Friday, January 3, 2014

the smiling runner.

When I lived in Iowa, my friend Bob and I would go for long running treks.

One blizzard-infested day, running against the traffic of a small Iowa county road Bob waved at every person who drove past us and smiled.  They smiled back or honked their horn, or better yet, gave the crazy look of "Why the heck are they running on the road in this blizzard."

In concern for safety, I told Bob, "Stop distracting the drivers as they drive by.  It might cause them to hit us, or drive off the road trying not to hit us."

Waving and smiling at people was Bob's "thing."

What I didn't realize is that each time Bob waved and somebody waved back, it triggered some kind of feeling of joy and I believe it helped him and me on our long runs.


I think the same effect happens when running a race or training for an event and someone cheers you on, or someone you know shows up and yells out "Go get 'em!"

Back in 2008, with 10 miles to go of a 62-mile run, I was defeated, wanted to quit and give up.

In the distance, I saw a giant bunny.

At first I thought I was hallucinating?

If I'm seeing bunnies, I should definitely stop.  But the bunny got closer and closer, and quickly discovered it was my buddy Mark in a bunny costume riding a bicycle.

He had come to pedal and run alongside of me the last 10-miles of the run.

Him showing up gave me the energy and joy to continue on.  We finished those last 10 miles in no time.

Mark in the bunny costume
 There was another time when I was running the Sioux City marathon, and some buddies jumped out behind some bushes to encourage me.
surprised by Remy and Nathan

Today, on my run, I tried running while smiling.  Not the easiest of tasks, especially when training they encourage you not to smile while running cause it actually uses energy that could otherwise be spent on training.  

So, I ran and smiled.

I know, sounds cheesy.

Truth is, it was cheesy.  Imagine a full grown man running down a path with grin from ear-to-ear.

Hopefully no one saw me.  

But science suggests that smiling-alone can increase joy.  Seriously!

Why not combine smiling with running, right?

Below is a depiction of what I might have looked like (Imagine several layers of running gear added, due to the cold North Dakotan weather)

At the end of my run, I did in fact feel more "Joy."  Just by adding some smiles to my run.

Consider smiling when you do your hobby, or smiling randomly at work.  Just the mere fact of thinking of smiling when no one is watching, and how weird that is, makes you feel more joy.  Just imagine if someone does see you smiling, it can only make their day better.  Just don't distract them and cause them to crash.

Whatever hobby or thing you love to do, throw a couple smiles in.  It may add some joy.


9 benefits of smiling

7 benefits of smiling and laughing


From the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

"Run, run, run, run, run...."

No comments:

Post a Comment