Oh, running, how do I love thee? Well … except for when the alarm goes off at five in the morning while I’m cozy in bed and when it’s freezing outside, (which is, by my definition, temps under 40 degrees,) but for the most part, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
Six ways, to be exact. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, there’s gonna be a whole lotta run loving out there today, since this is today’s Tuesdays on the Run blog link-up, hosted by My No Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs.
1.) Rule #1: Cardio
The movie Zombieland quite explicitly showed why good cardiovascular fitness is crucial during a zombie apocalypse and running is one of the best cardio workouts out there. So I did have moments of concerns while injured last year. What if I ended up like this poor guy?
Although I’m sure my fellow Joyful Milers wouldn’t have left me behind.
Um … right, guys?
2.) You are your own transportation
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, what fascinates me the most about running is the concept of being your own transportation, relying on nothing more than your own two feet and the desire to keep them moving. I remember being so astonished and proud the very first time I ran a mile. To me, that was MAJOR, and something I never thought was possible. And the very first time I was actually able to finish a 5k after years of failed attempts?
Wow. It just felt amazing.
And come on. Have you ever finished a long run … like, say, ten miles … and then later drove that same distance and thought, “Damn. I can run that!”
3.) Sweaty clothes are awesome.
Maybe this is just my inner sicko talking, but I find it incredibly gratifying to have a hamper full of sweaty, stinky clothes. And I love it even more after those clothes are washed and hanging to dry in my closet like a row of soldiers ready to be put back to work.
3.) A Definite Finish Line
So you make a goal to finish a race. Doesn’t matter what length, but in the spirit of dreaming big, let’s go with a marathon.
You sign up for a marathon.
You select a training plan, buy new running shoes, and invest in a quality sports bra rather than sticking with your old stretched Wal-Mart cheapie.
Then you train. You get up early to run. You cross train. Make healthier eating choices. Research nutritional gels. Skip those Saturday night beers because of your Sunday morning long runs. All this because you are working hard toward a goal.
Then on race day, you power through all 26.2 miles and approach what you’ve been working for … the finish line, a definitive mark that you KICKED BUTT and achieved your goal. And for the next couple of weeks, you feel fantastic, as though you can achieve anything and cross even more finish lines.
This is why I love racing. Because you have a definite conclusion to a goal in the form of a finish line.
And once you cross that finish line, it shows you that you are capable of more finish lines in all aspects of your life!
4.) The Bling
Yeah. Okay, I’ll admit it.
I like big bling and I cannot lie. You other runners can’t deny. That when you finish a race at a PR pace and a medal is in your face, forget you’re sore, wanna get some more…
So yes. I love bling. I’ve actually been chastised for this in the past by someone who believed people shouldn’t run just for medals. Back then, my response was a big whatever, but I’ll explain why here.
See, as a child and teen, I was a very accomplished equestrian with many trophies and awards. Then my parents divorced and my mom left, taking my desire to compete with her. In my early twenties, I was a die-hard party girl only interested in where the best happy hour deals were. Then at twenty-six, I was married with two baby boys and for the next twenty years, my priority was taking care of my family and hauling kids to sporting events, helping them accumulate their own collection of trophies and awards.
I do not regret those twenty years. Not for one single second. Still, during that time, I grew despondent to my own past awards. Ashamed, even, because they represented what I once was and will never be again: Accomplished.
After my boys graduated high school and I finished my first half marathon, earning my own award, I realized it wasn’t too late for me. I could still accomplish things. Great things. And seeing my rack full of medals acts as motivation for me to keep pushing, to keep striding for great … which right now, means writing and selling my third novel.
So yeah. I like big bling. But not just because it’s pretty.
Although … come on … prettiness does have a lot to do with it.
I am ashamed, however, over how some of my medals are stacked on a shelf, waiting for me to put up my new extender rack and give them the spotlight they desire. Soon, my pretties, very soon.
5.) Oh, the Places You’ll Go
While Yertle the Turtle was my favorite Doctor Seuss story as a child, Oh, the Places You’ll Go is my favorite as an adult.
And oh, the places you can go as a runner!
Whether it’s local trails in your city you’ve yet to explore or new routes you try while on vacation with no maps, just your own two feet. (And a good GPS to find your way back.) And just think of all the adventures you can have during races in different states or magical places like Disney World and Disneyland!
Which brings me to the biggest reason…
6.) Running Friends are THE BEST!
My life certainly became more interesting and adventurous the day I stumbled upon a running group that had formed off a Disney World chat group. Never before did I ever think I’d be the type of person who would fly to Disney World to hang out with people I had met online and room with complete strangers.
But that’s how Jackey and I met. We had briefly chatted during dinner at the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon. (There’s Shannon, Stephen, and Melanie, too!)
(Later that night, I also discovered Leslie was a kindred spirit from her desire to get character pictures after the half marathon despite the rain and freezing temps. I knew we’d be lifelong friends after that!)
Then a month later, when I was seeking a roommate for the 2015 Goofy Challenge, Jackey was like, “Want to stay with me?” She could have been a complete psycho, but I said yes. That’s because runners are a special breed. We are adventurous and bold, unafraid to take chances and jump in.
Turns out, she is crazy. Which is awesome, because I am, too.
And then there’s Rob, who I first vaguely met in the same Facebook group Jackey and I met through. Both of us were solo on the first night of the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon so we decided to hang out in Magic Kingdom. Once he agreed to do a princess wave on Splash Mountain, I knew he was a keeper!
(I bet he just loves it when I share that story!!)
Now. What about you?
QOTD: Why do you love to fun? What are your favorite things about running or racing? Please let me know in the comments below!
And as always, take care, have a joyful day, and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!