Would you be a runner if you . . .


. . . lived in the 19th century?

If I had lived in the nineteenth century, I would be a Jewish peasant in Russia. I think I can claim with a fair amount of certainty that I would not be a runner.

I’d be too busy trying to survive. Heck, what was the life expectancy back then? A little googling shows that no one actually knows or agrees — some say we could expect a much shorter lifespan back then, others say that’s not true.

What I do know is true is that back then, I’d be too busy doing all those chores that our modern conveniences have taken over: washing dishes and pots by hand, no doubt getting water from a well, cooking every morsel I ate from scratch, making my own clothes, washing my own clothes by hand, mending my own clothes, making candles, perhaps tending livestock (assuming I was lucky enough to have some), growing my own food . . . the list goes on and on.

Think our lives are busy and overscheduled? Just stop to think about what your ancestors had to do just to survive the next time you’re tempted to complain about how little free time you have (which I do as well as the next person).

Seriously, think about it: think about how lucky we are to live today and have all these modern conveniences! Without them, I know without a doubt, I would not be a runner. I’d be too worn down and tired simply from trying to stay alive.

I wouldn’t have the time to sit and write about running, much less the time to run.

Is it any wonder that I am not a fast runner? It’s not in my genes.

And do you think I’d be happier living back then, in that simpler time that we all seem to long for ?

I don’t think so. Or maybe I would be because it would be all I knew. But I can’t imagine a life filled with chores sunup to sundown would have been very fulfilling. I wouldn’t have needed to “exercise”, because I’d get plenty of exercise every day, but none of that exercise would make me feel good the way running does.

This is something I need to remember whenever I get overwhelmed with life.


Tuesdays on the Run

I’m linking up with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup; today’s theme was spring racing plans — my spring half marathon will be Shipyard Maine Coast Halffree photos, free tracking, scenic views of the Maine coast! Use the code JLitt for $5 off your registration if you’d like to come run it with me.

What sort of life would you have had in the 19th century?

27 thoughts on “Would you be a runner if you . . .

  1. What a fabulous question! So if we’re going on religion and what our ancestors actually did, I was raised Mormon and I would be working a farm and having 15 children because that’s what my great-grandparents did. Oh my… I can’t even imagine. I’m thankful for my life today, definitely. And I still wish I could run that Maine Half with you… I’ll bet it’s going to beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, safe to say I wouldn’t have too much of a good time in America in the 1800’s….LOL. Great perspective. We are blessed to be able to run for fun, rather than necessity!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doubtful. Considering when I was a teacher and young, I had summers off and got out at 3 pm and I never considered running…and my husband at the time ran or jogged as we called it back then.


  4. Haha! I love this post. I, too, would be a Jewish peasant in Eastern Europe. I would likely be in modern day Latvia or Romania (that’s where my grandparents are from). I imagine I would not be a runner, and life would be pretty difficult. I am pretty glad to be alive now with all of our technology, extra time, internet, and good pluming!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a creative post Judy, what else do you have up your sleeve? Your writing has changed so much, am I the only one who’s noticed? I love this question, it is such a pondering one too. Oh gosh, I’d have to say no I’d be stuck doing women chores around the house. Probably sweeping the yard with a broom made of tall grass, drawing water and setting in the sun to warm up for the nights baths. Oh goodness my grandmother could tell us all about the “good ol’ days” as she says.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I haven’t really noticed that my writing has changed!

      Or maybe you just mean the type of posts? I got one of those Erin Condren planners and I’m finding it a lot easier to jot down ideas & stay more organized.

      I was skeptical about the price, but I’m really enjoying it.

      That and the fact that I actually get to sleep through the night most nights for a a month now . . . and don’t have to live at the vets . . .

      My grandma was a seamstress in NYC. Then she owned a boarding house, and used to go up to the catskills for the summers & take in boarders there, too, before she actually owned a boarding house.

      She was a real business woman and I so am not! And neither is my mom.

      She also came over to the US from Russia by herself as a teenager. I can’t even imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow that is so neat!!! I can not even imagine doing that even now an I’m 44!! I’ve been in love with my Erin Condren planner for several years. Pricey yes but very nice. I’ve incorporated my races, training, Travel, appointments and even blogging in it. I’m still trying to figure out my blogging system but I’ll get there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a separate journal for my running, although I can see how you would combine them, but I think I’d run out of room.

        Yes, my grandma was a tough woman, but she also had a very tough life & she wasn’t a very happy woman.

        Maybe she needed to run!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post!

    No, I don’t think I would have been a runner in the 19 century. I’d probably have been in service, a seamstress or a shop worker as I think that’s what my great-great family did. And with that sort of work you didn’t get much time and the free time you did have was regulated by curfews from your employer!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Clearly running for women back then would not have been an option due to restrictive clothing! However, I think I would be back living in England and as you said, trying to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My grandmother left Russia for England; she had a relative there, but he’d left before she arrived.

      She really liked England, but was told the damp wasn’t good for her health & came to America.

      I only had one grandparent who was born in the US.


  8. Its interesting to think about! Before all our modern conveniences people didnt need to “exercise” because they were so active all day long! Not sure how i would have felt about it, but now that we are used to this kind of lifestyle I am sure it would be really weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If you go back just a few generations it wold be likely none is us would be running. What a different world, shoot the world I grew up was so different even…
    I kind of liked when things were moving a little slower.


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