Why Do I Run?

I’m really surprised when people I meet are astonished about my running routine. “Wow you get up and run BEFORE work?!”  I’d feel guilty and lazy about it if I didn’t. I can’t figure out what they do with the time they are not running.

Let’s back up a bit…

I started running when I was about 15. It was Joan Benoit Samuelson’s fault. I remember being inspired to tears by watching her run and and win the first Women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984 (how preposterous is it that it was only in 1984 that women were allowed to run the Olympic Marathon…but I digress…). I started running on the cross-country team in high school. Looking back I realize I had much more talent for track – I regularly beat even the older boys in sprints but our not too attentive coaches never seemed to notice. Being a high school girl with low self esteem I thought that there must be some reason they didn’t ask me to run track. Well, you can’t go back.

My best running partner would join the cross-country team for workouts at times. His name was Fred. He was exceedingly handsome with golden brown eyes, floppy ears and a short stubby tail. Yep, he wasn’t in my homeroom class and he didn’t take me to prom, although he would’ve been a better date in hindsight. I doubt that with all of the silly rules and regulations that abound in schools they would’ve allowed this sort of co-training of species anymore. I’m so glad I grew up in a simpler time!

I didn’t participate in college sports, I was too busy trying to rush through college and finish. I did accomplish that in 3.5 years, but I missed out on a lot of college hi-jinx and fun. I did run a few local races though. My best was a 17:06 5k.

In my early adult years I raced and had many running friends. Obviously running was pretty well ingrained and it was something that I just couldn’t quit. Plus I might get fat or something! Probably as soon as I’d hang up my shoes. Seriously, I was paranoid about that.

The funny thing is I probably really didn’t like racing all that much. But I liked running. I did put a lot of pressure on myself.

When I was busy putting a lot of pressure on myself to attain the 2:45 Olympic Trials standard in the marathon, I had a bad downhill mountain biking accident. It left me with some strange soft tissue injuries that caused painful cramping when I tried to run. Ironically, I started cycling more. I was actually a more talented cyclist and ended up competing in cycling for a few years.

I still ran though, once my injuries healed.

This combo lead to triathlon. But I couldn’t swim. I learned to swim! I even became a pretty good swimmer! (I swam through my two pregnancies).

I still ran though. And running was good. Until I tripped and fell on a trail while training for Donner Lake Tri. I badly broke my right leg. I thought I might not be able to run again.

I was afraid to run again! But my man pushed me out of the door once I had healed knowing what was good for me. I was afraid of curbs. Literally. I’d stop to step up on over them.

But eventually I got over it. I still don’t feel the way I did before the accident, even today. But I still kept running.

I had to prove that this leg could handle it. So I trained for and completed an Ultra. The leg held up.

And I’m still running. And I’m going to do more ultras! And have fun.

I don’t really know why I run, I just don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t run.


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