Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The love/hate relationship

There's a fine line between love and hate. Between pleasure and pain. This is often what I think about when I think about running.

I run.

I run with a squad.I run on my own. I run with my mother, my friends. Some of my best friends I have met through running.

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I think because it is so raw, so challenging, so gut-wrenchingly difficult, that to finish a run is to feel immense satisfaction and achievement. There is no escape in running. There is no equipment to blame, no team mates to chastise. It's just you, your shoes, and your throbbing heartbeat and frazzled brain.

Runners are generally perfectionists - nothing is ever good enough : to run 20km before work, to finish and wipe the sweat off your eyebrows, shrug your shoulders to your running partner and say 'that was alright, but not great' just exemplifies the love/hate relationship. We love to do it, but sometimes - we hate it.

Why do we do it to ourselves? What is the lure of the relationship that we have with running?

Taking that further - why do we set ourselves up for challenges that are just so hard? Why do we have these love/hate relationships, these situations that are rife with pleasure and pain?

I'd love to know what you think about this. I'm thinking of writing a book - a small tome on the love/hate relationship that we have with running, and I know that there are runners out there, my running partners and friends who have a lot to say about this.

Give me your words!



  1. It is such a fine fine line - and often I feel like I could be both at the same time. Forever the child who wanted chocolate AND vanilla.

    I run... much to the amazement of my friends who don't run. Who tell me openly that they think running is crazy. And, when I drop into conversation my 27km run - glance across the table at me and in all seriousness tell me "you should just drive" - nice hey??

    I had never been a "runner" and spent most of my childhood being the poster girl for all the things that are, so wrong, with owning a kentucky fried chicken t-shirt. But as I was getting older, the more I realsed I could do anything - or at least I could try.

    Have you ever stopped to think back to the first squad session you went along to? I remember...I remember pacing aroung my house on wednesday afternoon, for three weeks in a row, trying to psych myself into going. And once, actually turning up, looking in at "them" and promptly jumping back into the safety of my car.

    I ofcourse, had built these martian running charecters in my head, you know the ones that run so fast that you hardly see the dust settle. I was terrified that I would get left behind or worse that, not only would I get left behind, but that I would also get lost.

    When I arrived at the first session, all the people there looked well, the same. It seemed there was nothing wrong with tiny
    scoop-shorts from the seventies and if you didn't wear them - you were weird. This technical attire was a far cry from the basketball shorts I had found in the back of my closet. To make matters worse they all seemed to know each other and were at ease discussing splits (whatever they were?!?) and socks (I thought they were all the same, but apparently not!) and hamstring injuries (ouch!) What was I doing here???

    Halfway into the session I could still breathe (hooray!) and I hadn't been left behind to die in a roadside ditch on the otherside of town.. and so it all began... looking forward to more of the love hate El!

  2. This is a great idea Ellie! I look forward to reading all your writings!

  3. I started running in 1984 & it has been an important part of my life ever since. To the point now, it is my full-time job!
    Running is such a great sport / activity to be invloved with - the freedom of running in the great outdoors, meeting new people & getting to travel! I certainly would be lost without running!

  4. Go girl go! In my experience the love/hate relationship seems to mostly be heel-kicked to the sidelines so that the "I run because I am" can take centre-stage. However, for myself the "I run because I eat" seems to follow a very close second,(so I adore the great line-up of foodie sites you have on your blog!) Great stuff E, keep it coming