It seemed natural at first. There is a reason why our legs exist. There is a reason why we are bipedal. And that’s why running is supposed to be the easiest exercise.
In high school, whether it was for the appearance of student diversity or not, I joined the cross country team. It was the only sport that allowed everyone to participate. There were no tryouts. All I had to do was just…start running.
Back then, I did. I was the slowest, of course. My sister was one of the fastest, quite naturally. But I had endurance and would run miles just at my steady pace. What motivated me was likely not the running itself. It was purely because I had declared my commitment to the sport, because it allowed me to skip my most hated class, PE, and supported some resemblance of social activity (pasta feeds, anyone?) I remember training along the hills near my high school, where I ran past cow poo and trampled hay. I marveled at my own body, which suddenly felt rested with all its energy drawn out during the everyday practice.
Then I graduated. And that was it. I didn’t participate in any physical activity again until I realized that gym membership was included as part of my tuition. Not wanting to miss out on anything free, I went to a few classes. I discovered that I hated yoga. I enjoyed the kickboxing. I felt too timid to even try the machines as I watched dedicated student athletes un-self-consciously show off. Instead, I settled into a routine of me sitting at my computer, typing and watching a screen.
Then graduate school. Again, I discovered quite early on that my tuition included free membership to the campus gym. I swam. I took classes. And this time to bond with classmates, I ran. “Let’s go for a jog!” my roommate would say and we would take off through the local park to campus and back. At this time, I would make myself go…but then I would grumble on the way back, longing for the comfort of my desk and my computer…and all the projects that waited for me.
Then I moved to San Francisco. During the first few years, I would force myself to jog. Up the hills around the neighborhood. I would always want to slow down and creepily study the magnificent houses and their owners. But really instead of pondering how they chose their colors and materials, guilt would overcome me and then I would take off back to my apartment. As I reached my late twenties, I had to admit one thing clearly, I hate running. I hated the way that I moved slowly—that I would still see the same building for more than 30 seconds. I hated how my feet felt against the pavement. I hated how if I stopped running, that I would have to walk and that didn’t change one thing.
When I discovered my love of cycling and the fact that I could coast as much I wanted to coast, I declared one thing: the feet was made only for one thing—to push the pedal.
Today, I wore my yoga pants and a new headband pulling my hair back. My roommate saw me prepare to leave and asked, “Going running?”
“No, I don’t like running. I hate it.”
“But it’s so much fun!” he replied.
But to me, it isn’t. I am not judging the people that do. It just isn’t fun at all to me at all.