The question was (and I'm paraphrasing here):
"I don't understand running - it's hard, it hurts and it's boring. Why do you run?"
At first I puffed up my chest to say "Well, well, because. . .it's because. . . I mean, uh. . . " In my quick attempt to defend my new found hobby, I had to stop myself and really reflect on WHY I run.
I think that most people run for some similar reasons, but the individual drivers or motivations may be very different. I'm going to share some of mine - and I'd love to hear about yours (or, if you're so inclined, why you DISLIKE it so much).
- I started running originally (on my first Couch-to-5K attempt in 2004) as a means to an end. To lose weight. I had just become serious about losing weight and signed up for the Indianapolis OneAmerica Mini Marathon. I quickly lost about 30 lbs and *BOOM* got pregnant with my oldest daughter. I did not do the race that year.
- I re-started running in January 2009 to work on losing the rest of the weight I had gained with my first pregnancy (which was WAY too much!). I lost 26 lbs (still had 15 "baby" lbs to go after that) and *WHAM* pregnant again.
- At 7 months pg with my 2nd daughter- I agreed to run the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay in June 2010 and I mapped out my training schedule to begin on January 4, 2010 (6 weeks after giving birth).
- With this pregnancy, I gained a good amount of weight- but not nearly as much as the first and that was very helpful in the end! About 2 months after I had my youngest, the pregnancy weight was gone- still had 15 lbs to get to pre-kids weight.
- I started with the Couch-to-5K program again. Keep in mind - I was very heavy, had adult-onset asthma and a newborn and a 3 yr old at home. But I didn't make it an option to quit.
- I kept up with my training and though I didn't run the full mileage of my 3 legs in Utah, I ran more than I really would have expected.
I know that's a lot of background for the meat of this. . . .but. . . .I run:
- to strengthen my heart
- to lose weight
- to chase my kids better
- to improve my lung function (I hardly, if ever, use an inhaler anymore, just a daily Singulair)
- to compliment my strength training
- to prove to myself that I CAN run, when I always told myself "I CAN'T"
- to be an example to my kids that running is good
- to strengthen my bones and fight off osteoporosis (did you know that the 'jarring' of the bones stimulates the marrow and in turn causes the bones to get stronger?)
- to feel the wind and sun on my face (or the rain, or the snow- it all has it's place)
- to be the exception to the rule (nobody expects the "big girl" to really run - I've always liked to prove people wrong)
- to meet new people (through running clubs or races)
There are lots of other reasons- but I want to see what else others add. . .(and please do add- whether you read this the day it was posted or years from now- SHARE!)
Yes, it hurt when I started. Yes, I got shin splints and hip pain and back pain and chafing. But I climb stairs without huffing/puffing, I stand up straighter, I walk proudly - RUNNING has brought this out of me.
Yes- it can be accomplished through other forms of exercise- but running is the catalyst for me opening my mind to other forms and for rediscovering things (i.e. swimming) I forgot how much I loved.
That's why I run.