Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I run

So, it's been a month since the last update and I'm basically recovered from the adductor injury earlier this summer. I'm now wrapping up a base training program before starting my 2011 Goofy Challenge training on Labor Day. I've had a couple of really good sessions and a couple of not-so-good sessions in the last week, so I think I have to get re-focused on why I run.

I run because it makes me feel good, not only physically, but mentally. Running can clear your mind or order your thoughts. Being outside in the early morning thinking or not thinking is one of the best ways to start your day. Knowing that you're outside doing something physical while most people are still asleep or just waking up is a great feeling, like you've accomplished a lot before your day really starts. Even on the days when my workout doesn't go as well as I'd like, I still feel like I've gotten a jump on the day, a kick-start to whatever I have to do that day. Some days, I get such a rush from getting a run in before heading to work that the day just flies by and before I know it, it's time to go home.

I run because sometimes I need to check out mentally and just go. Putting one foot in front of the other for several miles without really thinking about it can be a great way to re-charge the brain battery or flush out the cerebral junk that has built up like a gunk deposit on an engine. Once I start running, I don't really think about anything in particular and the next time I focus on the here and now, I've gone a good distance and have rejuvenated myself.

I run because I know that if I stop running, I will slip back into habits that caused me to miss out on many things I could have done when I was younger. Before I ran, I would walk for exercise, but mainly walk to relieve stress, often self-induced stress, that needed a release. Then I would go home and eat poorly. I thought nothing of this pattern of behavior and by July of 2001, I found myself weighing about 240 lbs. and basically unhappy with myself. I started working out and lost 40 lbs. by late October of 2001. I maintained that lifestyle (adding running in early 2003) until this past January, when I realized that I need another kick in the butt. I changed my lifestyle again, becoming first vegetarian and now vegan, which allowed me to lose 40 lbs again, so that I weigh 185 today. I have more to lose and a great reason to keep running. Combined with my new lifestyle and good eating habits, I can not only lose the rest of the weight I want to lose, but keep it off and stay healthy for my family.

I run because it's the only physical activity I have done in my life that I can honestly say "I can do better" and believe that is the case. I use to play golf, but I don't much any more because I didn't care much whether I got better or not. I wasn't very good at team sports as a kid, although I played baseball and basketball, but knew I wasn't going to be a pro at either sport. I still love baseball, but as a fan, and that's just fine with me. Running is different. I know that soon, my body will peak and I'll have to be content with whatever running I get to do, but right now? Well, I want to BQ, hopefully before I'm 50, which means I have 5 years to achieve that goal. Will I? I don't know, I want to and plan to, but tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so I can only do what I can today to make my dreams come true.

I run because I have found great friends who also run, who are very encouraging, who know what it's like to go out for a training run in the dark, in the rain, in the heat, or in the snow to prepare for a race they more than likely won't win, but still will run as hard as they can to do the best that they can. Knowing that I have friends that will support each other through injuries, bad runs, great races, and recovery times allows me to feel included, which is something I don't normally feel.

I run because it's just good clean fun (well, except in the rain or after a snowfall!) and I encourage everyone to at least try it for a while and see what a difference it makes in your health, your attitude, and your life.