long distance runner

Some 5, 6, 7 (8?) years ago I discovered a deep rooted love for running. I was craving running from point A to point B like I used to do with my friends whenever we needed to be somewhere when we were children. Of course in those days we never needed to be far from where we were. The whole running thing stopped when we were supposed to be cool to get the attention from people from another world: girls. From that moment on anything physical was considered ‘way too much effort’. Gym classes in school were skipped and field hockey was cool because of after-match-beer-drinking and pre-practice-reefer-smoking. I was a field hockey defender —the one that was supposed to stay in the goal next to the keeper defending the tiny space our goalie couldn’t reach at penalty corners, even if it meant lose teeth, brain capacity or in most cases aching shins for a couple of days. But at least it meant I didn’t have to run like hell like the others and thus I was cooler than my fellow defenders. It was the best of times… well, it was the okay’est of times.

After that a long time with bands and other underground-related jobs came along, none of it had to do with physical effort whatsoever. Except maybe the carrying around of heavy equipment, most of it had to do with mental growth. I guess I also won’t have to inform you on the physical life of an average graphic designer, which mostly consists of fighting back aches and Repetitive Strain Injured arms, wrists and necks.

So, at the age of 28, 29, 30 or so, I suddenly had developed an interest in running, I think it was again Vincent my long time friend whose two-room house I just had moved into (when he moved out, by that time I was too much of my own person to share housing with buddies). Vincent had also just started running and had told me about the spiritual effects it had on him. I figured ‘what the hell’ and bought a pair of running shoes, the house was located near the park and around the lake up there was (and still is) a terrific running spot. The first two or three times killed me, but a fourth of fifth time I was able to run around the lake. Six weeks or so later I started running twice around the lake and after three months I had lost some 35 pounds of body fat I had gained during the before mentioned ‘era of cool’. But then came something I wasn’t quite prepared for: the fall/winter season started. At first I didn’t run because I thought ‘maybe tomorrow it won’t rain as bad as now’, but after a few weeks a run around the lake took me as much effort as it had in one of my early days. Then it became really cold and snow froze my lust for runs. I froze up and the running days had ended. Not counting a couple of times where I tried to come back to running but never tried too hard (not counting one time when a heel injury had scattered my dreams of the glorious comeback tour of 2011)

Until now, this time I started running just after summer, so I’m actually getting the hang of it while it’s getting really cold (already am I looking forward to still running when temperature starts to rise and flowers and trees start blossoming). I’m back where I had left off, after two months of running today I ran my first round around the lake taking me under half an hour.

People ask me ‘how can you do a sport where there’s no actual contest-factor involved?’, to those I will say this: ‘there is’. Just start running and you’ll find out there’s this huge contest between you and ‘you — couple days ago’ going on. Also, and this is going to sound mushy, running makes me feel ‘part of wildlife’, like clubbing on X. Now besides all that, there’s this whole new level of ‘making the ultimate soundtrack for a run’ thing going on which makes it both a contest AND an art, where one has to, through trial and error, find out how he responds to several different tunes while running in several different moments of the run. For instance, the other day I started of with Wagner’s ‘ride of the valkyries’, which gave me a WAY too fast start I totally collapsed halfway through the run. Today I played Blonde Redhead’s Penny Sparkle, which all seemed perfection but still I almost gave up about five minutes before the finish (as I had been running slightly too fast, I guess), then it hit me ‘NOW would be a great time for Wagner’. ‘The Ride’ turned out everything I had hoped for, that epic tune damn straight slapped me in the face and I gained some of that winners’ euphoria while getting my breath back and started a pace that felt secure and strong. It paid off and I made it to finishing point a stronger man.

If you’re thinking about joining the runner’s (mostly very individual) community, but somehow you still wonder if that’s for you or not: JUST TRY IT! It’s the Oprah’s Book Club of the body my friend!

Signing out,
your pal,
Rufus Ketting (HuMobist and runner)

One Comment

  1. Celine
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Mooi.