Can I get something off my chest?
I AM SICK AND FREAKING TIRED OF PEOPLE POO-POOING RUNNING!
What is more natural than putting two feet in front of you and running? It’s the only thing we, as humans, do (besides walking) that our bodies just DO.
Why does it threaten so many people that we “just run”? Forget that most of us do considerably more than “just running”.
Oh yeah, we’re “just runners” alright. None of us do anything else. (snort)
Forget about how much we all love to “just run”. Forget that we have checked a box on our Bucket List Lifetime Goals by “just running” a race of some distance. No, no, please. Keep belittling me if that makes you feel better.
But why do you do it? Because you can’t fathom running a marathon yourself? Because your body hurts when you run? Because you had a bad experience running in gym class? Because you can’t run a mile? Because you want to feel superior to other athletes?
Right. Keep on putting down my sport to validate yours. Whatever.
Let’s look at the science, shall we? A 21 year-long study of 1,000 healthy (non-arthritic) runners and non-runners done by Stanford University showed no difference between the knee joints of the two groups. Additionally, the study showed NO DIFFERENCE in the joints of people who ran 200 miles a year and people who ran 2,000 miles a year.
But let’s not fight. It really comes down to this for me: recently, someone asked me what I got out of running. I smiled and nearly cried.
You see, aside from remaining at a healthy weight all my life, maintaining excellent resting heart rate and low blood pressure, having stellar bone density, and being generally more fit than the majority of the population, the benefits of running are more unseen than seen.
I have solid self-esteem, which is hard to come by as a woman at any age. As a young person, I avoided many of the pitfalls of body dysmorphic disorder by running and staying active. I was a runner long before it was “cool” to run.
I am proud of the way that my body looks but even more so by the way it performs. 22 years. No (serious or overuse) injuries. 10 marathons. Not one DNF.
It’s something I can always come back to, no matter what. One very major surgery. Minus one major organ. And a marathon 5 months later that I will finish.
Through the death of friends in high school and family as we got older, I ran through the heartache. Through JB’s year-long deployment to Iraq and the bitter battle with cancer that too many of my family members have fought, I ran to find the strength to carry on. Through my own illness, the nightmare of being sick and disabled and having no control over my body, I ran to feel hope for the future.
Of all the things running has taught me, the most important lesson I have learned that I carry in my heart day after day is this:
If I just keep going, I will get to the finish line eventually.
So, yeah. Running is my sport.
Now go out and run!