Why do I run?

Recently a friend recommended The Complete Book of Running by James Fixx. It’s over 20 years old but the fact and advice are still solid. And the description of society’s health and nutrition state is sadly still accurate. I’m not sure we’ve learned much in the years since he wrote this book.

I did find the book encouraging as he described some of the same struggles and blahs I have, while reiterating the positives that got me out there. I’ve had a very good few months of running and that has lead me to revisit why I run. I have had a classmate and pastor mention they run to lose weight and I pass that fact on to my husband who has some pounds to lose. While I wouldn’t mind weighing just a few pounds lighter, I don’t run to lose weight. (Which is good because I haven’t lost weight with all my running.)

I’ve heard some people comment that running or working out is just too much work and if they can watch what they eat and stay trim, they prefer to do it that way. But again, while watching what you eat and having a reasonable weight is all good, that isn’t really the only reason to run.

As I stated a year ago, I started running because my cholesterol got over the acceptable limit. Exercise, and some strenuous movement are know to be good for reducing cholesterol. I, of course, have also modified my diet to add more good things and remove more bad things. But this is about exercise. 🙂

Over the years I have watched the old women on the streets of Brooklyn hunched over and shuffling down the sidewalk, I’ve seen friends and family reach the age where their excess weight and/or lack of exercise caught up with them – the strength fails, the legs and lungs give up, and moving around gets much harder. I am rational enough to know that there are things I should be doing now to combat that. And at the age of 40, time is running out to get started and build a foundation.

One year ago today I went out for my first run/walk. I covered 1.9 miles in 27 minutes (that’s about a 14 minute mile). It wasn’t my first walk or even my first attempt at running, but it was the start of a new commitment. Today I ran 5.3 miles in 60 minutes (that’s about an 11 min mile). It isn’t all about the distance and it doesn’t have to be an hour, but it’s been fun to push my limits a bit to see what I’m actually capable of. I’m most proud of the consistency as I have run almost every week, usually 2 or 3 times a week.

We have also started a second round of P90X, doing the strength training workouts mainly. It took us a week to get back into the rhythm, that month off really made more of a difference than I expected, but we are still further along than when we first started it in January.

I’m running for my health, for the discipline, for the sense of accomplishment. I’m running because I can.

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