Running for my Life

Today, I went for my first run since February. Today a year ago I decided to become a runner. I haven’t quite succeeded yet but I certainly haven’t failed either.

I love to run in DC for lots of reasons, the most important of all is that my brother who is a great athlete lives here. He probably doesn’t know it, but his encouragement means the world to me. I also love to run here because the streets in the suburbs feel safe, and the air is clean. In fact I can’t think of a better place to become a runner in.

I started running a year ago for a very simple reason. I suffer from a severe form of post traumatic stress disorder that still manifests itself over thirteen years on. I’ll spare you the details, but about a year ago I decided I was ready to leave all medication behind and fly solo. Not an easy journey… I tried everything: yoga, homeopathy and meditating amongst many other fixes, but in the end, running was the only thing that helped. So here are my top tips for running for the rest of us:

1. Run for yourself. Find a reason: to better your health, to get that sexy glow called sweat right before work, or just to feel like a winner, whatever the reason, make sure it is for you alone.

2. Run where it feels right. My favourite place to run back at home is in a graveyard. People look at me like I am crazy but I love it there, and someone needs to visit the dead. I wouldn’t change it for the world! Wherever you run, it must be a space that is in one way or another special to you, because you feel safe, or surround by beauty or just because you get areally good opportunity to hide from the world and listen to some really good tunes, whevere it is make it yours.

3. Run when it feels right. If you hate waking up don’t kid yourself and think you will become a 5 am runner. Chances are you will never even make it out of bed until it is time for you to go to work.

4. Run how it feels right. Remember that uncomfortable feeling called pain? It’s there for a reason… It is your body’s way to warn you that something isn’t working. If it hurts enought to upset you, I’ve got news for you: you ain’t doing it right!

5. Keep track of everything. You will be surprised at how quickly you progress, but you won’t realise it unless you’ve logged every activity. I promise it will be worth it.

6. Find a buddy. Now that doesn’t mean you have to run with anyone. Hell, I can’t actually make it round the block if I have anyone with me, but it is nice to have someone to nudge you every now and then when you haven’t been out for a while.

7. Forget about the world. The best part of running is that you ge to focus on nothing other than the war between you and the road. Enjoy it.

8. 100 metres is better than no metres. When I first took up running I couldn’t even make it to the top of my street. Now the highest number on my side of the road is 30 something. I live on 25… You do the maths. But if I had let my lack of stamina get in the way I would have never accomplished anything.

9. Find some killer music- end of.

10. Running can be a metaphore for just about anything. Use it!

Now if you are still stuck for inspiration, then check out “How much do you want it” on YouTube, it  is one of my favourite speeches, courtesy of the one and only Eric Thomas, who I only discovered through my friend Sam, an inspiring athlete who does it for the right reasons.


Happy Running!

– Oriana Ascanio