May 29, 2009
Last Friday I got my new running shoes after running nearly 700 miles with my last pair. I passed the 700th mile this week in a little over a year. I have really turned things on the last few months. In April I ran 90 miles, and this month I will end up finishing over 100.
Why do I do it? I know some people think running 14 miles all at once is a symptom of mental insanity. But I do it for a number of reasons, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
Last year I was wondering exactly what to do with my life. I went to counseling and was on medication for a little while. One suggestion my counselor gave me to help with my mood was to find a way to be more physically active. I have tried to run consistently for years, but I have a bad knee and back, I told her. She recommended I do something else.
Nonetheless, I decided to invest in Nike+. I got some new shoes, and determined I would not train too hard right out of the gate like I had been prone to do in the past. I ran for a few months, then tapered off last fall/winter when I was riding my bike 100 miles a week. Over time I lost 20 pounds.
When I got back to Laramie, I knew I had to stay active so I could stay in the shape I had achieved in Arizona. Last month I ran over 13 miles in one run for the first time. This month I got 7th place in a 5K here in Laramie, finishing the race in 20:02.
There are several reasons why I love to run. The first obviously stems from the fact that I have already accomplished so much, and I want to keep building on those successes.
I run for peace of mind. My depression has literally disappeared as I've kept active. I can also pop on the headphones, and forget about life for a few minutes. I love the way I feel when I've finished a run, especially a tough, lengthy one. Even though it doesn't usually endure, I feel a sort a mental clarity while I run.
I can enjoy fresh air and the beauty of nature.
I run to wear cool headbands and tank tops (even with my skinny chicken-arms).
I run because I can, but also because not everyone that wants to can, and not everyone that can, does. A close friend once opined that he didn't think human beings were meant to run long distances, especially not he nor I. I then saw an ESPN video of a young man born with cerebral palsy who was not even expected to walk in his life. He learned to walk, albeit awkwardly, and he learned he loved golf, and learned to play despite his handicap. He ended up walking miles and miles of golf course over the course of a full PGA season - he walked every hole of every tournament.
If a guy who wasn't meant to even walk could do that, I can at least run a marathon or two if I work hard enough. So I will keep running, because I want to.
One final admission: I really do not think I have the appearance of a person you might stereotypically think of as a runner - boney thin, with no fat tissue whatsoever. However, I felt proud today when I was about to get a huge needle stuck into my vein to give plasma. The phlebotomist commented on my giant veins and queried, "Are you a runner or something?"
To which I unhesitatingly responded, "Yes I am."