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Do You Smile When You Run?

Do you smile when you run? I know I do…sometimes. You can’t actually smile ALL the time when you run, otherwise you will get bugs in your teeth. What made me think of this? As I was walking across the city today to get to work, I started noticing just how many people there are out running at 6 am…I know I am one of them, but I live in the suburbs and I very rarely see other runners (or cars for that matter) when I am out running early in the morning. So, seeing dozens of runners circumventing the city as I made my way to work made notice something…not one of them was smiling! It appeared that there just wasn’t any joy in what they were doing. Now I get to spend a lot of time with runners…mostly injured ones…and they all ask me the same question when they come to my office: “When can I run again?”. Usually followed by “I just love to run and I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t run…so when can I run?”. These can’t possibly be the same people that I saw running around the city today…glum looking plodders, snazzily dressed sprinters, headphone wearing joggers and mismatched sweatpanted runners…not one of which who even had the slightest glimmer of a smirk let alone a full blown smile. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t run around grinning like a lottery winner when I am running, but there are moments when I am running…and thinking…that I do smile and take in the beauty of what is around me. There is nothing like running at sunrise (or sunset…or in the middle of the day….or in the rain…or snow…I think you get where I am going with this). To get out and just run for the fun of it…and smile.
As I was watching all these people run this morning I had two thoughts…the first was about Bruce Springsteen’s classic song line “Tramps like us…baby we were boorrrrnnn to runnnnnn.”. It’s true…we were born to run….to hunt, to gather and to get away from bigger animals! The second thing I thought about was my 5 year old daughter and when she runs…she smiles…and a laughs…and giggles. She wants to run ALL the time…and be timed to see if she is faster than the last time…for fun. Crazy, right??
So today, I want everyone to go outside and find the joy of running like a 5 year old…and smile.

Michael Vacon, PT
Runner, Father and Managing Partner