Tying Knots and Making Mistakes: Lessons From Running

Meditations in Motion

A few months ago, I wrote a post describing a race Bill and I did. We were accompanied to that race by our youngest son.

The race originated and ended at a brewery. That may have been the feature that enticed our son to come along. Other than the opportunity to spend the day with his very cool parents, of course.

Now this son is starting to do some runs himself and to post about them on social media. He uses hashtags like #notarunner, #mylegshurt, and #runningsucks.

He and some of his friends at work, experienced runners and other beginners too, have organized a weekly group run, which I believe is an excellent idea. Nothing like peer pressure to hold you accountable when you are starting a new habit.

I told my son that one day, if he sticks with it, he will be running and suddenly, he will be thunderstruck by a thought that, unbidden, will explode to fill every nook and cranny of his brain. That thought will be “Hey! This doesn’t suck.

Even though every run before that day might be torture, gradually, so incrementally that he may not notice it, each run will be a little less torturous than the one before.

If he persists, he could even get to the place where he can’t imagine not running. He may get restless on his rest days and think “It wouldn’t hurt to go out and do just a couple of miles, maybe three, four at most.

And then he will be hooked. Like me.

In honor of this new running endeavor, I have collected three quotes, words of wisdom to sum up my feelings about running.

1. If you run, you are a runner.

Meditations in Motion

Running is one of the most accessible activities. You don’t need any special talent. There is no minimum speed. You don’t need to gather a bunch of people together to practice. You just put one foot in front of the other and repeat.

Before attending running club for the first time, I was slightly intimidated. I was already an older runner and didn’t know a soul in the club.

I worried that all the members might look like they just stepped out of a Nike ad, with strong, lithe bodies, sprinting ahead of me while I plodded along, alone, trying not to get lost. A self-pity party loomed.

What I encountered was a friendly, diverse group of all ages, abilities, and body types. I immediately began chatting with some women who looked to be about my age. That conversation has been ongoing for 15 years.

The cardinal rule for our weekly trail runs is that no one gets dropped (left behind). Ever.

Most runners are encouraging, inclusive, and enthusiastic about sharing our sport with others.

2. You will make mistakes. Learn from them.

Meditations in Motion

Every runner has stories to tell about the times they ran when they should have rested, or the times they rested when they should have run.

Most runners will admit with regret the mornings at zero dark-thirty that they opted for the safety of the treadmill when they could have ventured outside or the times they slipped on black ice when they should have run on the treadmill.

We are human. We make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes so we don’t repeat them.

Running teaches us not to fear failure.

Failures have made you into the unique person you are. You cannot live a full life without some stumbles.

Embrace them. Overcoming mistakes teaches us to accept our flawed, imperfect, wonderful selves, weaknesses, warts and all.

Through running, we learn to accept responsibility for our failures, forgive ourselves, forego shame, and move on.

3.  Running teaches us to tie knots.

Meditations in Motion

Running teaches us grit and lots of it.

There will be days when you don’t feel like pulling on your running shoes.

There will be gray, drizzly, bitter cold, hot and humid, sunny, scorching, snowy, sleety, foggy days when you will be tempted to bag it and eat chips on the couch instead.

There will be days when you are tired, depressed, worn out, drained, brain-dead, and beaten. The last thing you will want to do is exert yourself. The thought of putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over again, thousands and thousands of times will make your head feel like exploding.

You will think you can’t do it.

Then you will put your running shoes on.

You will step outside and, more from rote muscle memory than anything else, you will start running.

And the clouds will part, the sun will shine, the birds will start singing, woodland creatures will begin following you, angels will sing the Hallelujah chorus, and you will feel more alive than you have ever felt before.

And then you will know in your heart what has been true since the very first time you laced up those running shoes.

You are a runner.


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  1. I think it’s great that your son is starting to like running. Does anyone really love it when they first start? It’s hard and things hurt! I wrote the other day about my first triathlon and how I knew nothing and did not consider myself a runner. I guess I was though! Great quotes very true

    Liked by 1 person

    • For my first (and only) Triathlon, I rode a mountain bike! I couldn’t keep up with all the people on road bikes, What an education! I hope my son sticks with running. It will be really good for him.


  2. Although I’ve shared with you before, Laurie, that I’m not a runner, I do love power walking on the treadmill. The days I don’t feel like going to the gym are precisely the days I should! Unfortunately, a rotten cold has visited me this past week, so exercise had to be put on the back burner for now. Hoping to be back by Monday!
    Oh, and I loved the quotes you included here – so encouraging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Martha – the days we don’t feel like going are the days we really need it the most! So sorry to read about your cold. So many people have this terrible cold recently. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it bypasses me! Hope you are feeling better soon.


  3. I love running. However, my boyfriend has yet to enjoy it. He will do it for exercise since it is accessible as you mentioned, but he has yet to love it. He has run 3 half marathons with me, and a few other races varying from 5k to 10 milers. After his last half marathon he wrote off that distance forever and even threw his running shoes (which were dead) in the trash at the hotel to emphasize his retirement. Some people just can’t get the love and enjoyment others of us can from running. At least my boyfriend has agreed to still do shorter distances, so that is a plus. I hope your son will grow to love running, and not just tolerate it like my guy. Either way, if he sticks with it he will find many benefits which are worth putting up with the misery they perceive in running.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ran for years before my hubby began running with me. It really is much better when both of us run. If your boyfriend has run 3 half marathons, he is definitely a runner! Maybe the shorter distances will be better for him. It’s important that he enjoys his runs.


  4. That’s great that your son is acting like a “runner” even if doesn’t yet consider himself one. Having a group of new runners will be such a great force in keeping that momentum going. He’s lucky to have you and the hubby as role models 😉

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  5. Perhaps your son would be interested in joining our friend’s club. They call it a Drinking Club with a Running Problem! I am a very fast walker but running kills my knees and I don’t do elective surgery ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for point number one…I don’t run big, long, impressive distances and I don’t set any speed records, but I am glad that I can still call myself a runner.
    Hope your son does wake up one day and really, really want to go for his run. Feel that wonderful sense of accomplishment. Exhilaration. And be looking forward to the next run.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you run, you are a runner. I firmly believe that. My son is still running. He just went for a run with a group of friends today, so I am encouraged by that.


  7. I felt the same way about cardio workouts that your son feels about running–and now I feel about cardio the way YOU do about running! On my rest days I often swim for an hour. And you’re exactly right–it hit me, out of the blue one day! And I never thought it would. I love that he joined you & Bill for the run. He sure DOES have cool parents!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it that he has started running too. He just did a group run with some of his friends today and went farther than he ever did. It’s funny how we swim on our “rest” days! 🙂


  8. Hopefully your son reads your blog? I was not fond of running n the beginning for a long, long time. Unfortunately when you’re on the slower side, though, running clubs aren’t always easy to navigate. It’s really difficult to find the right running partners — you’re lucky you have your husband!

    Lately, seriously, running has just been a chore. Until yesterday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • He usually reads it but I don’t know if he read this post. I will have to ask him. Our running club really does have runners at all speeds. There is even a group that walks our running route. I AM lucky to have Bill to run with.

      Sorry to read that running has been less than pleasant, Judy. I can’t wait to read about your run yesterday. I hope you wrote about it! 🙂

      Those “miracle” runs are the ones that keep us going.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. No minimum speed!
    That’s the truth that keeps me going! I appreciate all the benefits of running, but know I’m never going to be particularly “good” at it. My only real fitness goal is to sail into old age with independence and dignity.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Those are all great quotes! And I think we’ve all used these hashtags at one point or another in our running lives… I hope he sticks with it and you guys can do more races together down the line!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your post brought up so many memories for me. I’m not running these days but I do remember having most of the thoughts that you mention. I agree when you start running is so hard and I hated it, but one day I started to love it. #lifethisweek Will share

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jennifer. I hated running when I first started too, but now I can’t imagine NOT running. Thanks for the comment. I would like to comment on one of your posts but I am not sure what the name of your blog is. It’s not linked to the Gravatar that is used on your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oooh I’ll bet you looove that your son is running! I know I sure would! My earliest days of running were spent walk/running on a treadmill at the gym with a towel over the display because I couldn’t bear how slowly time passed. But yeah sticking with it has countless rewards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I DO love it! I can remember running on the treadmill at the gym when I first started. That was before treadmills had TVs. I used to pray for someone to walk by the fitness room so I would have something to watch. Soooo boring!


  13. I love the John Bingham quote. I used to be a runner. I miss thinking of myself as a runner. 😦 But I do still exercise at home three days a week so I have to be satisfied with that and not be jealous of those of you who can still run! You keep running for the rest of us, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you, Lisa. The important thing is to keep moving as we get older. I hope to keep running for a long time. I have an 81-year-old running friend who inspires me! 🙂


  14. Very inspirational Laurie – I’ll bet your son will continue running and enjoy it – then he’ll regret the running bug didn’t bite him earlier. How could he not enjoy it … being a runner is in his genes!

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  15. An excellent post, Laurie! You describe running and how it is a metaphor for stepping through life. I (used to) love running for all the reasons you articulate so well. Now walking and almost daily Bikram Yoga for the past 5 years for the same reasons you articulate so well. 63 and my body is healthier with present day adjustments. Your quotes are great! Thank you for reminding me of the many levels of mental and physical fitness!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Every time I read something like this Laurie I wonder why I’m not a runner. I’ve tried several times, but just peter out before I hit that magic spot you talk about. I’m a great walker, and I walk twice a day, every day….but running just never happened. I guess I’ll just have to be on the sidelines cheering as you run by x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. love this! I remember when I crossed over from “why am I doing this?” to “this is kind of amazing!” and I have never looked back! even during the most horrific runs, I was still a runner.

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  18. If you run, you’re a runner. I’ll always be a runner though I don’t run as often these days. I often find myself reminiscing about the runs I used to run. But I have a bum knee, so I have to be careful. But I’m a runner, yes I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Laurie, I loved this! So much wisdom in your words. I have to confess, I don’t think I’ll ever be a runner. But I also said at one point I would never be a blogger either, and here I am seven years after beginning. I’m still blogging. I sometimes don’t feel like it, but I do it. Because that’s what we do when we’re committed to something right?

    I love that your son is following in your proverbial footsteps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is such a good post and reminds me I should take up running again. I’ve always said I’m “not a runner” and to be honest, don’t enjoy it as much as strength training but the few events I’ve done, while they have almost killed me, have also given me a runner’s high

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What an excellent post for inspiration. I have to admit I am not a runner and have never seriously tried for any length of time–but I am a swimmer, outdoors as much as is possible- and I have never ever regretted going for a swim, even when the weather is cool or the water is rough or I’m feeling lazy. Thanks for the quotes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I have recently started swimming again too. I love it but I mostly just flail around in the pool. I admire anyone who swims outside in open water!


  22. What a great and encouraging post. I want to apply some of this to going for a daily walk. I have used every excuse since Spring: magpies swooping, Summer: far to hot and smokey …come on Autumn, maybe soon!

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is Taking Stock. Using words of your own or ones from other bloggers as prompts is cool. Hope to see you there: 2 March 2020. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

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