Running is hard...there's no doubt about it. Every time I start running the first 5 minutes or so are the worst. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, and my heart feels like it's going to explode. In those first five minutes I start thinking I should just stop running. Forever. So...who's ready to lace up their shoes and join me?
After about 5 minutes it starts to get easier. My legs start to relax. I can breathe again. I'm starting to feel like I can do it after all. (It helps that this is where I usually start going downhill.). By the time I've finished my first mile I'm in the zone. I don't just think I can do it...I know I can. The runner's high starts kicking in. I've got my tunes going and I feel good. Each time I run it gets a little easier.
That doesn't really tell you why I run...it just tells you how I get through it. So why do I run? I've had to think long and hard about why I run. I guess there are several reasons.
1. Losing weight - Growing up I was a stick. Not any more! Since my son was born I'd put on over 20 pounds. I've been using running (and Weight Watchers) as my weight loss tools...and I can proudly say I've lost 20 pounds! I wouldn't mind loosing another 5 pounds or so...but what I really want now is to tone my midsection. Running alone won't do that, but it's a great tool to help me get there.
2. A Healthier Me - Being at a good weight is only part of being healthy. I want to keep my body in good working order. It's easy to sit still all day...even though I'm busy doing "stuff." I want to make sure I stay active. I want to stick around for a long time...if only to torture my kids.
3. Runner's High - yes, it really does exist...kinda like Santa Clause and M&Ms. (Yum) It's funny how I finish a run, feeling like I'm about to die, and I'm already planning my next run. I want to go out and run again...even with my legs and lungs screaming at me.
4. Races - Races are fun! There's excitement in the air, fans to cheer you on, and lots of other crazy runners on the course with you. I know I'm not racing for a medal...I'm usually just trying to reach the finish line. The atmosphere at a race helps you to do better that your usual best...and there's nothing wrong with that. Best yet, there are water stations during the race and goodies to eat and drink afterwards...and there's always a t-shirt! Much better than running in my own neighborhood.
5. Setting Goals - I'm a goal oriented person. I need a reason to do something. When I run I set goals for myself. Sometimes it's trying to run a new distance, sometimes it's trying to get up a new hill. This is another reason I like entering races...they are goals that keep me going. After all, what's the point of paying to run in a race if I'm not going to finish. I would love to run one race a month, but we'll just have to see how that goes. Maybe that should be my next goal...
6. Friends - I have some wonderful friends that are fellow runners. Not marathon runners (although I know some of those crazy people too), but people that run randomly just like me. We talk about what shorts to buy, where to get a good deal on shirts, and what races we will do next. Best of all we encourage each other. They are there to celebrate my victories, sympathize with my defeats and sometimes laugh
at with me along the way. Best of all...it goes both ways.
To sum it all up, I run to be a better me...socially, mentally and physically. I guess if I'm really honest with myself, I run because I like it.