Monday, October 29, 2012

Running - Why in the WORLD Do I Do This?

Why do I run?  Why do I do something that hurts, not only during the long run, but for a couple of days afterward as well?  Why do I run when my muscles ache, my wonky ankle protests, and my left foot hurts so badly that I can't wear most of my shoes?  Why do I run when I spend much of the first mile trying to not hyperventilate?  Why do I run when I'm one of the slowest people in my running club, as well as in the local 5K races?  What kind of fool would do this to herself?

You might be wondering what I'm getting out of all this - I admit, from the outside, it sounds pretty miserable.  Heck, some days it IS miserable.  But, truth be told, I like it.  Getting up ridiculously early on a Saturday morning.  Meeting a bunch of like-minded people at a park, before the sun has risen, and setting off together on a long run, no matter how hot and humid it is, how hard it's raining, or how cold it might be.  We're runners, and this is what we do.  Running toughens you up - we might complain about the weather, but we do so WHILE we're getting ready to run.  I like that I don't let things like the weather, or how comfortable my bed feels when my alarm goes off, stop me.  I like knowing that my running club peeps are out on the same course, working as hard as I am.  I like that we all come together afterward with a sense of pride as we revel in the fact that we conquered yet another long distance.

I like that I am following a training plan in my goal to running a half marathon.  I appreciate having friends who are willing to run with me during the week to help me stay on track.  It's definitely been a challenge, from sweating it out during the summer runs, to doing hill workouts (something I skipped last time I trained), to completing each and every long run as the distance has increased.  Our training program started in June, and I'm still going strong.  Last go-round, I made it just over four months before I got injured and had to stop running.  The end is in sight now...after nearly six months of training, we are just two weeks away from running the San Antonio Rock and Roll half marathon, six weeks from the end of this season of running club, and with that, our goal race of the BCS Half Marathon on December 9th - and I'm obviously feeling a little reflective about my running experience.

Even though my body hurts, I still run. I like TO run, and I like that I CAN run.  I like how I feel once I get into my groove with running, and I like how I feel when I'm done.  I like knowing that even though I have tons of support, both in person and online, when it comes down to it, running is all me.  No one is going to tow me to the finish line, nor am I going to ride anyone's coattails - every mile that I run is because I am pushing my body to move forward in a somewhat speedy motion.  I'm running, and I marvel at that fact, because I didn't used to be the kind of person who would push herself to do uncomfortable things.  It's hard to explain how good you can feel while doing something that is such a physical and mental challenge, but that's the lure of running, and that's why I choose to do it.
 
For me, running is more than having that medal put around my neck after I cross the finish line.  It's the fact that I worked so hard to get to the start line.  Over and over, I got up and ran the miles that were on the plan.  And as our Saturday long runs got longer and longer, I kept going - and discovered the true definition of gutting it out to the end even when my body said I was done.  Running does not come easy to me, nor does it come without a lot of aches and pains.  But every time that pain makes me doubt myself, I think about how hard I've been working to get to this point and how strong I'm becoming - and that's why I do this crazy thing called running.

20 comments:

  1. I love the sentence about working so hard to get to the start line.
    Id never thought about it/framed it that way.

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  2. It's obvious after reading this that you run because you love running and the feeling you get out of this.

    Many, many would have given up already if they have the symptoms/feelings as described in the first paragraph. I know for sure that I would have. As much as I love running or other sports, if it gets painful I need to find something else. I couldn't do what you do week in, week out, running so often with pain (to be complete honest I don't think it's healthy but on the other hand I recently heard that professional tennis players play most of the year with some kind of pain) and I admire you for pushing through. I could definitely use some of your perseverance. You're my example and rockstar Shelley.

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    1. Well, no one ever said that I was particularly smart or sane when it comes to running...but I had the year of sitting it out, so I'm not going to let some pain stop me now.

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    2. And that's why I admire you so much! You're a rockstar my friend and I'm a pussy :)

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  3. And you ARE a real runner: heart, mind, body and soul. The races are just your reward for laying down all those miles and proving that you are capable of actually running and that's why the medal - though fun - isn't what is important to you.

    Beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Helen - I know you get it...and I know you are itching to get back to running as soon as your poor foot lets you!

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  4. I TOTALLY get this. I have the same enthusiasm and curse the fact that my body keeps objecting. Seems so unfair that so many people who CAN run without injury simply hate it! Grrr.

    Good luck and wishing you years of miraculously injury-free running!

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    1. Thanks, Crabby - I wrote the first paragraph a couple of weeks ago, venting to myself after feeling so bad, physically, at the end of a long run. Luckily, I have a bit of Monty Python in me and was able to look on the bright side of life, and finish it on a happier note. But yeah, I envy those runners who can just RUN with zero body problems.

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  5. This is a very good post Shelley! Keep running! :)

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  6. I loved this post Shelley! You have come so far in your journey, you should be proud of each and every one of those miles! :D

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  7. This is really good. It can apply to any goal in life that is difficult, but worthy, to achieve. I'm looking forward to reading those race reports!!

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  8. I love this post Shelley. You found something you truly love!!! Have a good Monday. Happy running!

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  9. You're opening and 2nd paragraph are me. I swear I laughed my butt off all the way to the park Saturday morning at 3:50AM. Yeah, 350AM. Who gets up that early on a Saturday and not head to the airport to go somewhere fabulous? We were out there running at 430 and I watched the moon set and the sun rise.

    Can't say I will miss those early morning runs, but I am looking forward to RnR SA too (maybe we will see each other) as well as the Keep on Truckin at Brazos Bend. Who am I? I swore I would never run further than a 10K! HAHA.

    Great post! Eat Run Sleep Repeat

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    1. Love a kindred spirit...and the moon set/sun rise? Yep. Pretty incredible to witness that on a regular basis!

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  10. I get this. With biking for me. Crazy long mileage, tired legs, road rash with spills off the bike, thighs burning and screaming climbing hills, griping about riding in the wind, dealing with cars. Yeah - I love it! :D We are all craaaazy!

    You are an awesome runner!

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  11. And that is why I run with you. Attitude baby...attitude!

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  12. I totally get it!! And ask the same question many times!!!

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  13. Great post. Worth a re-read to help me articulate why I'm running and biking these days. You go girl!

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  14. LOVE THIS!! You wrote exactly what I have thought throughout my training... except.. you did it better by elegantly wrapping up all those fragmented thoughts in one post with a beautiful bow on top!

    I will also be running the HM in San Antonio in a few weeks. GOOD LUCK to you!

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