Thursday, February 21, 2008

Excellent!

How did I end up here?! It's always been hard for me to just go for a run. I remember getting ready for lacrosse season in high school. About a week or two before try-outs were starting, I'd suddenly wake up and realize that I needed to get myself into shape. So I'd drag myself out to jog through the crazy maze of roads around my house in our tree-filled Boston suburb. It was torture. I hated it. For most of my 27 years of life, I have wondered how anyone could really think running was fun. Fun?! Are you kidding me?

The truth is... I actually always thought runners were cool. I had friends on the track and cross country teams. And sometimes we had lacrosse practice on the football field while they practiced on the track around us. There was something about the people on the track team... mellow, laid back, generally friendly and smart. I guess it's no surprise that I ended up marrying a runner. And as I've skimmed through his Runner's World magazines and snapped photos as he finished many a race over the last 6+ years, my feelings haven't changed. I still think runners are so cool. I still have the same awe and respect for the drive and passion coupled with mellow kindness I see in these dedicated athletes. Deep down, even though I found running to be torturous, I actually really wished I could be a runner.

Even so, I've made all the excuses over the years. I have weak ankles. I don't want to get up that early. It's too late. I don't want to go by myself. I'm pregnant. It's too hard with kids. I'm just not a runner. My body wasn't made for running. And on and on. Why did I keep making excuses to NOT do something that I deep down really wished I could love doing?

A few weeks ago I realized that I was ready to stop the excuses. I realized that it was silly of me to be a "health-nut" in every other area of my life and not THIS one. We all know that exercise is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our health. I absolutely knew that. But it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I decided once and for all that I cared enough about my body and my health to decide that I wanted to get regular exercise.

So, no more excuses. Instead I'd like to give you a list of reasons why I love (or will grow to love) ;-) running...

1) Prevention! I loved reading not long ago in one of the Runner's World "Peak Performance" updates that exercise lowers risk for 25 chronic diseases. I know Reid's going to live a healthy long life because he's always going to be active. I want to enjoy that long life right along with him.

2) Happiness! Studies have shown exercise to be just as effective as anti-depressants. Who doesn't want more happiness in their life?!

3) Friendship! I've loved getting to know my lady running partners better as we've been running the past couple of weeks. I knew very little about them before, but now I'm happy to consider them my friends! I love the chats we have as we run in the early morning together.

4) Energy! I notice a huge difference on the days I've been running. I expected running to sap my energy levels, but it does the opposite. I feel invigorated, pumped up, and MORE energetic those days. I love that feeling!

5) Nature! Our runs mostly ramble through trails in our housing development, so there's not much nature there, but we get to see the most beautiful pink and orange sunrises. I'd never seen an AZ sunrise before this past week. It's definitely worth rising early for that!

6) Excellence! I remember taking a Philosophy class in h.s. and discussing the idea of pursuing "excellence." Aristotle said, "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." I think he was referring mostly to moral and ethical behavior, but I think his point applies here too. It takes self-mastery, dedication, and effort to be a runner. Seeing myself make running into a habit is enormously fulfilling. I feel as though I am pursuing excellence. And how can that not feel good?

I never thought I'd say it, but I'm a runner. I'm a real live runner. Cool.

4 comments:

Reid said...

Welcome to the world of running, Lani! You are going to make a great runner! You already sound dedicated and motivated. I can't wait to see you progress as you make running a habit.

Doug said...

You sound hooked already. Welcome aboard!

By the way, once you get on, theres no getting off!

Fig said...

Erm, I would like to say, actually, that there IS getting off once you're on. I was a dedicated five-miles-a-day girl for about a year, and then I dropped off the face of the running earth forever. Or, until now, when I decided I should try it again.

So, don't let your guard down. :-)

Shilingi-Moja said...

Enjoyed the post. I was in a similar situation almost 5 years ago. I had run off and on for 30 years since high school -- wanted to be a runner but would run for several weeks or months and then quit for a few years. At 49 when my weight crept up to the point where the BMI scale screamed "OBESE", I like neither the sound of that word nor the way it looked in a mirror. It took me a year of almost sheer will power but I suddenly realized that I actually liked the running and not just the results. Now, almost 5 years and 5500 miles later, I'm hooked (OK, my wife says obsesed.

You can fall off the wagon but I think the longer you keep at it, the less likely you are to fall off.

Bob