How I came around to running

Some time ago, I started to have that thought of “I need a break!”. That feeling grew, slowly at first, but kept on. I felt like a battery with a serious memory effect: I simply wouldn’t recharge to my full capacity anymore. And my capacity seemed to drop without end…

It was all but a pleasant time back then. At first, we tried to compensate with a few more vacations every now and then. That did really help. Well, at first, it did. The feeling kept on growing. Some weeks were worse, some were better, but I never recovered completely. On the contrary: I kept on loosing capacity.

Of course, the more I felt like a flat battery, the more people offered counsil: Some told me to cut back at work. One doctor told me to take pills for sleeping. Another doctor told me to take pills for stimulation. Some counselors told me to embrace faith or meditation. Some even told me to simply not think the feeling anymore. Suffice to say, I met some some pretty odd advisors back then. None if them had a solution.

None but one. That guy changed my life with one simple advice: “Be outdoor for at least 30 minutes a day. Buy some running shoes and start to run!”

And so I did. I bought my first pair of running shoes and started to run in the evenings. To be honest, I didn’t really expect it to work and much more, I hated running. But if you feel like I felt during that time, you simply do as you’re told.

Oh my god, I was so awful at running at first. Thirty minutes can seem like eternity if you’re not used to run. But I kept going: One day running, one day taking a walk with my wife. And, what can I say, it worked.

For example, there was this hill some miles from our apartment. We used to hike there and I imagined me trying to run up that hill some day. I never thought of actually getting there, but after a few weeks of “Come on, Peter, thirty minutes!”, I took all the breath I had and ran. I remember that total peace of mind while running up that hill. And when I reach that hilltop: Folks, there is nothing comparable to the joy you feel when you reach a distant goal. I will never forget standing there, taking in the view and feeling just great.

Magnificent view from a runner's target
There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying such a view after running to the top of that hill from down there.

Looking back, I think the success of that simple advice was due to several aspects. Most of them have a story of their own, but let me summarize them here anyway:

Running is addictive
Running is a no-brainer
Running is an attitude
Running is a safety vent
Running is escape

I could (and probably will) add to that list and spend hours in writing about the effect that simple advice had on my life. You’re welcome to read and add your comments.

But, most importanly, if you ever feel flat like a battery, let me encourage you to do as I was told back then: “Buy some running shoes and start to run!”