Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Why Do I Run?

My ten, almost 11!, year old, Iris, has been more interested in my running lately. She asks about my runs and other workouts and seems genuinely interested/impressed and understands the magnitude of the distances I take on. Obviously that is flattering, but what I most want is to help instill her in the idea of it's possible.

She has also been reading The Oatmeal comics recently and I handed her the copy of The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances that I had recently checked out from the library. She loved it. She finished the whole thing and then turned to me and said, "mommy, why do you run?"

I looked at her and didn't really have an answer more poignant other than, "well, because I like to?" It wasn't enough, not NEARLY enough, but in the moment I couldn't think of much else. I did explain how running was just one of many, many ways to be fit and healthy, I just happen to enjoy running the most.

Last Wednesday I dragged myself out the door for my first post-26.2 run. I had no idea how it would go and was a little nervous. The plan was a slow walk/jog for 3-4 miles and then reward myself with a Top Pot doughnut for my efforts.

I did the run (my body felt okay) and got my doughnut (it tasted amazing) and as I sat on Alki beach enjoying the post-run endorphins and sugar high I finally found some words for why I run: 

Because when I finish a run, it is the best I ever feel.

Sometimes that feeling hits me while I am still running, but it always comes at the end of the run.

Maybe that is what the "runner's high" is, but it almost feels more grand than that, because the feeling transforms my entire worldview. Suddenly life is right. I feel good about my body's ability to carry me through long, difficult runs and my body image sky-rockets. And then my love-fest begins to ooze in to other parts of my life: I feel madly in love with everything. Any annoyance about stuff or other people's negative opinions disintegrate in to thin air. When I run, I am fucking awesome and am worthy of everything. 

My daughter has asked to start running with me, and I have no idea if she will take to it, but if she does, I hope she can get a small taste of that feeling. As a pre-teen heading in to middle school I can only imagine how helpful it would be to have an outlet that helps you escape from the negative and helps you feel your very best. I know I would have appreciated that when I was her age. I still appreciate it now. 

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