Thursday, September 12, 2013

Because I can

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment