In Defense of Whining

No one likes a complainer. And especially someone who complains about running. I mean, if you don’t like the sport, don’t do it! Right?

Generally, I’d agree with that. But I think people should be allowed a bit of griping sometimes, even about the things they truly love otherwise. Especially among fellow runners, it’s helpful to have a sympathetic ear.

Now personally, I tend to keep pretty positive. But hey, sometimes when the weather’s cold and it’s early and I haven’t quite woken up, a bit of good-spirited whining can be just what I need to get back in the mood.

It’s all part of the fun, right K? 🙂

I hope she thinks so, because she typically has to bear the brunt of it from me. Earlier this January though, some friendly neighborhood strangers at the kickoff run overheard me, and I’m glad they did!

While it was indeed a cold and early morning and I hadn’t quite woken up yet, it was also the first run of the year, which meant many days off during the holidays, and many days on the treadmill instead of the pavement. Getting back onto real terrain after so long actually winded me more than I’d expected.

Just about at the beginning of mile three, I was already a little beat (I tried whining to K to let me stop after two, knowing full well she wouldn’t let me). And just to make things worse, a big ol’ hill sprang up ahead of us! “Oh nooooo” I moaned, apparently pretty audibly. One of the nearby runners enthusiastically responded, “Come on, we eat hills for breakfast! Short steps and high knees!”

Needless to say, I was touched and motivated. I love hearing strangers pipe in with encouraging words; it’s why I love the running community. So, I focused on taking short steps and picking up my knees, and sure enough, the hill breezed by!

And it’s worked many times since then, too. I don’t know how much is because of the new technique, and how much is really just because I have something to focus my mind on instead of the difficulty of the hill. Regardless, I’m so glad to have complained! For me, it was all in fun; I just wanted some empathy from K. But unwittingly, I let someone know about something I was struggling with, and because of that, they were able to help.

So moral of the story is, whine away!

-R

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