Nov 10 2018

Of my love for running

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:14

Since I’m obviously having a little insomnia I’m basically just writing to fool my brains into thinking I’m doing something productive maybe it will decide that my body actually needs some rest. It might sound stupid but it works when I’m writing technical books, so I can only try. Probably I’ve written this story before around here, but since the search I did returned nothing, I might have written it in Romanian, so an English version is in order.

I’ve been born in a poor family in Romania – not complaining, not looking for sympathy since things turned out quite well for me, just stating a fact to prepare the context. Being poor as a child pushed me to being really curious and creative. I used all my talents to build toys and invent games and this worked well for a while because it helped me with my social life a lot, but then my friends started being sent to after school activities that my family could not afford. And thus, I saw them less and less, and I was getting bored out of my mind during my new found alone time, plus if my mom saw me doing nothing, she would find something for me to do. So, when one of the sport teachers in my school was looking for children to join the running team I said yes with all my heart. I had no idea what that involved, I was just happy to have an after-school activity. I never took it seriously, but I did go to all the training sessions, I was just glad to be out of the house. My parents never took it seriously either, they were just glad for me to be out of the house too, not all the time, but oh well.

I know it sounds paradoxical, but I was going to training sessions like I was going to church, but never thought I’ll ever get to really compete. Until I did. My sports teacher just enlisted me to a local competition, told me where to be and when. I went, I ran and I ended up finishing second place. It could have been first place, but I just got distracted when I saw some of my mates in the stadium and just slowed down to wave at them and smile. Anyway, I went to the finishing booth, signed my name and went home for the weekend.

On Monday, during recess, the sport teacher just came running at me, hugged me and congratulated me. She was ecstatic. I had no idea that finishing second was that great. And yes, as you probably suspect, I did not take that competition seriously either, so her enthusiasm seems to come out of nowhere. And then she said the magic words: “I put you on the list to start training for the Olympics team.” And maybe I was a child that took nothing seriously, but fucking Olympics? Oh baby, that was … the dream I guess? I just wanted to get out of the house and now I had a shot at the Olympics??? Wow, that turned out well.

So, I went home, told my parents, and my mother was like: “Yeah, yeah sure, good for you child! Now go wash your clothes!”. If that affirmation makes no sense to you, is because I have not mentioned in this entry that I was helping my mother with house chores since I was six. One of the chores was hand-washing clothes, because we were poor and we had this old washing machine that was not working 90% of the time. And now you know why I was so desperate to get out of the house. Anyway, I continued training for one more year and this time I had a purpose: making it into the Olympic team.

My mother and father were born in the North of Romania, and because of their jobs they moved a lot. But after having me they managed to stand still for twelve years in the city where I joined the running team. But every year they had the same routine: when summer would come I was shipped across the country to spend the summer vacation at my mother’s parents. So, they were taking a vacation from parenting. And basically, this is how I ended up with my sister. And when she was old enough, she joined my vacation as well. Unwillingly, I might add.

So, a year into my Olympic training I was shipped up for the summer again. I tried to convince them not to because of, well … I was training for the Olympics, which was pretty fucking important and amazing, you know??? Obviously, I failed miserably, because children have no decision power in my family, not until they can sustain themselves and move out of the house. And their opinions no longer matter then either, because they are no longer members of the household. :))

You have no idea how bad I waited for that vacation to end. I even convinced some of my friends to go running with me at the country side to make sure I will keep in shape. And there it was, almost three months have gone and my parents have returned. I could barely contain my joy thinking of the ride back to my friends, back to school and back to my training. But my parents had other plans. They came with great news. We were moving to a city nearby, to be closer to family, because we were all poor and we had to stick close to family so we will help each other. And it was already done, the flat was sold and our stuff was now in a train being delivered to the little town in the North of Romania where we will start a new life. What was mine and my sister’s opinion about it? It did not really matter. In their mind, they were doing this for us. And my mother announced the move by calling it “a great news”. Bitch, say what???? I know it is not ok to call your mother a bitch, and given I am now living in Scotland – What the fuck, cunt??? Ahem, back to the narrative.

So, we moved to the North shitty city and four years of training went down the drain because in the new city there was no running club. But my love for running never died. So much so, that I still sometimes ditched my responsibilities to go running. I even got some friends into it, and adults in the area were making fun of the horde of kids running around the neighbourhood with no purpose. And they were all lead by “that new crazy girl”.

I kept running all throughout highschool, and at the sports competition for our bacalaureat exam (final highschool exam that you need to pass to be accepted for university studies) I left the whole group of kids from all highschools in the city half a stadium behind. During faculty, I ran along the river in the campus, sometime with a group of colleagues just to stay fit. I had no fat to burn, because I was functioning with beer and coffee. After faculty, when I got two jobs I was finally running to burn fat. In 2014, after the most brutal breakup of my life I ran to clear up my mind and to get myself tired enough to sleep.

And now I’m running to keep my mind and body in shape. Because when I run, my mind runs as well, and it is not limited by the road ahead. My mind wonders back to the past, explaining things I cannot longer change and providing reasons for acceptance and lessons for the future. My mind wonders to the future, estimating where I could be in one, three, five years from now, providing options of little steps I could start taking right now to increase my changes for my long duration plans to be completed. And my mind also sometimes gets lost in the music, in a ray of sunshine, in the colour of a leaf or just gets fixated on the rhythm of my heart, because after running for five kilometres there is a rhythmic noise that I hear in my ears along the music and can’t help myself from focusing on it.

You could say that sometimes I’m meditating when I run, it definitely feels like it. There is this feeling of calm and serenity after a long run and my limbs feel so much lighter that I feel like I am floating. And this is why I do it mostly. The fact that I now live in Scotland where everything is deep fried and I love beer, and both these things happen to get me fat, has nothing to with my love for running. :D


Stay safe, stay happy!

One Response to “Of my love for running”

  1. Chiranjeev Gupta says:

    That was a bummer. Damn Olympics. But TBH you’re an Olympian, you’ve inspired me and all others like me. You’re awesome!
    “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
    ~ Steve Jobs

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