Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why do you run?

One of my Dailymile buddies posed this question a week ago to a bunch of us and I had to think back to the day I decided to try to jog rather than run. Because, here is the truth. I HATED RUNNING! (notice that is past tense)
I was not on the track or cross country team in high school. The sports of my choice were volleyball and softball. Sports that involved a quick lunge towards a volleyball before it hit the floor or towards a softball before it ran right past you. I was fine with that.
We used to have to run suicide sprints in volleyball, but not anything that was long distance. My softball coach had a different kind of running. Not only would he have us do suicide sprints, but Indian sprints. I don't know where that name came from but everyone would jog around the diamond and the person in the back would have to run all the way up to the front and it would continue like that. Any sport that involved little running, I would enjoy. Except golf. I still don't understand the enjoyment of hitting a small ball around a big course. Maybe it's the beer. Feel free to explain it to me.
Fast forward to two years after I first started my weight loss journey. My workplace, particularly my department, was planning on running the Chase Corporate Challenge, which is a 5K. I was 25 pounds from my goal weight and figured it was time to give myself a challenege. I had never run a race before. I had never run farther than a mile and a half. Even playing volleyball in college, I think the most we ran at one time was a mile. It could have been more, but I'm sure I just blocked it out. I had no idea where to start or how to train, so one day I just decided that instead of walking, that my feet were going to be running. I started out on the treadmill at first and would be out of breath after 1 mile. I then began to extend that gradually and slowly. The first time I ran 3.1 miles on the treadmill, I think it took me an hour. Huge accomplishment for me. Then it was time to take the show out on the road. I had never run outsidebefore. Big difference! Those of you who remember going from the treadmill to the road for the first time know what I am talking about. Talk about winded! Holy cow! How was I ever going to get through that 5K?
Well, I did get through it and ran the race in 44 minutes. Considering this was my first 5K, I was pretty proud of myself. Not once did I stop running and walk. I got through it. Six years later, I have been able to run a 5K in 28 minutes. I guess that's what a little practice will do for you.
Which leads back to the question, "Why do I run?" Because running is a challenge. Getting past a certain mileage that you thought you would never get to. Getting a PR on a route you have previously run. Another reason I run is I am thankful that I can run and that I am healthy enough to run. I run because at 89 pounds overweight, I would never have been able to run a 5k, let alone a half-marathon. Now, look at all the races I am planning on for 2010? I run because of people who inspire me, people who motivate me and people who dare me (more on them later) I run for the heavy people to show them that there is a way out, that you don't have to be a prisoner in your own body. It will take some time, it won't be easy, but you didn't gain the weight overnight, so don't expect to lose it overnight either. Just start moving!
Stay fit and healthy!

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