Okay, so someone recently mentioned that running was a form a torture. Therefore, why would I torture myself? Hmmm, that is a good question. I guess the easiest way to answer that question is to say that I don’t consider it torture. Yeah, sometimes I test my limits, but I still keep coming back for more. If you ask me, I think that I could torture myself in worse ways. I could sit in traffic for hours during a long commute to work or I could jump out of an airplane with nothing but a piece of fabric to bring me safely to the ground, or better yet, I could stay inside all day with my three girls (okay, okay… I love them very much, but parenting isn’t ALL fun and games :).
No, running is actually the opposite of torture for me. It is like going to a tropical island and sitting on the beach drinking mai tai’s with no one else in sight. Seriously, it is pretty much a vacation for me. I did just mention that I have three kids! It is one of my few escapes from reality. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself and I have the freedom to go where I want to go (well, except for when I have to succumb to the dreaded treadmill). Not only do I run to escape, but I run to feel good about myself in health and mind. Surprisingly, I have more energy on the days when I run and I just feel that sense of accomplishment when I finish a really great run. Running has just become a part of who I am.
Everyone has their reasons as to why they choose to run. Some people start running to lose weight. I have to say that it worked for me after all three of my pregnancies! Running burns twice as many calories than walking the same distance (actually, it burns more calories than most other activities, especially when you get into that interval training). Some people just have a goal in mind, like finishing a half-marathon or a full marathon (maybe it is on their bucket list) and they train to finish. Those goal-oriented runners may stop running when they have reached their goal or they may continue setting new goals (totally happened to me). I think that running can actually become very addicting. Hey, at least it is a healthy addiction (smokers tend to have issues running… something about not being able to breathe). Running is something that you can take with you far into your later years. You gotta love it when the really old couple passes you at mile 18.
Running is a great way to make friends. During most of your runs, you should be able to sustain a decent conversation with someone who is running close to your own pace. It is easier to run when time seems to fly by as you discuss your aches and pains, recent running gear purchases and upcoming races. This naturally creates more happiness in your life and can bring you from a low to a high. The other great thing about running is that there are so many events centered around the activity. Just in Jacksonville, for example, there are races nearly every weekend. Sure, it can get spendy, but at least you can choose a few great races each year. It also gives you an excuse to travel to new locations. And can you believe that they now offer running races on certain cruise lines? I was just excited to have the opportunity to run through Disney World before the park actually opened to the general public… and we even went backstage :).
Sure, some people just don’t like to run. I just hope that they at least gave it a good try before they came to that conclusion. You really need to do it for 6 weeks, 3 times a week, before you can say that you don’t like it. However, I will say that I don’t like jumping out of an airplane before I actually try it because I will never bring myself on to an airplane with only a parachute strapped to my back. No thank you.