I love to run. But lately, I’ve been doubting myself. Doubting how much I actually like to run. Maybe it’s the cold– I hate the cold. But I don’t like being a “fair-weather fan.” If I like to run, I should always like to run. (0 degree temperatures not included.)
This past week was very cold in Paris. It could have rivaled Clinton, NY, which is really saying something. It was impossible to walk outside and not get a headache immediately, or to even feel your fingers after 3 minutes– even if they were in very warm gloves.
So why on earth would I want to run in weather like this? I told myself that if I had a treadmill, I would run. But I didn’t have a treadmill. So I didn’t run. I got out, twice. But since I’m training for the Paris Semi-Marathon on March 4th, two runs a week doesn’t really cut it. Luckily, it was a taper week and I didn’t have to run as much as I thought I did, but still– I definitely slacked off. And I suffered a real identity crisis. I consider myself a runner. So… why do I not want to run?
Obviously, all runners have problems getting out the door. It’s one thing to think about going for a run, it’s another thing to change clothes (in a freezing house) and brave the freezing temperatures outside. But after I finally got myself out the door and did only half the mileage that I was intending to do, I knew I had to do some thinking. About myself, and about what I love to do: run.
This post is more for me than it is anyone else. But I had to get my thoughts out somewhere, and considering I have a blog, this seemed one of the better mediums. I’d also like to add that as I’m writing this, I’m happily awake after getting up at 7:30 and running 4 miles, eating breakfast, and showering. So I’m still on a runner’s high. And I hope that will influence this post in a positive way. Instead of self-doubting some of the things I write, I’ll have more conclusive answers– because after my run this morning, I know why I like to run. I guess I just had a hard time remembering. Probably from the cold.
1. Endorphins. I often get this word confused with Euphoria; I think that’s a good sign. There’s nothing better than finishing a run (that maybe you didn’t think you’d finish) and feeling this surge of happiness pumping through your veins.
2. The more you run, the better you’ll be. It’s directly proportional. And it will always be true. It’s a constant fact. If I feel like I’m having a hard time running, I start off slow… but I know that by that even by the end of that run, if not by the following week, I’ll feel more comfortable.
3. Pushing yourself. Surprising yourself with your ability. I used to run cross-country for the my last two years of high school, and there was nothing I loved more than races. I was always nervous beforehand (who wasn’t?) but during the race, the drive would kick in and I’d push myself more than I knew I was physically able.
4. Seeing people cheer you on along the race route– and at the finish line. No matter your running speed or experience, it always makes a difference knowing that you have people you love cheering you on and supporting you throughout the race– even if you don’t see them, you know they’re there!
(post-race brunch with southern cousins! couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate.)
5. Because I can. I know only too well what it’s like to not be able to run. After running the half-marathon in 2010, I developed a really bad knee problem after a killer session with my mom’s trainer. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life… but I couldn’t run more than one mile before I started to feel a slight pinching in my knee cap; in the next half mile, the pain would become unbearable. And this kept happening, like clockwork. I managed to heal whatever was going on with my knee with some help from an orthopedic doctor, but the sensation comes back every now and then. Still, I’m able to run so much more now, and I’m not going to make up stupid excuses for not running when I’m finally able to.
6. Because there are so many people that can’t. By that, I mean there are many who are physically unable to run; by running, it’s like I’m vowing to not take my legs for granted. If I’m able to use them, I can’t take that gift for granted.
I’m glad I wrote this post, because I’ve been making more of an effort to run lately (since 3 days ago when I started drafting this up). And everytime I run, it seems, I think of another reason that I’m glad I’m out in the freezing cold, running. So thanks for letting me get my thoughts out there, as I think sometimes that’s the whole point of blogging– not sharing our thoughts for other people, but for ourselves.