What I Enjoy About Running (Hint – it’s not the running)   14 comments

Just over three weeks ago, I started running three times a week.  This may not be remarkable except for one fact – I hate running.  I have never, ever, for one minute thought it sounded fun to pound my legs down a road or trail.

I do not look this graceful when I run, but I do wear a similar maniacal expression . . . mine's from pain but not bliss as his is, I think.

But I do it because it’s good for me – my metabolism needs it (see Shelva’s post on resting metabolic rate for a funny take on this); my heart needs it; and most of all, my thighs need it . . . or more specifically, I need less of my thighs.

When I started, I could barely run for three minutes without feeling like it was possible I would invert the universe by sucking in air so hard.  This morning, when I hit the road before the fog had even burned off the fields, I ran for over 10 minutes and could have gone further if I had just forced myself (my thighs didn’t feel like being forced today).Progress feels good.

I still don’t like running.  I’m not sure I ever will (when does one hit that “zone” runners talk about? Could it be that I’m one minute away from that bliss? I doubt it.). I do enjoy having run though.

I enjoy the feeling that I have accomplished something physical first thing in the morning. I enjoy the energy I feel myself building. I especially enjoy the extra 400-500 calories I get to shove in my face each day.  (Tonight’s running treat, pumpkin custard from The Fork Union Village Restaurant) .

But mostly, I enjoy the fact that even at age 36, when it would be quite reasonable to settle into the pattern that has made up most of my life – i.e. not running – I chose not to.  Time to do something different.  Even if it hurts.

Here’s to running and pumpkin custard.

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14 responses to “What I Enjoy About Running (Hint – it’s not the running)

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  1. I’ve been mixing a little running in with my daily power walking, and I actually enjoy it. It’s something that’s definitely outside of my comfort zone, but it feels good to make that extra effort and find myself getting a bit stronger each time I do it.

    The best part is that now I can indulge in a pastry at the coffee shop on occasion without worrying about it!

  2. Ha! Love this so much for so many reasons. Love that you are challenging yourself. Love that you have a sense of humor about it. Love that at 36 (ran my first half marathon at 40), you’re finding new ways to “do” life. Also, I think I might love pumpkin custard. Keep going. You might love it one day!

    • Trust me, you do love pumpkin custard. . . and thanks for the encouragement. I’ll definitely let you know if I come to love the running itself. 🙂

  3. Yeah! I hate running, but love how it gets my mind to work better. Even moreso than my physical body. I have written countless grad school papers, poems, and essays….all in my head as I run. And for this reason alone, I continue too. (Oh, and a dog who guilts me into it doesn’t hurt either!) 😉

    • I hope someday I’ll be able to think something besides – “Man, are my lungs supposed to sound like this?” or “This can’t be good for me.” But I know what you mean, Erin. I get the same benefit from walking.

  4. Ive been running for 4 years now and have never found that zone. I think its an urban legend they tell to gather more runners into their crazy, sadistic club. I, like you though, have found its a lot of how I feel after that keeps me heading back out. That and I too can eat whatever I want on most days and not even think about it.

    • Oh no, Krista. You’ve dashed my hopes for “The zone.” 😉 Actually, it really is about after – I feel the same way about writing, so maybe there’s something to that. Thanks for reading.

  5. It IS cool that we can get out of our ruts at 36. I’m “one of those” I guess, who loves to run, but only after the first mile (or three). I will admit, I don’t do well without endorphins in my life. I think its important to do what you are doing…set goals for YOU and don’t worry about what’s going on around you. Stick with it, through the pain and agony, and one day you’ll wake up and LOOK FORWARD to your run, and then you’ll know. 🙂 Progress will happen! Yay for 36! Thanks for inspiring us that’s its not too late to start it….whatever “it” is.

  6. What a great post – Love it!!

    As for when runners hit that zone … like you, I enjoyed having run long before I enjoyed running. The first time I started running (age 28, after giving birth to 3 boys in less than 5 years) it took me at least 6 months to enjoy (and I use enjoy loosely) the actual running, so give yourself time.
    The second time I started running (age 42, after almost losing my leg and almost dying in an accident) I enjoyed the fact that I was able to run again from the first step … but it probably took close to a year before I could say I enjoyed running again. I’m back to running 3 years now and this past Saturday I did a 12K (7.45 miles) and while some of it was hard work (darn hills!) a few miles flew by as I hit some type of this-is-cool zone.
    So run on!

    And now I want some pumpkin custard …

    btw, I love, love this line: “and most of all, my thighs need it . . . or more specifically, I need less of my thighs.”

    • So what you’re saying, Janet, is that I need to run 12 miles before I find the zone? Egads! 🙂 Actually, I do feel it for moments now – I guess – that nice place where I forget what I’m doing. But let’s be clear – by moments I mean a nanosecond. 🙂 Thanks for reading, Janet.

  7. I never thought I’d ever say “I am a runner.” Yet, 3 years and 40 pounds later I find myself doing just that. I still don’t know what “The Zone” is, but I have occasionally gone out for 3 miles and came back after 6. Not sure if that counts or not. Or, perhaps The Zone is that moment when you realize that you can consistently outrun your dog? EIther way, it feels so much better than being out of breath after a flight of stairs.

    • Does keeping up with your dog count? Does it count if he’s twelve and has really bad arthritis? Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll keep at it. . . . at least that’s plan.

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