Something about it rewards you with a simple, yet freeing sensation – perhaps like skiing down a mountain or hitting the perfect draw, splitting the right quarter of the fairway. Endorphin release?

Okay, at the risk of ripping off a random Andy Rooney sound-off, I will just say that running is simple, it is desirable, and it starts to make a lot more sense the more you do it. And jogging riverside in Kudamatsu on a Monday night at about 8:10 in the evening gives the town a new look, like that fresh coat of yellow paint my Father and I patiently brushed upon that Park Rapids rambler in 1995.

I am a runner.


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