Running rituals

Happy New Year!

Imagine it’s still December 28th 2012: a gorgeous and bright summer morning in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the morning of my wedding . I wake up next to bridesmaid and running buddy Maria. She knows what to do. She’s up for this ritual. It’s not often than M&MRC are together these days, especially in our adopted South American city. This is why we have to make it count: make it what we do, what we’ve always done.

We’re going on a magic 4-miler around the parks of Palermo. Neither of us has run for a few weeks, but that doesn’t matter. It won’t be painful because if it is, we’ll laugh at ourselves. And if you can laugh at pain, it can’t hurt that much.

From top athletes to park joggers, from those sprinting a few metres, to those slogging over tens of miles: everyone has their running rituals. Whether it’s related to the first song they play on their run (mine was always American Girls by Counting Crows when I ran with my old iPod) or what they wear, or the routes they take and where they cross the road; it’s all part of what it means for that person to go running.

Rituals are performed consistently and one of their effects is to calm the mind. The ones I write of here can have such a positive effect that even when motivation is lacking, those songs/shoes/friends can mean it’s not a chore. So, Maria and I donned our t-shirts from our latest event (weDSCN0069 both ran halfs on November 11th); we talked the route, the need for and wonder at new shoes; and we did the M&MRC pose to record for posterity.

As we ran the blocks towards the parks, both of us were chatting on, dodging reversing cars and wayward buses, jumping over bulging tree roots and moving into the shade where possible. It was turning into a beautiful day, which would get even more so as the day and night wore on, not just for weather reasons. It was so good to get the legs moving, arms pumping and lungs working. I think we had both missed it, and we talked about the effect of not running on our mood (another post). But, beyond all of that, the most special running ritual was the fact that we were there, shoulder to shoulder, together. This time there were no volcanoes, or Andean lakes, or rivers to run through. We didn’t need them. We just needed that city, its streets and us being us.

When you get married, there are numerous rituals you can get bogged down in (my favourite is simply drinking champagne at whatever moment). Going for a run doesn’t crop up on many wedding day to-do lists, but for me, that place and that person meant a ritual was re-born.DSCN0070 And it was wonderful.

We even surprised ourselves by not being as slow as we thought we were!

If you’re in the UK at the moment, I hope you’re running very, very carefully. It’s so icy right now in Hunstanton, Norfolk that we daren’t step out to run. Which is OK, as it’s given me some time today to write about running instead.

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About Laura Alonso

We run. We travel. And to combine both is a beautiful thing. "Runners just do it. They go for the finish line even though someone else has reached it first."

Posted on January 16, 2013, in Psychology, Running and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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