Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Run, Therefore I Am (not a runner)

My love/hate relationship with exercise is not uncommon to most women. I hate to do it, but I love how I feel afterward. And for me personally, running is the best bang for my buck. It is the only exercise where I feel I exude the most effort in the shortest period of time. It also provides mental clarity and forces me out into fresh open air. However, throughout my long (break-up and get back together again) relationship with running I have come to realize a few things.

There are runners and there are people who run. It is kind of like there are people who sing and there are singers. These are two totally different skill sets. I can sing (very off key and pitchy) but I am not a singer; and the same goes for running. I can run (I have done two half marathons) but I would never say I was a runner. Runners are a certain breed; running is as natural to them as say, breathing. They have a friendship with running, they speak its language. True runners rarely speak negatively of their sport, instead they honor it, displaying 26.2 bumper stickers on their cars and gather in large groups in the wee hours of the morning in 20 degree weather to run. The real runners will be able to spot me a mile away. I am the one with ipod blasting so loud I cannot hear myself gasping for air and my lips mouthing curse words as I try and tackle the last hill to get to my street. They smile and wave in their reflective Nike running apparel and $200 running shoes as they float effortlessly down the road. I am still in the sweat pants that I slept in and the tread is completely gone from the bottom of my 3 year old sneakers, but they are comfortable. 

I am envious of these people and this strange cult like phenomenon. I have a friend who has run every day for over 30 years and she will never call herself a runner, because she hates running. She says it keeps her weight steady and her mind somewhat free of clutter, but she curses each day she ties up her laces. I am also sailing on that boat. Running to me is yet another chore on the endless laundry list of to-dos and usually it is the last thing on the list and the first thing I decide to push until tomorrow. However, not unlike the dishes, if you don't do them, they pile up. If I don't run, my butt and my mind get heavy. Maybe I need to change my relationship with running; maybe it needs to come off of my chore list and onto my gratitude list. Instead of feeling resentment that I have to do it, feeling grateful that I am able to run and that it keeps me healthy. I still do not envision myself ever crossing the finish line to be entrusted with the title of "a runner". And you know what? This is totally okay with me. I run for me, not for the glory of being labeled a runner. 

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." ~John Bingham from No Need for Speed: A Beginners Guide to the Joy of Running (I may have to check that book out of the library!)

Love & Light,

Here are some photos from the weekend.

The boys had a few friends over this weekend.

Almost 70 degrees in January calls for popsicles and bare feet. 

And these three boys (above), were once these three boys (below).

And these two sweet babies (below),

Are now these two best friends.

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