The Case For Running

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”.

I “just run”…and do yoga.

I “just run”…and spin.

I “just run”…and hit the gym.

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.

(Image courtesy of NIKE)

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.

Ta-da!

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.

Did you ever see someone so happy to have just finished a run? I was so proud of Rosebud on her 1st run!

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.

Me & Rosebud. In it to win it. Well, maybe not WIN but, you know, 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!

Don’t Think, Just Do It

Hey there, everybody. I really have to get back to studying and I’d like to squeeze in a run before I do that, so it’s going to be a short post today. Big exam tomorrow.

Here’s a little inspiration for you to take with you on your run. Inspiration is what takes you those last couple of miles, minutes, sets, reps. Keep your inspiration handy when you want to give up on yourself. Everything you need is already inside.

Oh, and if you think your workout is tough, check out Molly. If this video doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you should check your pulse, friend.

Now that you’ve got your inspiration, go out and run!

I Am An Athlete

Athlete /ˈaTHlēt/: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.

It takes courage to shout out loud, “I am an ATHLETE!” Each person has his/her own vision of what an athlete is, what they look like, how they train, what they eat, blah, blah, blah, and so it’s intimidating for people to make this statement with confidence. Other people might tell you you’re not. You know what? Forget them.

You are an athlete. Period. End of story. You know why? Because you’re committed to and train for your sport of choice. It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to compete to be an athlete. You don’t have to win money or have endorsements to be an athlete. You don’t have to look like Gabrielle Reese (!) or David Beckham to be an athlete. You don’t even have to win to be an athlete.

But you do have to train. And part of that training is mental training. You have to believe you can do it. There was a great Nike ad years ago that I cut out of a magazine (probably Runner’s World) that was titled, “In My Mind, I Am A Kenyan” and one of the lines went like this, “The Kenyans believe they will win sure as the sun will shine” it goes on to say (I’m paraphrasing) that in order to beat them, you could match their training, but you’d have to also match their faith in themselves. You could train all day long, but if you show up at a race with a negative attitude, you’re not fully prepared for that race.

Start now. Think “I am an athlete” and treat yourself as such. Respect yourself as an athlete. Respect your training and your coaches as an athlete should. Respect the sport and your personal limitations as every athlete must. But above all, be proud to call yourself an athlete. You’ve worked hard for that title. NEVER let anyone take it away from you. Your medal for coming in 22, 789th in the NYC marathon is the same as the person who placed 33rd and you worked just as hard, if not harder, to get there.

So next time you go to label yourself someone who simply “works out” or “runs”, go ahead and say instead, “I’m an athlete.” Own it. Believe it.

Now go out and run, you ATLETE!