I am not a runner. I really don't like to run. When I was in high school I had a doctor write me a note with some lame reason why I shouldn't run in P.E. When I go to the gym, I tend to go to the stationary bike so I can sit and read a magazine while incidentally getting my exercise in. I really have never liked to run.
About 3 years ago I was invited to do a 4 mile walk for Juvenile Diabetes. I agreed and did the walk with the group, but found that walking that 4 miles was dreadful. The next year when asked to participate again, I really had to think about it. I found that in addition to the 4 mile walk, there were 2 other options; an 8K run or a 1 mile fun run. The 1 mile fun run sounded MUCH more doable than the 4 mile walk! I decided to try to hammer out a 1 mile run. I found a loop in a neighborhood that was a little over a mile long. I ran to the first corner and then had to stop and walk a little ways. Once rested I started running again to the next corner and then walked. I picked it back up and ran to the next corner, stopping and starting until I finished the loop. The next day I did it again and slowly began piecing my run together. Before I knew it, I was running the complete loop without stopping to walk. On the day of the race, my goal was to run the complete mile without stopping. Mission accomplished!
I discovered that my run was long enough to play 4 songs in my IPod. That's it! 4 songs! I created a playlist with a bunch of upbeat running songs and just 4 songs later, my run is done.
Running is a funny thing. It does something to your brain. Every morning I talk myself out of running, but I put my shoes on anyway and get in the car. Once I am in the neighborhood, there's no going back. I must "hammer out" my run. 20 minutes and 4 songs later, my run is finished and I can get on with my day. As I get in the car, I am motivated to do more. "I should really train for a half marathon..." Yes, things like that actually creep into my head! ME! The non-runner!!
As I am running I think of WHY I'm running. I run because I CAN. Frequently I pass Steve, the guy in the wheelchair pushing his way around the same loop. Steve used to be a runner. Steve was hit by a car on his run several years ago. I know Steve would LOVE to be able to run again. Bless his heart, he still gets out there. On days when I am dragging and don't feel like running I see Steve pushing his way around the neighborhood. I run further because I CAN. There are people who are older, heavier, with bad knees or hips or backs who would love to be able to run, but can't. I can. Nothing hurts when I run. I have no excuses. What would happen if God forbid my knee went out? I would miss running. I would WISH I could run. Right now, I run because I can. I don't love to run but I know I need to. Everyone needs to do something! So many Americans are heavy and lazy and I was on the path of being one of them.
In 2010 I was given a gentle nudge to get healthy. I experienced what the doctors told me was a "mild heart attack". More like a blip on the radar, but definitely something. I needed to lose weight and start exercising. Yadda yadda yadda. Haven't we all heard that before? Then in 2011 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. There was the brick upside the head. I paid attention this time and made some changes in my diet and exercise. Per doctor's orders I stopped drinking alcohol, cut the crap out of my diet and did my 1 mile fun run which got me started running. 20 pounds and 2 years later, I am a runner. I run because I can.
If you CAN run but just don't, start. Run to the corner. Piece it together. Find 4 songs on your IPod. Just do it. Run because you can. Stop making excuses, it's free, it's good for you, you can find the time, go run. I used to find any excuse I could not to run. "I hate to sweat, my boobs bounce too much, I cough up a lung whenever I run, my side aches, it's rainy, it's snowy, it's too hot, people will see me, I look weird when I run". I've said them all but you know what? I have a better sports bra, I don't cough any more - as a matter of fact I'm not even really that winded when I finish (and I am up to a 2 mile loop now!). I wear gloves and run when its cold and people who see me running have a new respect for my dedication.
I'm off to go on my run! I run because I CAN.