Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why run?

I am certain I have annoyed the heck out of everyone who has been around me...because all I talk about is exercise.  Hey - it is what is on my mind!  So...it is what I'm obviously going to talk about!

I was emailing a friend the other day and started rambling about why I run.  She didn't really ask, and probably got more of an "eyeful" than she bargained for. ;-)  But, sometimes when I write thoughts come spilling out and it sort of helps me think.  So I guess she was on the recipient end of a thoughtful discussion with myself!  I wanted to share some of those thoughts here.

When I started running, a runner friend of mine from work stopped by to see how I was doing after my first run.  I was a bit sore, but it was a "good" kind of sore.  I didn't particularly enjoy my first run...and so I asked her point blank:  Do you like running?  She threw up her hands and exclaimed "NO!  I do it because it is the right thing to do!"  Then she started talking about all the health benefits she has seen in herself from running.  She only started running in November, but is already up to 4-5 miles at a time (regularly) and just completed her first half marathon a couple weeks ago.

Wow.

Inspiring right?

So I've thought about it a lot as I jog.  I'm actually mostly enjoying the running.  I love being outside.  To me, it is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors.  Yesterday, a couple squirrels were playing on the path.  When they saw me the ran to the side and sat and watched me run past (from a safe distance).  I've seen rabbits and other wildlife too.  I have a great appreciation for wildlife and all things outside.  So getting exercise and enjoying outside at the same time?  Sounds like a win win solution to me!

I love the feeling of accomplishment.  I've been getting better and better.  This last weekend I went 2.25 miles, on a hilly road, in 30:30.  Yesterday, I beat my 1 mile record of 12:57 with a time of 12:44.  I wasn't really even trying, and when I saw that I felt so proud.  I also went almost 1.5 miles (1.47) and felt proud I squeezed in that extra half mile in about the same time (20 minutes) that I had been doing a mile previously.  So I guess I enjoy seeing tangible progress!  (These couple milestones helped, since I did stop and walk...and I was bummed about THAT!)

I have found that I'm kinda picky about my running.  The idea of a treadmill is just plain awful to me.  I don't know why...but that isn't a new thought.  I've always hated treadmills.  (I feel like I'm going nowhere!)  I do prefer going in a larger circle vs. running in a line and retracing my steps on the return route.  I sometimes get lazy on the return - but a circle is just somehow different.  It is a psychological thing for me.  And lastly - I had the opportunity to run on a high school track, but preferred running along a road instead of multiple circles.  I loved the scenery.  The track didn't have much of that.  PLUS - I knew I'd find myself wondering when I would be done instead of enjoying the view.  And really - I enjoy it best when there is a pretty view.  When I went my little 1 mile route that was convenient (but not very pretty and not much to see), I quickly found I needed a new route for mental stimulation...otherwise it would have been the death of my running.  Thank goodness I live near a huge park!

I still find it hard to get going sometimes.  My legs feel like lead, and frequently no matter how excited I am to get going...when I start my head always fills with "Why am I doing this?  This sucks!"  LOL  Every single time...I guess it is the ol' roller coaster effect for me again.  But once I get going, clear my head and get into a rhythm...I'm good for awhile.  And I have no idea how this story will turn when it gets super hot outside.  I've run in 85 degree weather and thought it was going to kill me.  I may be taking my bike out more often during the heat...or who knows?  I'll get used to running in the heat and keep on running.  We'll have to see how that one works out!  At this point - I'm not going to make any guesses because this entire thing has simply surprised the heck out of me!

I'm enjoying running (overall) way more than I thought I ever would.  Leaps and bounds more!  Up until I got the hair brained idea to even do a 5K, I was dead set on believing that while running looked fun, it absolutely was not. Oh - and I hated it.  WITH a passion! I'm not really sure why I decided to do the 5K or what changed my mind in the beginning.  But here I am...enjoying it.  If nothing else, I think it has taught me that I shouldn't hold onto beliefs and opinions and re-evaluate things regularly.

My 2 mile race is June 4th.  I'm WAY excited...my goal is to run the entire thing.  My gravy goal is to run it 27 minutes or less.

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