Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Run?

The questions are inevitable. “Hey was that you I saw running the other day? What were you running from?” “Why would anyone want to run?” “What is the point of running?” etc., etc., etc. My flippant answer has always been, “My big, fat, rear end!” which is true but not totally accurate. When I dig a little deeper there many reasons I run.

• Fitness. Running is the one form of exercise that shows me fairly immediate results in weight loss, smaller clothing sizes and overall cardiovascular fitness. All of these fluctuate but running gives you what you put into it. I have remained approximately the same size for the past 20 years. I owe it to running.

• Health. When I run consistently I eat better, sleep more, and lead an overall healthier lifestyle. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels are lower and I feel stronger.

• Ease and economy. All you need to run is a good pair of running shoes, a good running bra (for the ladies), and some shorts. Everything else is fun but totally not necessary. Lace up your shoes and head out the door. You decide which way and how long. You don’t need a gym or a team, you can just go and you can do it anywhere, anytime.

• Friendship. You don’t need a team but like everything in life, running is more fun when you share it with friends. Most of my best friends are also my running partners. The people you know you can count on to show up at 7am on a Saturday or Sunday for a long run or you can drop in on at 10pm for a shoulder to cry on or a wall to rail against. When you share sweat and a water bottle a bond is formed beyond the road.

• Inspiration. The most rewarding thing running has given me is I have been able to inspire others to run and improve their lives. This was an unexpected benefit. Since I am naturally slow, I enjoy running races but never win races, etc. I never expected to inspire anyone else with my efforts. Turns out just the fact that you run often inspires others to do the same. I guess they look at the ordinariness of me and figure if she can do it so can I. This excites me beyond belief!

• Marriage. Running has brought me closer to my husband. When I began running he was totally not interested. No problem! I enjoyed and still enjoy running solo. But over the years he has joined me and now surpasses me on the road. I love having this in common. We encourage each others efforts and are just competitive enough to motivate each other. It is much more difficult to skip a training run when he gets out of the bed…I can’t let him be more dedicated than me. He may be faster but he will not be more consistent!

This is by far not an exhaustive list of why I run but it does hit the highlights. So how about you…why do you run?

See you on the run…