Running and Life: A By-No-Means Comprehensive Analysis of the Similarities

Another way running is like life: there are always fast people at the front. Run your own race.

Another way running is like life: there are always fast people at the front. Run your own race.

Miles run today: 11

Pints of blood I gave on Monday: 1

Number of people one pint of blood can save: 3

[My plug for giving blood: I read a statistic that only 37 percent of American adults are even eligible for giving blood. Please give. You never know when you or a loved one may become a recipient.]

As we headed out on our weekly 11-miler this morning, I was reminded yet again of how much running mirrors life. Or really, how much life mirrors running. You can insert your favorite form of exercise in place of running here ______ if it makes you feel better.

1. The biggest obstacle is your front door. If your body has learned to crave exercise, you do look forward to a workout in much the same way some people crave Goodberry’s ice cream.

But there is writing to do. And there are toilets to clean. And warm, snuggly clothes to wear in the winter, blissful air conditioning in the summer. When you drag yourself out of the house, fingers bent around the door frame in protest, and make yourself start exercising, everything gets easier.

Life is like that, too. You probably won’t be enthusiastic about every single opportunity. Make yourself do it anyway.

2. You may lack the ability to see the big picture. My BFF gets mad at me every time we go on a long run.

The scene: Out in front of her house, me jumping nimbly out of the car like a superhero. (Ha!)

Me: You’re wearing your insulating rain jacket, a long-sleeved shirt, a tank top and leggings? You do realize it’s almost 60 degrees, right?

Her: Oh, you know it doesn’t bother me to just tie my jacket around my waist. No biggie.

Me: Are you sure?

Her: Yes. Now, can we go?

Me: As long as you’re sure.

Her: [Sigh usually made by teenagers in the presence of their moms.]

One mile into the run.

Her: Yep. I knew I’d be taking this thing off. [Delivered in a sing-songy, upbeat voice while tying jacket tidily around waist on top of water bottle belt.]

Three miles into the run.

Her: Okay. That’s it. I can’t take it anymore! Argh! [Delivered in a slightly grumpier tone while pulling off long-sleeved shirt and tying it less neatly around waist on top of jacket and water bottle belt.] Now I look like Paula Broadwell but with worse muscle tone!

Me: Your arm muscle tone is a paragon of perfection.

Nine miles into run.

Her: Seriously. The next time you allow me to leave my house with half of my running wardrobe on, I will kill you.

Me: I think I may have mentioned…

Her: No you didn’t. You just said, “You’re wearing a jacket?” And then I wore it. And it’s all your fault.

Me: When is our wine night again?

3. You can always do more than you think you can. Whenever you think you want to stop running, and your legs are tired, and your lungs are tired, and various parts of your body feel like they may fall off, you can keep going.

It’s crazy, but I’ve seen it happen again and again.

So hop off of this blog and go get that work done. Finish your novel or go for a bike ride or learn all about LinkedIn in a free webinar.

4. As much as everyone (including me) touts “living in the moment,” there is something incredibly satisfying about living through the moment and being finished. Hindsight is a delicious reward. For some reason, when we are finished with our run, the one where we talk constantly for an entire morning (or what feels like an entire morning), my BFF doesn’t want to hang around and talk to me more.

I’m pretty sure it’s because I stink.

But also, there is the blissful hot shower beckoning from inside the house.

And there is the satisfaction of checking that long run off the list.

Life is like that, too. Sometimes, especially if you are a storyteller, the best part is recapping the entire thing for posterity. Enhancing the best moments and editing out the less-than-stellar.

Unless your life is like DisneyWorld all the time. And in that case, I hope you continue to have a magical day.

What activity does your life most resemble? Do share. I find your comments both magical and satisfying.