Running is a paradox.
It is, at once, a birthright for the majority of people, but also a highly exclusive sport for a minority of lucky athletes. The divide between the elite and the, well, not-so-elite is almost always speed. Some runners have it; others, not so much.
Nobody said you had to be fast to have fun.
And running is fun.
Running is also dangerous if you don’t respect it.
It will break bones, twist joints, tear muscles, pull ligaments, snap tendons, weaken immune systems, and otherwise wreak havoc on the athlete who does not give it its rightful due.
The reason? Because humans are a magnificent combination of fragility and resiliency. Given enough time to adapt, humans can develop ungodly amounts of durability to run heinous distances. But if your body isn’t ready for it, even a run around the block will wreck you for a week.
Why? The short answer is because nothing hits harder than the ground; every footfall is an attack on your body and the earth will win every single time. The longer answer is that running takes time.
It takes time to do. It takes time to get ready for. It takes times to get better at it. It simply takes time.
But it’s time well spent. It gives back so much that it is worth the investment and even the pitfalls that sometimes occur when passion overrides reason. Regardless, it’s a beautiful use of the human body for something we were clearly designed to do as a species.
We’re good at running, and it’s worth fighting for.
Runner versus the ground.
Runner versus distance.
Runner versus runner.
Runner versus speed.
Runner versus time.
When we pay attention to that last one, the others all fall in line like an obedient team of sled dogs ready to pull us to amazing achievements we probably didn’t even think we were capable of when we first started running. Couch-to-5k graduates might find themselves in a 50 km ultra within a year of lacing up for the first time, which is more common than a lot of people think.
Most of us look at those distances and can’t believe humans are capable of it. Humans plus running does not immediately add up to ultra distances, but humans plus running multiplied by time is the E=mc² of accomplishment at every level of running.
Running is a paradox.
Give it time.