Sunday, May 22, 2011

So I am cheating a little bit... a.k.a Run Smiley/ Run :)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been seeing a wonderful change in how people see running. How running is for fun and the journey and not for the numbers it provides. Like one of those bizarre "YouTube" videos of dogs barking, or a woman falling over a fountain, this new attitude seems to have gone viral. Good viral; not viral in needing tissues, painkillers and lots of hot drinks.

My thoughts about running (and life in general) have been on this track for a while and I actually wondered when my mind-set changed. I cite my BMO (half) marathon in May 2010 as the starting point, but as I looked at my previous blog posts, I realised that I was thinking this within a few months of running barefoot/minimalist.

Here is a couple of excerpts from a blog piece I wrote in January 2010: "Finally read "Born to Run", only 8 months to late!"
"It was only when reading the book that I thought about how my mental state affects my running and NOT that running affects my mental state. In the book, it puts down the theory that happy runners who have no other motives than just to have fun run further and faster, than those who have goals in mind. It cites many internationally renowned runners known for finishing astonishing races who start and finish the race with big grins on the faces and probably no real training plans. This is where my thoughts on my depression, my running and 'cause and effect' come in."

"I will not make my runs a chore. I am going to make my run's recreational. If I am not having fun, then I'll stop and do something else. If I am having a blast then I am going to keep going. Goals are great, but if I can't laugh while I am achieving them, then I am spending a lot of my life doing something that is not making me happy."
I know it's a little lame, re-reading your old posts; Okay, so I know I am the only one who really reads them, but still, this does make me a little sad and lonely. However, this was a insight for me. Running with a laugh and just general stupidity in mind seems like such a "normal" concept for me now, I suppose I hadn't really thought about when numbers literally went out of my head - Along with every other executive function required to maintain a normal adult persona.

I wonder if the change had something to do with running barefoot/minimalist. I mean, it's hard to "mingle with the running crowd" when you have stinky gorilla feet, *cough* I mean VFF Flows. A lot of barefoot/minimalist runners cite changing footwear (or abandoning it altogether) as the reason they begin to enjoy running. Maybe it was just me climbing out of the depression I had been suffering. Perhaps it's just me growing up, (in that Peter Pan, "I am still only 6" kind of way).

Who know's? Who care's really? I suppose I was just musing on how I have grown and I was using an old post as an easy get-out on writing a full on blog post this week. Hey, why work if you don't have to!

I think I am just wanting to keep this "smile when you are running" feeling that all my friends are currently having going. I know most "viral" posts on the internet usually fade within 48 hours of being started and then are usually forgotten. Wouldn't it be nice if we could keep this one going though? In some ways I think this message is more important than what we wear on our feet. Frankly I don't care if you wear "foot Coffins" *cough* I mean motion-control, extra cushioning running shoes, or you run with nothing on your feet. You can wear what they hell makes you happy. I don't care if you run 100 miles or a 100 yards. I just want the 95% of super-determined and frankly miserable runners you see at races, chill out and enjoy the experience.

Let's get creative guys and think of ways we can make "Running Happy" mainstream. Ideas anyone?

[Angie, the "Run Smiley" blog tag is a great idea... amended my blog with it. Let's start a trend!]
[Amendment 2 - Run Smiley or Run :) seems like the tag people like. So come on people, run :), have fun, blog about it and use the tag]


  1. I like "Run Smiley" or something like it since Brooks (I think) uses Run Happy as one of their slogans.
    I think a tag line to our blog posts that is uniform like Running Happy, Angie would be cool too.
    Love this post btw!

  2. Okay if Brooks used "Run Happy" I am SO not using it. I like the "Run Smiley" though. We should use a blog tag like this for all of our "Run Smiley" type posts. We could invent our own slogan. That would be pretty cool. Yep, I have been drinking and I have now downgraded my verbal mental age to 17.. (or is that upgraded as I am usually 6?)

  3. I think this one is going to stay... it's been popular for the cool-kids who are in the know. Like being a hipster in Williamsberg, Brooklyn; it's always been hip. I'll tell you what though, as long as we keep having fun running irrespective of shoes and GPS's... who cares who else get it!?

  4. Like you, I'm experiencing a change. I have no real plan for training and I'm just enjoying things. I'm doing races, but am trying to do ones that are fun and different and that I've never done before. I think the change started for me when I began running barefoot. Maybe it's just me, but I can't stick to a plan when my feet are feeling good or needing a rest and I have to go with the feeling. I've started doing trails and actually enjoyed the experience the last couple of times. Wheeeee! Another something new. I remember a passage in Born to Run about needing a strong mind to be a strong runner (that's my paraphrase). That one stuck with me because I always thought running created strength. That was part of my shift in thinking as well. That and another passage related to embracing fatigue. That's like living within depression, knowing it's always there, but managing to live anyway. I'm working on that one all the time.

    Cheers. I love reading your posts:)

  5. I'm on board. I've been enjoying myself so much more lately and I think it has everything to do with switching my running attire on my feet. It's like being a kid again and kids smile and laugh a whole lot more than adults do. And yet in a way, it's a more mature, grown up way to think and behave. Competition sometimes gets in the way of enjoyment and I have no interest in that anymore!
    Running with a smile, Jen

  6. I have been feeling the same way after picking running back up last year. I never wanted to race again and feel that pressure to train and perform but when we found out about a local mud run I was in. The great thing about this race was that it was made up of a bunch of non runners that just wanted to have fun. There were lots of costumes and fun to be had. That's when it clicked for me. When I know that I don't HAVE to do something it makes me want to do it more just for the fun of it. And when you don't feel like running and you don't you don't feel bad. Much better way to live. Thanks for creating a concrete way to identify what many of us were feeling.