The story of Ung

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Ung.

He was a happy go-lucky little man who loved nothing more than running around aimlessly. When he did have an aim whilst running, it was to either chase after a bird, a dog or even just the clouds in the sky.

As Ung grew older, the birds, the dogs and the clouds lost their allure. However, his passion for running remained, be it in a park, along a river or even just on the sidewalk of a smog-filled road.

Ung felt at peace whenever he ran. It was a feeling that gave him much joy. It emanated from the freedom that running allowed – to think what he wants, to breathe unfettered and to stretch out his body in a way that is not possible anywhere else.

Then Ung began to notice other runners, especially the beautiful-looking running shoes they were wearing.

He didn’t feel happy … until he got his hands on a pair of those.

A countless pairs of running shoes later, Ung came upon a glossy magazine. It talked of a new breed of running shoes. Apparently, they mimicked barefoot running.

He didn’t feel happy … until he got his hands on a pair of those.

Thanks to modern peer-to-peer technology, Ung was also alluded to a special watch. It not only recorded running time but also let the wearer track his speed at all times.

He didn’t feel happy … until he got his hands on one of those.

Through another social media wonder, Ung found out about some special running singlets which are feather-light and can shake away sweat. No sooner had he gotten those, he was seduced by a TV commercial of some wonderful, shiny running wear which hugged the body like a second skin.

He didn’t feel happy … until he got his hands on some of those.

By this time, Ung was a mature adult and had participated in many races, from 10km to 42km.

He loved running in every one of them, particularly as he clocked faster and faster times.

As often happens in life, however, a plateau was eventually reached. Ung’s times no longer improved.

In a bid to fix what he thought was a problem, he ran harder.  He devised complicated training programs. He tracked his speed to the second. He became obsessed.

At the same time, the list of running things that he MUST have kept growing. Sunglasses, music player, special earphones, cool caps, belts with drink holders, training guides.

Ung didn’t feel happy … until he got his hands on each and every one of these items.

But the more he had, the more he wanted. And the more he wanted, the more they made – each one shinier, better and more necessary than ever before.

Then one day, something happened.

Something happened that Ung never thought would happen, at least not to him.

Ung found running no longer fun.

He found the complicated training programs to be a real chore.

He dreaded keeping an eye on his speed whenever he ran.

He hated even hearing the words “tempo”, “fartlek” and “interval”.

Even the thrill of running in races was gone.

It. Just. Wasn’t. Fun. Anymore.

Ung is now 65 years of age.

He is sitting on an old rickety bench, watching his two grandchildren running around in a park on a beautiful Spring day.

The two little boys are chasing each other, laughing. They then see a dog and start chasing after him, laughing even louder. Then the birds join them, as do the cotton-white clouds in the sky. From a distance, it looks to Ung as if they are all having the time of their lives, running around aimlessly with not a care in the world.

Ung stands up.

He hasn’t run for 25 years. He isn’t sure whether his legs and heart are capable after such a long hiatus.

But the temptation is too strong.

Ung runs after his grandchildren. He playfully chases after them all over the park.

His chest begins to hurt and his breathing starts to labour.

However, Ung doesn’t let that stop him. He continues to run after his grandkids, having perhaps the most fun he’s had in a very long time.

After all these years, he realises that his passion for running has remained.

All those indispensable running gear and accessories have fallen by the wayside over the years. But Ung’s love for running has stayed deeply within him, lying dormant, waiting to be unleashed again.

Mr Rateful is finally happy … and only wish he knew earlier that he has been all along.

Keep on pounding.


31 thoughts on “The story of Ung

  1. Brenda

    Ung was such a passionate, obsessed person. I’m glad he took time out for a family. Inquiring minds wonder, what is a fartlek? It sounds like something that would make my 9 year old son howl with laughter. 🙂 I could google it, but speculation is so enjoyable.

    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      I know. The first time I heard it, I was I was being kidded. It means randomly varying your running speed during a run, so that sometimes you go flat-out and sometime you go at a normal pace.

      1. runningfancy

        Yes! We are creating stories right now and we keep looking at different pieces of writing—- and this is just too awesome to pass up. They will read it, discuss, and possibly try to mimic a craft or two. Keep on writing and running my friend! 🙂

      1. Any Excuse to Wear Track Pants

        LOL! Not a bra, they’re super uber awesome running shoes guaranteed to help you crush all your records, speeds, distances. They can even help you get your ironing done, babysit your kids and land you that dream job you always wanted. They’re that good!

  2. Running Girl

    I remember when I first started running – I was 12. And wore Keds. I didn’t care what was on my feet or whether I was wearing the right clothes. I just loved the feeling of getting outside and GOING.
    Fast forward 25 years later…..and running has gotten complicated. And expensive. Instead of enjoying the moment, I stare at my watch and obsess over splits. But every now and then, I leave the watch at home and run “naked.” And in those times, when I don’t care about my pace or mileage, that’s when the 12 year old resurfaces. And I realize how much I really do love running.
    Great post. Here’s to the re-discovery of why we do what we do. In the end, it’s love.

  3. nancytex2013

    Love this story so much. Can’t say I’ve ever loved running, but I can fully relate to the frustration that has grown from the incessant monitoring of apps, pace, etc. to make me better at it. Back to the basics. Just run.

  4. heather3g

    This post definitely struck a chord with me as I’ve had my own up and down relationship with running (though thankfully not with the fancy gadgets associated with running, aside from minimalist shoes). I started running races in my childhood, and continued the running hobby into adulthood, but always maintained an “I run for fun” attitude and as a result never joined any formal running groups or teams. I ran a marathon in my 20’s and then let that go. In my 30’s I picked up the frequency and speed of my runs for weight (and sanity) control. Then I trained for a half marathon and felt that I couldn’t let all that training go to waste, even after the race had be run. I kept pushing myself harder and further on my runs, and if I exercised less than 4 days a week I beat myself up about that. Then providence, as it has a funny way of doing, intervened. I cut a tendon in my hand, had to have surgery and was told that I could not run for a month due to the swelling in the extremities that running can cause–who knew that a hand injury could curtail the activity of running?! I kept checking in with my doctor, asking when I could run again. And then one day she said that I was cleared for running. And guess what? I no longer wanted to run. Over that forced break from running I had realized that I had started to use running as a way to punish myself for all of my perceived shortcomings. I also learned to trust my body in that my weight did not balloon out of control when I stopped running as I thought that it would. And so I didn’t run for several more months. And when I did pick it back up again, I did it for fun, not on a prescribed schedule, and I didn’t care how far or fast I went. It’s been several years now and I still look at my runs as an enjoyable escape- not a task to be accomplished, not a time to be achieved. And I have become much slower, and I really don’t care!

    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      Hey, wait a sec! This is not allowed. You can’t leave a comment that is much better written and makes more sense than the blog post itself! 🙂 Seriously though, I’m glad you’re enjoying your running again.


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