Why I Run?
This is a great question, one I’ve been asked a lot through the years. It always blind sides me: Why do I run? Well, I am
definitely an addict. That’s probably the main reason, but there are a few others:
- This is probably going to seem silly, but I had a dog Scotty, who was my companion when I first started running. He was a 95 pound golden retriever. Just try to leave for the run without him. Just try. When he was younger, he ran 35 miles of my week with me. He lived to be 16 (that’s 119 in dog years!), and he could still run 6 miles at 12 years old (84 in DY’s!), and 2 miles when he was 14 (98 in DY’s), although slow. I always thought that it was the running that gave him such a long, active life. I want to be like Scotty, live a long, active life. If you go to a race, you’ll be amazed at how fast older runners can run with good spirits–having something healthy to do in your older years will ward off illness and keep you young. My dad is 69 (that’s 69!), and he still runs, participates in road races, and plays tennis.
- I don’t think there is anything better than the end of a tough run, as you know it was a hard effort, yet it wasn’t quite as tough as you thought it would be. It gives you a certain strength and a great sense of accomplishment.
- It changes you. As a child/teenager with bad legs, I was told I would not be athletic. However, in my 20s, I grew antsy (and chubby) being inactive; I felt I needed to do something. I tried the stationery bike, but I was still antsy (and chubby). My father was a runner who had unsuccessfully attempted to get us involved, so I started to run–1 mile every day.
Soon my father convinced me to sign up for a half marathon. I still don’t know why I did, but I’m glad I took on the challenge, because I became hooked. I was sooo scared at the start, would my legs hold up? Would I be doing irreparable damage? Yet, 18 years later, I can still remember how incredible I felt when I finished (and beat my dad–gasp!). I didn’t think there was anything I couldn’t do (except a marathon–that devil took another 12 years to overcome!) Running changed me, it changed the direction of my life, it’s added not just years to it, but good, healthy, quality years. I don’t know what made me lace up my shoes that first time, but I still remember jumping out of bed and feeling I have to go run.
- It’s really is quite wonderful. Liz had it right when she said, “It makes you feel special.” I’m writing this as the snow is coming down, and if you’ve ever run when the snow is coming down, often, you may be the only one out there. You will be overcome by a wonderful, magical feeling. You wonder why are you the only one out here enjoying it? What’s wrong with everyone else? Nothing, you’re just *special*.
- In the beginning, I was a solo runner (except for Scotty) and would read George Sheehan’s articles in RW. He wrote that in his early to middle-aged years, he couldn’t tolerate running with others, but as he had gotten older, he began to look forward to running with others. I never thought I would enjoy running with others, as previous attempts had always ended badly, but I began running with a group whose enthusiasm and love of the sport matches my own, and it’s added so much more enjoyment to my running.
- I love it.