I have run a number of races in my lifetime. And by “number” I mean a lot; and yes, that is a technical quantity. I started watching running when I was a child. It seemed that I my dad ran some sort of race every weekend and my family had the important job of cheer squad. As I showed interest I would join him on 1 mile fun runs which, in hindsight, probably weren’t really all that fun for him. Then I took a long break and the only running I did was chasing a soccer ball. I did plenty of that. I don’t recall when I started running races as an adult. It was probably about Y2K and running has been a lovely and stupid endeavor ever since.
I have medals to prove that I have run at least 10 races. They dangle from a poster in my office with times and dates engraved on their backs. I’ve run 5ks, 10ks, 10 miles, half marathons, and duathalons (run, bike, run again – yuck). I have never run a marathon. I’ve raced in frigid February, blistering August, and in a Halloween costume in October. I’ve even run in the rain where I completed my fastest 10 mile. I pay for this challenge! In turn they give me a shirt, lots of coupons and samples of things that I most likely will never use and heartache as I compare myself to other runners of my age and gender group. I am fairly slow. It may not come as a surprise to you that I do not like to run.
I’ve never looked at the calendar on a Tuesday or Friday and thought “Yeah! A run day!” but I do it anyway. Here is my ritual: On days when I run I attempt to get some decent sleep the night before. I use my run as an excuse to pull the covers over my head about 9pm. It’s glorious. I get up early the next morning and I make a giant smoothie (because solid food in my stomach is not a good idea). On one of my first dates with my now husband I ate pop tarts before we ran together. You can ask him how that went. It’s one of his favorite stories. I pull back as much of my hair as possible and slam on a sun visor. Yes, it’s always sunny. Sunglasses fog up on my face and the visor keeps the sweat from running into my eyes. I tie up my running shoes just right because if they are too loose I get blisters and if they are too tight my toes fall asleep. I frequently wear two watches because while Garmin boasts technology that will allow me to track all the things that I’d like to, but I dislike reading manuals. Plus, the 80’s are cool again and I vaguely remember multiple watches being cool then. I try to hit the road as early as possible because I am a morning person and recreational paths get clogged with people, strollers, and dogs during the more respectable hours. I listen to podcasts and laugh. I take frequent walk breaks to stretch out my legs. When I’m done I either feel like I’m king of the world or gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe. The feeling isn’t related to how fast I’ve run. I’ve been on slow runs that feel terrible and fast runs that feel amazing.
Why do I even bother?
- When I’m done running I can eat just about anything. Running burns lots of calories and calories are delicious.
- Running gives me stamina for things that I enjoy, like playing soccer, and it keeps me fit for fighting fires.
- I get outside and see things in a way I might not when I’m not running. I pay attention to every bench and enjoy every single water fountain.
Sadly, I don’t get the runners high. That’s not ever been me. But I do get a sense of accomplishment putting in miles while you are still in bed.