I often get comments and questions about my running habit:
“You must love running!”
“Why do you run?”
“Do you like running?”
“Have you always been a runner?”
To answer whether or not I love running, the answer is confusing. Running is hard. Two or three or so years later, it is still the most difficult form of exercise I can imagine sustaining. When I go out to run, I have to cheerleader myself into it. I tell myself how good I will feel after, how powerful I’ll feel during the run, I remind myself that I won’t have to count calories as much if I run. But it’s hard. It makes me breathe hard, get sore, sweat like a dog, get tired, get cramps, feel like I am drowning… I have a lot of complaints about running, but the fact that it never gets easy is why I choose running.
I have the ability to dumb things down and make exercise as easy and sweat free as possible. But not running. I can slow down walking until it’s a saunter, I can do aerobics halfway and ride the elliptical with no resistance, but as long as I’m outside running, there are no shortcuts. If I go for a run, the only way to make a shortcut is to stop, walk or, literally, cut a corner during the run. If I run at all, I’ll be a sweaty mouth breather with a heartrate in the 140’s for a solid 30-50 minutes. I don’t do so well with any other exercise.
After I run, because it is so HARD for me to do, I feel like I can do anything. My mood elevates and I feel like I have really accomplished something. Even when I only run a mile and a half or so, I still feel like the king of the world when I’m done. The sense of accomplishment is so prevalent that in that moment I feel like I can do almost anything. Facing that challenge of doing something over and over that is so difficult for me continues to teach me that I can do hard, scary things. When I’m done with a run, I can’t imagine anything I like more than running!
So, to answer the questions: I love and hate running. I run because it’s hard for me. And no, I haven’t always been a runner. Until I took my maiden voyage a little over two years ago, I had only ever run one mile in my life.
Because running is hard!