When you slowly, tortuously begin walking and then running regularly, you will realize many benefits and discover many joys. Some more joyous than others. Here are Ten Joys you may experience on your personal path to Runners Nirvana in Samoa.
1.You will lose lots of weight. And some people will then say you look sick. Usually very large,hypertensive, struggling-to- breathe people. Usually the same people who took great pains to tell you how fat you were in the first place. The same people will also ask your partner if she’s eating all your food…and how come you don’t take her running ‘cos look at her she surely needs it?!
2. You will learn where all the worst dogs live. Where the packs lie in waiting for unsuspecting runners. What methods will best scare off which dogs. A rock. A stick. A tennis racquet. A scream.
3. You may – before acquiring the skill mentioned in No. 2 – get bitten. By a particularly vicious canine. Depending on how bad the attack was, you may then return to the scene of the crime seeking revenge. With a sling shot. With an illegal firearm. With a trigger happy accelerator pedal.
4. You (and your bank balance) will discover the importance of good running shoes. You may become an addict. You will fantasize about the very latest shoe inventions – shoes with an embedded computer chip, a heart monitor, a GPS tracking device, radio, heater, air conditioner, foot massager… You will furtively purchase shoes for the track, shoes for running on grass, shoes for the road, shoes for racing, shoes for walking, shoes for when you wear out your other shoes, shoes for when you have a sore leg, shoes for when the other ones are wet, shoes for looking at, shoes for every excuse under the sun.
5. You will love the seawall. Early in the morning as the sun burns the sky. And the air is crisp and cool. Late in the evening as a fiery sunset breathes in harmony with the waves crashing on the rocks. And a million stars dance. And its just you and the wall. And the sound of your heart pulsing with the pounding of your feet. And adrenaline rushes. And endorphins sweep you along on a high.
6. You will learn to endure people laughing at you. Cat calling. If you’re real lucky, you just might have someone throw a beer bottle at you as you run past. People sitting, people smoking, people getting drunk – will shout loudly about your craziness. Your idiocy. You will buy an Ipod so you can ignore them better.
7. You will feel the need to go to bed early. You wont have the time (or the energy) to watch late nite TV, or five videos in a row, or go night clubbing till the early hours of dawn. Your family will attend social events without you because you have to sleep for a 4:30am seventeen mile run the next day.
8. Your diet will change without you even meaning it to. You wont want to eat fish and chips, pisupo, fried chicken… because the grease will heave in your mouth during a run 5 hours later. You will run and promise yourself….tomorrow I will eat salad. And grilled fish. And drink more water. And you’ll mean it.
9. Your family will become your biggest supporters. They will drive along side you on long runs with water, high beaming the road so you can navigate holes and rocks. They will massage your sore feet, get ice baths ready for aching muscles and make super healthy snacks for you. They will cheer the loudest when you go in races and embarrass you with balloons and flowers. Your children will boast about you in class “my dad can run for 3 hours without stopping so there…and he’s the oldest man in the race but he’s still the fastest so there”
10. You will go in races and funruns. You will love the thrill of powering along the Apia waterfront with a crowd of other runners. After the race you will compare race stories. And times. And running aches and pains. And then you will psyche yourself up for the next race. And the next.
The joys of running are many. Hit the road today and discover some for yourself. Your body will love you for it.
(Please note that while I am NOT a runner, I am however, honored to be the watergirl for someone who is a very good runner...which is how I ended up being an organizer of the 'Forever Young' 5K Series. The next funrun is on Sat 26th September, 2009. Start shuffling today and hope to see you there.)