Tagged: healthy-living

Jemez 50K Training, Week 0: New Year, New Goals, New Training Plan

It was a crazy busy week with lots of celebrations:  New Year’s Eve, a brand new year, MY WEDDING, and a return to running after being sick for nine long days. It felt great to finally be able to run again. I missed an entire week of cold, perfect running weather, which was the worst part of being sick — even worse than blowing my nose every two minutes and feeling like I was breathing through a straw. Even better, I returned to the trails after a two week absence. I came up with a new training plan for my next big race, Jemez Mountain Trail Run 50K just outside of Los Alamos, NM at the end of May, and the training won’t officially begin until next week (hence the Week 0 in the title). I’m also running the Cowtown Half Marathon in Ft Worth in February, so I have two great races to look forward to.

Getting married in our living room, surrounded by close friends and family

MON: REST DAY – New Year’s Eve – I love a brand new year. There’s such a feeling of expectancy and renewal. Now that I’ve decided not to run the 50 mile race, I’m excited to start training for Jemez. There’s plenty of time to build back up to the distance and get in great shape for this challenging race. Even though I’m still congested, I’m looking forward to my first run in nine days tomorrow.

TUE: Easy Run – 4 mi, Yoga 20:00 – A chilly, drizzly 42 degrees for a late morning run with Liz, Todd, and their neighbor, John. I was really looking forward to running again after being sick for so long, and my legs and lungs felt surprisingly good. I have to admit that I enjoyed my brief hiatus from running, but I’m even happier to be up and running again. I even loved the cold, drizzly weather. Did some power yoga for the first time in weeks, and my stuffed up head was not happy at all with downward dog pose. I ignored it and kept going. I also realized how much easier yoga is when my legs aren’t sore and stiff from so much running.

WED: Tempo Run4 mi – Had to drag myself out of bed to run all alone in freezing temps. Boo hoo. Of course, it was nevertheless a great run, and I ran the last two miles at an 8:50 and 8:43 pace, which is pretty good considering I’ve only run 4 miles in the past 10 days. I run so much better in the cold weather — and when my legs are fresh.

THU: WEDDING DAY – What a wonderful day! It was amazing. I am so blessed to marry such a wonderful man, and to be able to spend it with so many great friends. It’s going to be a great 2013.

FRI: Rest Day – Exhausted from the wedding. Slept late, and spent the day on the couch reading, watching TV, nodding off, and eating leftovers. It was a a perfect way to celebrate my first day of being married.

SAT: Run – 8 mi –  Cold morning run with the group. Legs felt great, awesome conversations with my friends, and lots of fun at breakfast. I’m so happy to be running again!

Grapevine1-6-13_2

SUN: Trail Run – Grapevine – 10 mi – A beautiful morning for a run. Met Michael S, Jennifer S, Vicki C, Mary Sarah, and Vijay at Grapevine for a great run. I seriously considered sleeping in and being lazy (hey, it was a very busy  week!), but I hate missing a trail run and I hate not keeping my promises. It was worth it. We kept up a pretty good pace and ran up every single hill, and I was glad to be done at the end of 10 miles. It feels so good to be back out on the trails.

Stats for WEEK 0: Run – 26.2 miles, Yoga – 20:00

 

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50 Mile Training, Week 10: A Change of Plans

Plans change. Sometimes we expect it, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the decision is made for us, and sometimes things happen that cause our original intent to merely fizzle out in a rush of an expired oh well . . .

There’s not much point in writing out a day-by-day recap of the week because I was sick and didn’t run a single day this week. No guilt, no regrets. I didn’t do any yoga either. My head felt like it was parked under a car tire this entire week and running and doing downward dog were the last things I felt like doing.

I did, however, enjoy the holiday week. I got to visit with my son and his girlfriend, pigged out on Christmas dinner, and actually enjoyed taking a short break from running.

I had my first White Christmas EVER here in Dallas. EVER.

White Christmas in Dallas, TX 2012

View from my front porch on Christmas Day

Michael and my son, Nicolas,  finished building the fence in the backyard, and Nicolas also built us our very own fire pit. They also spent two full days fixing a plumbing issue. Not so much fun, especially when your house was built in 1926 and the pipes are made of clay. Even worse when the outside temperature barely gets above the mid 40’s.

So while I may have been down for the count, hyped up on Mucinex and taking it easy on the couch, at least the boys were busy.

Fence and fire pit

Our completed fence and new fire pit

I got a lot of knitting done.

But I digress. The subject, after all, is running. Every day since Friday I thought I might feel well enough for a short run, but the congestion in my head and chest were just too bad. My training partner, Hari, also got sick the same day I did, with exactly the same symptoms, even though he was in another state visiting friends for Christmas. Liz is now sick with the same thing. Susan’s hand is in a cast after breaking a finger in her first 54K and needing surgery.

My friends and I are a little beat up at the moment.

And speaking of Hari, this brings me to the change of plans I mentioned earlier. Poor Hari. Feeling sick in Phoenix, he took a hot epsom salt bath, fainted afterwards from low blood pressure, and snapped a rib in half in his back when he hit the edge of the bathtub. Thankfully, he remembers nothing, but the doctor has told him to lay off running for six weeks.

Our 50 mile race is in five weeks. I have no intention of running it without him — I only signed up because he asked me to — so I’ve decided to withdraw and focus on the Jemez 50K at the end of May. I am perfectly okay with this decision. I hadn’t put in enough really long runs before I got sick, and I’m thinking this may give me a chance to shake off the asthma and coughing that have plagued me for the past three months. There will be plenty of other opportunities in the future to train for and run a 50 mile race, if I so choose. At this point, I’m happy to stick to 50K’s for awhile.

So, after a few more days of rest and a new 50K training plan to come up with, which will include lots of squats, lunges, and stair master, I’m looking forward to 2013 and a whole new year of running and training.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Stats for WEEK 10: Run – 0 miles, Yoga – 0:00

 

50 Mile Training, Week 9: A Case of the Blahs

It was a tough week. Coughing and asthma returned for the third time since October, I felt a little burned out from running, and ended the week with a really bad cold. Whine, whine, whine. I still got in three great runs and two great parties this week, though, and that’s more important than feeling sick. Happy Holidays everyone!

MON: Yoga – 20:00 – Woke up at 4:30am thinking of things I need to do this week, but stayed in bed until 8:30. Feeling tired and a little grumpy from last week’s mileage. Did some power yoga (stamina) to try and get back into the routine.

TUE: Tempo Run 6.09 mi, Yoga 20:00 – Nice, cool morning for chasing Liz around the lake. My legs were still a bit sore from last weekend’s mileage, but they loosened up enough to give us negative splits and one sub 9:00 mile. I am still feeling a little burned out on running, and hoping it goes away soon. Next week will be an easy week, so I will keep that in mind as I continue to struggle.

WED: Christmas Lights  Run4 mi – Our third annual Holidayz in the Hood Christmas Lights Run. The past two years we’ve run from our house and had a great turnout both years. Last year we bundled up in gloves, hats, long tights, and double layers; this year we wore tank tops and shorts and pretended it was winter. When we left the house around 7:20pm the temperature was an unbelievable 76 degrees. On December 19! But this IS Texas, and within an hour of finishing the run, while sitting on the front porch eating pizza and drinking beer and visiting with old and new friends, lightning appeared in the west, the rain came down, and a cold front blew in from the north. Gotta love our Texas winters.

WRRC

Good times with good friends, pizza, and beer after our Holidayz in the Hood Christmas Lights Run

THU: Rest Day – After another night of coughing and trying to sleep on the couch so as not to disturb Michael, woke up at 6:15am and decided to cancel my usual weekly 10 mile hill run with Hari. I hate missing any scheduled runs on my training plan, but I just felt like I needed an extra day of rest. Boo to not feeling well.

FRI: Rest Day – After yet another sleepless night of coughing, decided to make another visit to the doctor. Had to sit forever at PrimaCare since my doctor’s office was already closed for the holidays. I actually saw a great doctor at PrimaCare who also happened to be a serious cyclist. He did blood work, said I didn’t have an infection, and that I just have really bad allergies and asthma. He said it’s been a particularly bad allergy season this year since we didn’t get a hard freeze until a few weeks ago, and that there’s really not much I can do other than get another shot of cortisone and another round of Prednisone.

While I’m glad I don’t have an upper respiratory infection, I’m not so happy about the severity of the allergies this year. I’ve never coughed as much in my life as I have these past THREE MONTHS. Talking to a doctor who is also an athlete and could understand my frustration did make me feel a lot better, though. We also had a good discussion about the fact that this is the first fall season I’ve done trail running, which could be resulting in worse allergies due to the simple fact of spending more time outside, and we talked about the possible correlation between higher mileage and a lower resistance to getting sick. Food for thought.

Trying to run through all this coughing and asthma has been a real challenge these past three months. While it certainly adds a physical obstacle to work through, it’s the mental aspect I’m still trying to overcome. I can push through a lot of pain, but THREE MONTHS of this is starting to wear me down mentally.

SAT: Trail Run, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 7.5 mi – A great run with a great group of runners this morning. It was colder than expected (36 deg), especially after Wednesday night’s balmy Christmas Lights Run, but perfect for a trail run. Most of the people had never run the Oak Cliff trails before and were pleasantly surprised at how pretty — and challenging — it was. Decided to run all the loops once like everyone else and stop at 7.5 miles. Even though it was a short run, it was just challenging enough to pack a powerful punch. Afterwards, introduced those who could stay to an Oak Cliff landmark, Norma’s Cafe, for a recovery breakfast. It was a very good start to the day. (Even though I did trip over a root hidden in the leaves and skinned up both knees. I will wear the trail scars with pride underneath my wedding dress next week.).

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Trail Runners

Me and the gang at the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

SUN: Sick – Woke up this morning with a congested head and feeling like I have a really bad cold. Decided to take a day of rest on the couch, watching TV and knitting. My coughing is better, but my head feels like it’s going to explode. A really blah finish to a tough week. I hate being sick. Here’s hoping next week will find me on the road to recovery and back on my feet stronger than ever.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!

Stats for WEEK 9: Run – 17.6 miles, Yoga – 40:00

 

And Here I Thought I Was Saving My Life

Last year, after running my sixth marathon — in Death Valley of all places — my doctor gave me a sobering look during my annual physical and asked how many more marathons I planned on running. I told him maybe a few more and he proceeded to tell me about a study he had recently read that was undertaken by a doctor and his son, both marathon runners. They loved running and wanted to study how running a marathon effected runners’ hearts.

They were surprised by their findings. Apparently, at least in the people they studied, in the days following a marathon the runners’ hearts showed just as much damage as if they had suffered a heart attack. Sobering findings indeed. Even worse, people who had run ten or more marathons showed increased blockage and calcification in their arteries. My doctor, who has known me for 22 years, quietly told me he hoped I wasn’t planning on running that many marathons.

I laughed and agreed. I had, after all, just run 26.2 miles in Death Valley! In the back of my mind, however, I was rolling my eyes and thinking there was no way running could be bad for you. Data can be manipulated.

Bold in the Cold 2012

At one of the few races I ran this year, Bold in the Cold, with my friend, Hari.

Today a friend posted a link to an article in The Wall Street Journal about two new studies on the effects of running, especially in older athletes.  The news is, once again, not very good. Here’s the part that stood out the most to me:

What the new research suggests is that the benefits of running may come to a hard stop later in life. In a study involving 52,600 people followed for three decades, the runners in the group had a 19% lower death rate than nonrunners, according to the Heart editorial. But among the running cohort, those who ran a lot—more than 20 to 25 miles a week—lost that mortality advantage.

It’s that last sentence, emphasized by me, that makes me cringe. In my circle of running friends, 20 to 25 miles a week is small potatoes. Especially now that I’m training for a 50 mile race in nine weeks, and regularly hit weekly mileage of 50-60 miles, I often run 20 to 25 miles in one run.

This sentence from the article calmed me down somewhat:

Meanwhile, according to the Heart editorial, another large study found no mortality benefit for those who ran faster than 8 miles per hour, while those who ran slower reaped significant mortality benefits.

It would take about a 7:30 minute pace to run 8 miles per hour, and I’m far from ever achieving that pace for longer than, oh, ten seconds, maybe? I’m a solid middle of the pack runner. I like an occasional good, fast tempo run, or a race where everything comes together and I surprise myself with a faster than expected pace, but I don’t train for speed. If it’s a byproduct of hills and distance, all the better, but it’s just not that important to me anymore. I guess I’m starting to mellow in my old age.

I’m all about distance. Nothing makes me happier than spending a few hours on a Saturday morning running a 20 mile route around the city with my friends. Even better, spending five or six hours on a trail, pushing just hard enough to enjoy the experience and still have enough energy to make it back to the car and the drive home, is what fills me with the deepest sense of accomplishment I’ve ever known. Nothing else in my life has ever made me feel as satisfied with myself as running.

Palo Duro Trail Run 2012

At the Palo Duro 50K Trail Run last month.

I like to think I run intuitively and listen to my body. I’m pretty good about taking rest days and not being a slave to the training plan. I don’t race half as much as others I run with, and I don’t push myself as hard either, especially on long runs.

It seems like common sense that running really hard, day in and day out, over fairly long distances, will eventually wear out your heart faster than if you did nothing but sit on the couch. Moderation is the key. Maybe speed is the culprit, and the studies don’t give us all the variables.

I have a deep down feeling that our bodies were made to run. The only thing more natural than running would be walking, something I plan on doing more of when I get much older. And I don’t intuitively feel that running long distances, at a comfortable, conversational speed, can really be the same — or worse than — doing nothing at all. Someone will need to show me the data on that to make me a believer.

For me, at this point in time, I’m in the best shape of my life. It took me 52 years to get here, and nothing beats the feeling of power and strength I’ve gained from running these past seven years. I love being able to go out for a 10 mile run on a cold autumn morning and have it feel easy. I feel energized the rest of the day, it keeps me in a great mood, and I sleep better and deeper than when I’m not running.

But, honestly, if I had to, I could be happy with 20 to 25 miles a week. If someone could prove to me that I would be able to have an extra five or ten years of running if I cut my current mileage in half, and have the same physical and psychological benefits I garner with 50 mile weeks, I could do it.

Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Being healthy and staying alive, and being able to appreciate the gift of running — even if it’s “only” 25 miles per week.

Besides, we all know that anything done to excess can be bad for you, and that includes something as healthy as running. Just keep it simple, and listen to your heart.

Here’s a great rebuttal published by Runner’s World on the studies mentioned.

50K Training, Week 12: Longest Training Run Ever

 My highest mileage week ever, with a 23 mile trail run on Sunday–which was also my longest training run ever. Daunting. Thankfully, the midweek temps were unseasonably cool for August, and reminded us what a difference cooler weather makes in our speed and overall enjoyment of running. Ended the week with the return of hot, humid weather.

Lake Grapevine

Lake Grapevine

MON: Running rest day – I must have done something right last week because my left calf, which was sore all week, feels 95% better today–even after an easy 3 mile run last night. Of course I’m very tempted to get out and run a few miles, knowing last week’s mileage was a little low, but I won’t. I will trust the training plan. And as my friend Hari said, don’t look back, it’s in the past. I’m thrilled that it turned out to be nothing serious. Did 20:00 of yoga (standing poses), and am actually looking forward (???) to tomorrow’s  core/strength workout with the group. Sick, I know.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, core/strength,Yoga (standing poses) – 20:00 – Got up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 to meet Mike F for a 4 mile run before our core/strength workout. The temp was in the mid 70’s and it even drizzled slightly during the workout. My leg felt 100% better and I was surprised to see we had run about 30 seconds faster than I’ve been running–and it felt comfortable. Came home and did an upper body workout with weights, some squats, and yoga. It’s good to be back on track with my training.

WED: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (twists) – 20:00 – GREAT run this morning. The temperature was 67 degrees, which is the coolest morning we’ve had since spring. There was a little fog at the lake, the wind was still, and the stars were out when we started. It’s runs like this that make me appreciate the gift of running–especially with good friends.

Morning at White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake

THU: Run – 4 mi – A little warmer than yesterday’s early morning run, but still very pleasant. Ran with Mike and Hari, and kept up a faster pace than I wanted/expected–which is good. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow in preparation for the weekend long runs.

FRI: Running rest day –  Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Noticed my back was stiff yesterday while cleaning the bathroom (yuck) so I decided to focus on back bends in yoga in the evening. Warm temperatures are back, as is the humidity.

SAT: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (forward bends) – 20:00 – Ran with the group on a very warm, very humid morning. The weather is certainly back to normal for this time of year. The run itself was uneventful, just a regular 10 mile run. I worked on keeping the pace slower than two weeks ago to try and save my legs for tomorrow’s extra long run. Did some forward bends yoga afterwards to stretch out the legs.

SUN: Run – 23 mi – My longest trail run ever–and my longest training run ever. Kept the run slow and easy, walking a lot of the uphills and taking breaks for food and water refills. It was incredibly warm (77 deg at 6am) and humid (87%), but we were lucky to have overcast skies most of the day. It even sprinkled the last two miles of the run. Ran two 8.25 mile loops to Rockledge Park and back, then did the loop to the MADD shelter and back–which was actually one mile shorter than we expected. Hari and I were both more than satisfied with running 23 miles instead of the planned 24, and called it a day, bone tired and happy the running week was done. Even better, I didn’t fall once!

Lake Grapevine

Almost half way done

STATS for WEEK 12: Run – 51.2 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 1 :20:00

50K Training, Week 11

Before training for Palo Duro, my highest mileage week was 42 miles–and that was in 2010. Last week I made it to 48 miles for the first time ever, and one of my legs let me know it wasn’t happy about it. I took an extra rest day, foam rolled like crazy, and enjoyed the easy week. Best thing about this week, other than stepping back on the mileage: we got lots of rain!

Big Umbrella

You can run, but you can’t hide.

MON: Running rest day – Though my left leg feels better today, the calf muscle is still very sore and stiff. Bought a foam roller at Target and am continuing RICE. Hopefully it will be okay enough to get in a few miles tomorrow, but it’s looking doubtful. I’m pretty sure it’s not a full-blown injury, but I certainly stressed a tendon or muscle in that lower leg.

TUE: Rest – My leg is still sore and stiff, though it does feel better than yesterday. After a lot of thought (and sighing and groaning), I decided I needed to rest it another day. I really, really hate not being able to stick to the training plan. I also haven’t been doing yoga because of a freak thing that happened. I may have possibly cracked a rib or some cartilage in my breastplate the other day after twisting around to hug Michael on the couch. We both heard a “pop!” and I felt a sharp pain, and it’s been sore ever since. It feels just like when I cracked a few ribs on a trail run a few summers ago. I’m definitely feeling a little beat up at the moment . . .

WED: Run – 4 mi – Went to the gym and ran 4 very slow miles on the treadmill, interspersed with walk breaks. Leg does feel better, but still tight and sore. There’s no pain, just a lot of stiffness. Kept the pace between 11:00 and 12:00, except for a quarter mile at 10:00 pace. The run didn’t seem to make my leg calf muscles any more sore, and I made sure to wear my compression sleeves and foam rolled the leg really well before I went to bed.

THU: Run – 9 mi – Met Hari and Liz for a 9 mile loop around the lake at 5:45am. My leg felt much better this morning, though still tight. It’s strange to run with one strong leg and one that hurts with each step. Kept the pace a little slower than usual, but all in all a good run. Foam rolled the calf, which helped tremendously, and Michael massaged the knots out before I went to bed later in the evening, which made a huge difference.

FRI: Running rest day –  Yoga – 20:00 – My leg felt much, much better this morning. Decided to do some yoga, even though some poses were a little uncomfortable (because of the freak rib pop the other night). Going to take a complete running rest day and hopefully be good to go for Saturday’s 10 miler. Very excited about the cooler temps this weekend!

SAT: Run – 10 mi – My leg felt about 90% better this morning, with just a small twinge of  stiffness. The run itself was great, with those much cooler temps, as promised. My leg definitely started to stiffen up again after mile 4, but I worked hard not to change my gait in any way, hoping this would keep me from developing some type of overuse injury. Because of the long trail runs, it felt good to find myself thinking: it’s “only” 10 miles. I’m going to foam roll and massage the leg to be ready for tomorrow’s trail run (only 6 miles!!!!). We’re going to run a new trail, Cedar Ridge, which should be a steep, challenging trail run. Biggest bonus: tomorrow is supposed to be even cooler than today.

Runner in the Rain

A runner gets caught in the storm on the Katy Trail.

SUN: Run – 3 mi – Trails rained out – After yesterday afternoon’s deluge of rain (3.5 inches in less than an hour) we knew the trails would be a muddy mess. I decided to take an extra day off to help my calf muscles get an extra day of recovery, but of course I felt antsy all day and went for an easy 3 mile run with Michael and the dogs in the evening. It was the first evening run I’ve done in months, and it was pleasantly cool and not humid. My leg felt great, with just a slight twinge around the ankle. It was one of those runs where you feel happy to be alive, and know how fortunate you are to be strong and healthy.

STATS for WEEK 11: Run – 26 miles, Yoga – 20:00

50K Training, Week 7

I wasn’t able to post this while I was  in Wyoming for my daughter’s wedding. After two tough weeks of high mileage, I feel the following two weeks of lower mileage (and a little wedding break) were well earned.

MON: Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Running rest day – No soreness from the 18 miler, just fatigue and a little tenderness in the shins. Lower back was somewhat sore when I got up, so I decided to concentrate on that area for yoga. Yesterday’s run really took a lot out of me. I might feel even more worn out than after a 20 miler in preparation for a marathon. It seemed to sap me of all mental and physical energy, and I’ve been grumpy all day.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, core/strength workout – Ran 4 miles at 5:15am with Mike F. Unbelievable that I am actually willing to get up that early this summer to run. It was almost 90% humidity and 79 degrees–which is actually fairly cool for this time of year. I felt good on the run, but still had some residual soreness in my shins, which I will need to ice this afternoon. Hopefully the next two easier weeks will help with the shin splints. I really felt the 18 miler in today’s lunges and squats.

WED: Run – 6 mi, yoga (forward bends)- 20:00 – Another humid early morning run. Met a group of friends at Liz’s house and ran on the hilly path to the dog park. I felt very strong on the hills, and a kept a good pace, especially in the high humidity.Breakfast with everyone afterwards to celebrate Heather’s birthday made it all worth it. The yoga was much needed today and felt very relaxing. Getting up so early to run five days a week is starting to get old. I’m really looking forward to cooler temps in Jackson Hole–and maybe some sleeping in.

THU: Run – 10 mi/hills – Up at 4:30am for a hot, humid, sweaty 10 mile run. We were all feeling the effects of yesterday’s speedy hill run, and I had forgotten how tough a loop around the lake can sometimes be. I did not enjoy when the sun coming out. My shins were feeling it the first mile, and especially later in the day. Iced them, wore compression sleeves, and felt good that tomorrow is a rest day and we leave for Jackson Hole! Looks like it’s going to be above 100 degrees all next week, so it’s a good time to leave. Too tired and busy packing to do strength training or yoga.

FRI: Running rest day – On the road to Jackson Hole.

SAT: Run – 4 mi – After camping in northern New Mexico, hit the road and ran 4 miles in Taos. Two things struck me: the altitude and the western sun. I ran with my dog, Nevada, who freaked out at the unfamiliar surroundings, so it was not a relaxing run. Also got propositioned by a young homeless man in the park asking if I was single. He suggested we “go for a little jog sometime.” I informed him I was not single and probably old enough to be his mom, which caused his buddies to hoot with laughter. Not sure how to take that.

Taos Trail

My only trail running option when camping: straight up. The “Be bear alert” signs, coupled with the altitude, made running in Taos an easy choice.

SUN: Hike – 2 mi – Walked almost to the top of Snow King in Jackson Hole with my daughter, Michael, and the dogs. That is one steep mountain! Even though I wasn’t running, my heart was pounding hard enough to let me know it was a good workout.

Snow KIng

Almost to the top of Snow King in Jackson Hole, with my lovely daughter and dogs

STATS for WEEK 7: Run – 24 miles, Yoga – 40:00, 1 Core/Strength workout

Reasons for Running

Deep thoughts appear in the predawn hours when you’re pushing up a long hill. My friend, Hari, and I had a conversation on our hill run about how our reasons for running have changed through the years. I said I wanted to keep running into old age to stay healthy.

Through the years, some of my reasons for running have changed. Some have remained the same, and others are no longer as important as they once were.

Sunglasses

Somewhat loosely in order, here is a possible progression of our reasons for running:

  • Running because we were amazed that we could. This is how it started for me. I couldn’t believe I could run, breathe, and sometimes talk at the same time. I remembered how I was always running when I was a kid, and wondered why I stopped.
  • Running because we loved it. This is what kept us coming back. After we stuck it out and finally reached the point where we didn’t feel like we were going to die during every run, we realized how much we loved it. It felt like freedom.
  • Running to get faster. Running became easier. We had a few PR’s and placed a few times in our age groups in races. We realized we could train more and get faster. We appreciated the feeling of running fast and passing others in a race.
  • Running because we couldn’t not run. We were hooked. Our runs came first over everything else on our schedules. We made running friends who became like family. We started spending more money on running clothes and shoes than our regular wardrobe. Vacation plans were made around race schedules.

Trail Shoes

  • Running to run longer and train for marathons. We listened to the stories and watched the more experienced runners. We decided we needed to run a marathon. This was serious business now. Training became our second jobs.
  • Running to prove something to ourselves. Without realizing it, running became something much deeper than merely logging the miles. Finishing our first marathons showed us we could do anything we set our hearts and minds to doing. We realized we were so much better and stronger than we ever thought possible. We learned to believe in ourselves.
  • Running to prove something to others. Not everyone believed in us. A lot of people thought we were crazy. The ghosts from the past laughed in our ear. We ran to prove them wrong and to still the voices once and for all.
  • Running so we could eat what we wanted. Bread, pasta, desserts, and beer. We could eat it all and not gain weight. Eventually we realized it would all catch up with us, and it did. It took awhile, but we became more conscious of eating healthier.

Water Bottles

Currently, these are the most prominent reasons I continue to run:

  • Running because we know it’s what our bodies were made to do. On a very deep level, we know our bodies were made to run. Especially when we run trails, we tap into something ancient and primal. This is living.
  • Running to stay healthy as we get older. Running by itself is no longer enough. We add yoga and strength training to our routines to stay flexible and strong enough for the trails. Recovery takes longer. But we look around at others our age and realize they look and move as if they are much older.
  • Running because it teaches us things about ourselves. Bad runs are the best teachers. Nothing has taught me more about myself, my limits, or my possibilities than running, especially when I have to dig deep, or when I fail to reach a goal.
  • Running because it’s what we do. Not running feels like we’re not being true to ourselves. There’s nothing on TV that could ever take the place of a good run. Unimportant things and concerns are brushed aside. Running is more important. It sustains us.
  • Running because it’s who we are. We have other roles, other friends, other lives, but first and foremost, we are runners. It’s how we define ourselves.

Why do you run?