SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

August 16, 2013

On The Run: If it was easy, it wouldn't feel so good

On the Run
Jay Kumar

---- — Nothing good comes easy. Runners tell themselves this all the time, especially as they’re suffering through a particularly hot and sweaty run or suiting up to brave single-digit temperatures in January. Or when they’re up at 6 a.m. doing intervals on the local track or nursing the latest running-related injury. Or hitting the wall during a three-hour long run with another hour to go.

Let’s face it: Sometimes running just isn’t that much fun. But we put up with the negatives because the good stuff always outweighs the bad.

Everybody’s got their own reasons for running. It could be to improve health, lose weight, feel better about yourself, get in shape for a sport, or simply to have some time away from the responsibilities of everyday life. Whatever the reason, it becomes apparent quickly that if you’re really serious about being a runner, it’s going to take some work and some pain.

Just look at photos from a road race, especially a longer one like a half marathon or marathon. Sure, there are folks who see the photographer and put aside their struggles to smile or give a thumbs up. But most runners are in their own world, focused on getting through the race and dealing with whatever they must to finish. In most race photos of me, I look like I’m a bounty hunter chasing down an escaped criminal: Deadly serious and determined. It’s not intentional. I just get into race mode and nothing else matters except cranking through the race. It just happens.

And of course, there are easier ways to get in shape. But cardio machines just don’t do it for a lot of runners. There’s just something more “real” about running, getting out and pounding the pavement. There are so many obstacles that can get in the way to reaching a running goal, but for most runners, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about getting the job done, no matter how painful (within reason) or tedious the training may be.

So yes, you may dread that 20-mile long run coming up next weekend, and you may hate every second of it as you slog through those hot and humid miles. But you do it anyway, because you know it’s what’s required.

People have asked me if I enjoy running marathons, and I’ve always laughed because the only enjoyable part for me is planning to do them and then being done. Everything else involves pain, misery and possibly some more pain. But marathons and other road races are continuing to grow every year, which means the love-hate relationship with running is stronger than ever.

Starts and stops

The Greenbelts 4th Annual Beverly Commons 3.6- and 7.3-mile Trail Run takes place on Saturday, Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. at Beverly Commons Conservation Area, Stoneridge Circle and Greenwood Avenue. The 7.3-mile race is part of the North Shore Trail Series. Contact: Essex County Greenbelt at 1-978-768-7241 x22 at cathy@ecga.org.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.

Upcoming races

Friday, Aug. 16: Derby Street Mile, Fort Avenue, Salem, 7 p.m. Chip timing by racewire.com, fast 1 mile course, awards, prize money and more. Contact: Tim Short (Salem Park and Recreation) at 1-978-744-0180 x20 or tshort@salem.com.

Sunday, Aug. 18: 1st Annual Dash and Splash 5K Road Race, Torigian Family YMCA, 259 Lynnfield St., Peabody, 8:30 a.m. 5K Road Race starting & ending at the Torigian Family YMCA. Contact: Amy Amirault (Torigian Family YMCA) at 1-978-977-9622 or aamirault@metronorth.org.

Wednesday, Aug. 21: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com; 44th Annual Lynn Woods Summer Cross Country, Lynn Woods, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from May 29-Sept. 25. Free. Three races. Contact: Bill Mullen (Lynn Woods Summer XC) at 1-978-535-3905 or email bill@lwrun.org.

Thursday, Aug. 22: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact info@wickedrunningclub.com.

Friday, Aug. 23: Ipswich Y Triathlon, Crane Beach, Argilla Road, Ipswich, 5:30 p.m. Half-mile swim, 2.5-mile run, 9-mile bike. Contact: Ipswich Y Triathlon (Ipswich YMCA). 1-978-356-9622 x110 or beauchampg@northshoreymca.org.

Saturday, Aug. 24: 37th Annual Magnolia 5K Road Race, Magnolia Library, One Lexington St., Magnolia, 9 a.m. 1K Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m. Contact: Amy Greaves (Magnolia Library Center Inc) at 1-617-283-2363 or magnoliarace@gmail.com.

Wednesday, Aug. 28: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.; 44th Annual Lynn Woods Summer Cross Country, Lynn Woods, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from May 29-Sept. 25. Free. Three races. Contact: Bill Mullen (Lynn Woods Summer XC) at 1-978-535-3905 or email bill@lwrun.org.

Thursday, Aug. 29: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact info@wickedrunningclub.com.

Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.