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Smiling Away, Every Day
When you’re running with a goofy grin on your face, people assume you are either clueless or effortless. As a runner, I typically have a rough idea of what I’m doing, and typically: it takes effort to get it done! So, smiling’s not the most natural thing for me to do on a run. And yet, I do. I do because I made the commitment. I wanted to establish a foundation of gratitude in my running, and that’s something I highly encourage you to do, as well.
We live in a world that has no shortage of things to be upset about. Take your pick: Life, death, finances, love—or a world crisis that combines them all. Amidst the ruin of cultures and creatures, the ebb and flow of a running career is not something to be deeply upset about.
Instead, running should be your release. After all, if you’ve ever had an injury, you know the elation of getting to run again. If you’ve ever faced injury, illness or just a busy schedule, you should be thankful for the opportunity to log some miles. Why? Because your body lets you do it.
Now, I’m the first person to preach the importance of establishing running goals, and letting yourself grieve when you fall short of them. At the same time, I believe that the running community cannot afford to lose a healthy, balanced perspective on our sport.
Within our privileged, first-world circle, we have the freedom to explore the world on our own two feet. We are not surrounded by war-torn streets or rules that forbid us to run. We have running stores and Amazon two-day shipping and touchscreen, wrist-top computers. We have lungs that pump oxygen and legs that pump air. We are incredibly fortunate.
So, when I’m halfway through a rough race and I’m spewing anger all over the place, I try to remind myself of this. I try to recall the many times that I sat on the sidelines or felt the breaking of bones. I think of the men and women all over the world who will never experience the joy of running that I have every day.
We are incredibly fortunate. No matter how bad we run or how frustrating this sport can be, we have access to it, and that’s a luxury many people do not have. So, go ahead and smile through that workout or long run or hot afternoon jog. When you think about it: It’s not so bad. Actually, it’s amazing.