My name is Tori & I’m an addict

Posted on July 12, 2013

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Untitled 4I interviewed a climber yesterday for a feature I’m writing and he talked of the addictive nature of his sport. I nodded and found a smile creep up on me as I thought about the addictive nature of running. But then, doesn’t the word ‘addict’ tend to conjure up a sense of negativity, of harmful practices in our lives, of pursuits that hinder rather than support us.

I looked up a definition. It described an addiction as ‘a compulsive physiological and psychological need’ for something. So yes, I guess most running junkies can identify! I know I, if unable to run for too many days straight, be it down to a niggle or a heavy workload, become hideous company. Anxious, stroppy, short-tempered and just a bit highly strung (I can see H1 nodding as he reads this!)

But in a world where there are millions who have unhealthy obsessions … where bad habits are so easily formed, I think we’ve been let off pretty lightly, if our addiction is that of pounding pavements, tracking trails or moving mountains.

Our addiction brings nothing but benefits. It physically strengthens us, it emotionally renews us, it spiritually connects us and it mentally charges us. As for how it harms us? The odd injury, the occasional GI issue or pressures of the relationship variety …? Well, the injuries to our health would be worse if we weren’t active, far worse GI issues are incurred by excessive partying than by running (I spent years working this one out!) and relationships? If a passion for trails, the early morning starts and the differing ideas of what constitutes a ‘holiday’ come between you, then it was clearly never meant to be!

Running brings simplicity to our complex worlds, it brings order to our chaos and clarity to our minds. It brings perspective to our problems and teaches us life-affirming lessons in dedication, commitment and perseverance. The lessons we learn on the trails can be applied beautifully at home, at work and in every aspect of our lives. Running is our therapy, it relieves stress, stamps out bad moods and reminds us that all is flux. You know this, I know this, no shortage of reports back this up. I know that running has been my own saviour during the toughest moments in my life.

And it connects people. The bonds that are tied through the trials of the trails are precious, life-enhancing and often capable of changing the entire course of our lives. I love this, I really love this … (another unquenchable smile has emerged …)

So I can’t help but wonder why everyone on our sweet planet isn’t out hitting the trails. Just as well they’re not really.

So to me and all you readers guilty of this addiction, let’s feel blessed that we’re part of the club. It’s the glue that holds us together. It is our lifeline, our daily fix and so very tightly bound to our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Long may we run! 

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