Running changes you forever. Some changes are obviously bigger and more apparent. But most times we don’t even realise the subtle changes that transform us slowly and for life. One fine morning you wake up and might realise that you are ok going out without putting on make-up or seem to have genuinely started empathising with the struggles of other people or have become much calmer and less fretful or any other big change and wonder “Hey, when did that happen…”. But it isn’t an overnight epiphany that has changed you. If you are a runner, it is the sport that might have done this to you. As it did to me. And for that, I am grateful that running happened to me. Here are a few outcomes that running has pretty much on the high and the mighty and the plebeians alike:
1) You stop being conscious – Once on the road it doesn’t matter who’s looking at you and you stop thinking about the people who might be judging you. And eventually in other walks of life as well. I’m definitely dealing with my body image issues better now.
2) Self doubt starts melting away – I wasn’t working for years post delivering my son and I had lost my sense of self worth. But when I conquered my first 5k, 10km, 21km and then a 50km even before I did a 42km, slowly but surely, it was enough to my restore faith in my capabilities again. It helped me approach the world more confidently when I started working again after a gap of almost 8 years.
3) You stop being shy about your vulnerabilities – On long runs we all connect at a plane which is difficult to explain till you experience it. You understand each other’s struggles and pain because you are in it too. And you don’t mind being vulnerable and develop that special bond with the person running with you.
4) You lose your (or a bit of it at least) vanity – On a long run, you can’t be bothered about being sweaty, stinky and hair flying in all directions.
5) You deal with highs and lows – Running makes you so much more resilient. You know injuries will happen and you know you have to come back stronger post the injury. The highs and lows become an integral part of your life and you know after every fall, you will rise again – it’s just inevitable.
6) You deal with embarrassments better – You’ve got to pee and poop and you’ve got to do it when you’ve got to do it. And at times the farts ARE loud enough. Chances are other runners have seen you puke too. Have I missed out on anything? Oh yes, periods.
7) You meet so many different people and mostly are passionate about running and other things. And slowly their passion starts rubbing off on you and the inspiration to do better seeps in to your everyday life.
8) You become more humble – You don’t need to stand in front of mountains to feel small and insignificant when you are a runner. Just standing at the start line with 25,000 other runners makes you realise that you are just a speck in the bigger scheme of things.
Bigger changes or subtle, once a runner, you know you will always be a runner.