Tor Cardona is a journalist covering beauty, wellness and fitness. Her writing on everything from diet culture to workout trends, mental health and mindfulness can be found in SheerLuxe, Refinery29, Get The Gloss, Grazia and plenty of others. Find her on Instagram. Here she tells the story of how she found her runner’s high…
There are two types of people in the world: those who jump out of bed at the crack of dawn to effortlessly pound the pavements for five miles and those who wouldn’t be seen dead running for anything, let alone the number 38 bus. I’ve been both of these people. For much of my life the very concept of running filled me with dread, until I found a way to make it empowering instead.
I was genuinely terrible at all sports throughout secondary school: bad at hitting a rounders ball, even worse on the tennis court, and had weekly nightmares about the hockey pitch (I can still smell the damp grass and taste the mouthguard). But my absolute nemesis was running. I’d do anything to get out of it – swapping cross-country for extra Latin and faking period pains for the 800m were just a couple of my trusty strategies.
It makes me feel powerful and capable of anything
So how in the name of Nike did I become a run junkie, clocking up hundreds of miles every year? To be honest, I’m not sure of the exact moment I fell in love with running but I do remember that smug feeling of elation having dragged myself round my local common in the wind and rain around ten years ago. I might have been slow, my form less than perfect and my breathing ragged, but the sense of achievement was overwhelming.
Perhaps the revelation came when I realised running was something I could do with just a pair of trainers and my headphones – forget a seven-a-side netball squad breathing down my neck with the pressure of having to fend off a goal (GK was legit the only position I could ever play due to the fact it required movement in the smallest possible space). Far from school-enforced team sports, my running journey has benefitted from the power of perspective – I now run for me, without judgment or pressure. We’re all capable of running, remember, but it’s those ever-present demons that tell us we’re not fast enough, thin enough, or fit enough that stop us from lacing up. Anyone can be a runner.
I switched gears and started running simply because I was able to. Last year, I ran a whopping 1,160km and so far in 2019 that figure stands at 600km. I run at least three times a week, it’s my meditation, my ‘me-time’ and the thing that keeps me sane. It makes me feel powerful and capable of anything, whatever the day throws at me. I’ve clocked up one full marathon, several halves and dozens of 5 and 10Ks, some in the name of time but the majority for the sheer satisfaction.
But remember all runners, even those keen beans who insist on wearing the skimpiest of outfits chez Barry’s Bootcamp, have bad days. When training for the London Marathon in 2018, I remember tears running down my cheeks on a freezing January morning as I plodded through Brockwell Park; and ironically even the morning prior to writing this I dragged myself down my road for four minutes before realising that run just wasn’t going to happen. And hey, that’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day and we’re all human.
For me, running is an ongoing relationship that’s never going to be perfect. But my advice in the meantime? Lace up, and embrace every step.