Friday, May 14, 2010

Why do I run?

Palos Half MarathonEver since I've started running (and talking about it), I've encountered people who think I'm crazy, who hate running and can't imagine why I would voluntarily run 10+ miles at once, etc. People who respond the way I used to respond to runners. But now that I'm a runner, I want to share why I've switched from sane person who doesn't like to put my body through such stress to crazy person who gladly does.

So ... why do I run? Well, I run for a few different reasons:

1. I run to challenge myself.
I never thought I could run long distances ... but I never tried. So one day I decided to set the goal for myself to try. And guess what. I've run 10 straight miles without stopping. And I'm planning to sign up for another half marathon with the goal of running the entire 13.1 miles. There is nothing quite as satisfying as achieving a goal that you've set for yourself, in any area of life. I never want to stop setting goals for myself. I always want to have something to work towards. (This applies to more than just running.)

2. I run because I can.
To me, being in good health is not something to be taken lightly. I have two good legs. Two good lungs. A beating heart. There are many people in this world who can't run for whatever reason - disability, disease, asthma, etc. I run to remind myself that I can, and to remind myself never to take for granted that I can.

3. I run to relax.
This probably sounds crazy to a lot of people, but running relaxes me. It's my time to meditate, and clear my mind. Some people do yoga. I hate yoga. It's boring to me, and I hate sitting still, so the few times I've done yoga, I've spent the whole time thinking "when is this going to be over?" instead of meditating or whatever. But when I get into the grove of a run, I can think. I can just let my mind wander.

4. I run for my health. (This is the obvious answer.)
We all know the stats and research. Obesity is linked to an increased risk for many chronic diseases. I do not want to suffer from a chronic disease at any point in my life - it doesn't sound like fun, plus one day I want to have children and don't want them to deal with mom having cancer/heart disease/etc if I can avoid it. So I'm doing what I can now to be healthy. Exercise is one way to do that. And to me, running is an enjoyable form of exercise.

When I was in high school, I adopted the mantra of "don't ask 'why,' ask 'why not?'" (And also, "I'll try anything once.") So why not run? Because it's hard? Because it can be uncomfortable? Because it cuts into my couch-sitting time? To me, those aren't good enough reasons not to. So I run. And I enjoy it.


  1. I can certainly relate to this, Maggie; although my running days ended a few years back. Today I walk and enjoy it for the same reasons. An early morning walk is the perfect time to appreciate all that God has given us. Jean M.

  2. I agree--if I don't run, even if I substitute another sport (like when I got rid of Grandma Schwartz's bunions that I inherited and had to take 6 months off) it's not the same.

    For me it also seems to be the easiest solution to weight control!

    I thought of this blog entry yesterday morning when I was running--there was a guy out there who was "running" in his wheelchair. He was fast. And he was inspiring.

    There's also a cameraderie among runners--I run loops at forest preserves a lot. You see the same people occasionally, either running or on bikes, and the friendly nod can turn into a "hello" or a "nice job" after a time or two. It's a slice of humanity and gentility you rarely see anymore in the suburbs, it seems.

    Welcome to the club! :)

  3. Thanks! :)

    Also good (bad?) to know I have bunions on both sides of my family. My mom had them taken care of too. Of course that doesn't stop me from wearing heels all the time! :)