Archives for posts with tag: running

I’m going to a baby shower this afternoon for a woman who had the inspired notion to register for gift cards to Whole Foods, something I am absolutely going to copy if I have the opportunity one day. My mom, sister-in-law, and I combined funds for one of these gift cards, and I volunteered to pick it up (really, I will use any excuse to go to Whole Foods). We thought it would be nice to add something more “gifty” and baby-oriented to the present as well, and initially I was going to grab something small off her registry, until I saw this:

Batteries not necessary

Yes, my friends. I offer you the classic wooden ring skill toy. Inexpensive, simple, and ironically “modern” in its retro-minimalism.

What initially struck me about this toy was the clear memories I have of not my own model, but the plastic version my younger siblings played with. I can clearly recall these then tiny people engrossed in the activity of successfully stacking the rings. Once the rings were mastered, they moved on to the intermediate level, stacking wooden letter blocks. Eventually, they entered the expert phase: making words out of the letters on their stacking blocks.

The classic toys are just so wonderfully simple, yet still attractive and beneficial, dare I say, even “fun.” It is this very simplicity, perhaps, that is the key to their staying power. They might even become trendy. After all, the “simple” has an undeniable modern appeal.

Take, for instance, running. There could not be a simpler way to exercise. You need your own body and, ideally, space. But space isn’t even an absolute necessity as it is possible to run in place. Same story with yoga. At its core, yoga is about moving and contorting your own body. No gimmicks. No energy gels. Just controlled movement.

Of course, we do have a knack for complicating the simple, and I’m absolutely guilty of falling prey to the allure of fancy accoutrements. We’ve yuppified running with fancy footwear that, ironically, is supposed to mimic bare feet. (I know. I own a pair of these and love them). We have a whole consumer market for running apparel that wicks away our sweat and increasings aerodynamics. For yoga, we have mats made from sticky tree rubber to increase stability, four million different styles of yoga pants, and even yoga gloves and socks. And lets not forget the countless popular publications that repeat the same information every month and offer the occasionally useful smoothie recipe for burning more calories.

Still, when stripped down to their basic selves, running and yoga are inherently uncomplicated. They are simple, like the classic wooden skill toy. Even though I have a tendency to pile on layers of unnecessaries, maybe it’s that simplicity that I find attractive. Unlike the complex, the simple always seems possible.




Before you cry scandal at the opening of my title, let me explain. I am trying to get high, but not from any banned or questionable substance. I am trying to experience a high of a different kind, a runner’s high.

This could be me. Preferably me in that exact location.

I have never been one to seek out cardio in a solitary context. I have played sports (badly, but played nonetheless), enjoyed energetic games with friends, attended classes at gyms, but have never been attracted to what always seemed the lonely world of the most basic heartbeat-based activity: running.

Solo cardio? No thank you. I simply wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t make myself run. I never had the desire, until now…

(Dramatic pause)

For some reason, the newest unexplained phenomenon in my existence is a growing desire to run. Or, to be more honest and specific, the ability to run further than 20 yards without inevitable collapse, which is my current condition. To say I desire to experience this sensation is a slight understatement. I almost yearn for this high.

And I don’t know why.

Maybe my newfound aspiration is the result of sibling-pressure (different than peer-pressure, but profoundly similar). My sister runs. Two of my brothers have run marathons. My other brothers run. Even my husband runs.  Maybe I feel left out.

Perhaps I’m fueled by the result of a recent fitness assessment (to be discussed in detail later) that indicated an averageness that could be partly conquered by increasing my vo2 max, according to my assessor.

Or, maybe there is a more latent cause for this new pursuit, one that has lain dormant for my almost 30-year life only to be just now awakened by a psychosomatic rustle…Wasn’t it James Joyce who once said, “Rapid motion through space elates one”? Perhaps I seek such elation?

Whatever the underlying cause, and whatever the work that must be put in to achieve my high, the beauty of any new goal is that there usually involves some preliminary shopping.

So, I bought some Vibrams. Weird, bendy things with amphibious style. They are designed to allow for the sensation and effect of barefoot running while still protecting our precious little piggies from jagged rocks, asphalt protrusions, or other such ghastly demons that could damage our soles.

I figured that since I have never run enough to encourage injury, I might as well follow current research-meets-yuppie trend and become conspicuously minimalist in my approach.

(As an aside, I love my Vibrams. I really do think they help me develop a healthier gait. Just sayin’.)

Thus far, I’ve only run a few times. I even ran once with my sister. (Although I did get distracted by some deer and stopped to take pictures. She finished her miles then doubled back to find me.) And you know what?

I enjoyed these runs.

Even though I have yet to run very far (latest record is 1 1/2 miles with consistent pace), I am getting the tiniest taste of why people run. I love the thought that I am always both running away from and towards “something,” be it literal or figurative. And I love the feeling of tiredness for a reason other than lethargy or frustration.

Who knew?