I won’t be the first person to point out that runners are a little bit nuts. We run in the cold. We run in the heat. We run when we’re injured. We run when we shouldn’t, often. It’s part of what makes us, us. You don’t just set out and become a runner by being a fair-weather participant. That kind of commitment rarely, if ever, sees a Personal Best. But how often do we run when it’s counterproductive? I was reminded of that yesterday, when I ran in the smoke after my team workout was cancelled and showed up and my kid’s aftercare with watering red eyes.
My daughter had called me from school and asked me not to run. And my training partner backed out and sports activities were cancelled at school. But, after a long day of work, I needed a run. That pull of going for a run weighted against playing it safe is a decision that we all have to face. On the iRun Facebook channel, readers are mixed about their decisions. Many of our runners opted to go in the morning, before the air conditions got worse. And one great runner offered up this link, firesmoke.ca, which is a fantastic resource and I recommend all of us use.
But the truth is: even with that website, I probably would’ve run anyways. And I have a Peloton. It’s certainly not bragging and I think it’s more embarrassing, more stupid, than anything to be proud of. I think the reason why I’m writing this is to try and understand my own psyche. And perhaps understand yours. What is it that makes us run? What makes us, after suffering in a race, sign up for another one? Is it an addiction? A thrill? A mixture of pleasure and pain that’s ingrained in our consciousness?
I don’t know.
I just know that I was planning on skipping my run and instead I went out for a walk around Toronto and saw lots of people running and that made my mind up for me: if they get to do it, so do I. That picture up top was taken by my aunt in New York. Looks like the apocalypse. How long will it last? And is this just a precursor of what’s to come? No doubt our impact on the environment is making things worse and runners—throwing their cups during races, buying loads of shoes, contributing to the overall consumption of crap—could do more to help our planet, which clearly is crying out for help.
What do you think is the best course of action? And what are people saying in Calgary, in Alberta, in Quebec, where things are worse than they are here in Toronto? Let me know and let’s continue the conversation. As runners, we’re a very specific sub-group and it’s important we share our best information. We all hear from the experts: don’t run outside.
Will we listen? I’m not sure.