Last weekend, I did a 10K run in my city. It’s become a yearly ritual with some friends: run then go for brunch. But despite the joke that I run for beer, that’s not really true.
My road to running
When I was young, we had something in Canada called Participaction: a series of fitness challenges where, at the end, you’d get a badge based on how you did. I hated it at the time. I was not an athlete and always got the “thanks for showing up” badge.
As for running…I could run up and down a soccer field all phys ed class (just don’t kick the ball my way), but actual running? Not unless there was something chasing me.
So how did I become a runner?
Well, you could say I’m running from my genes. There’s a history in my family of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. The best medicine for all of them? Exercise. As it is for so many other things. And when that was driven home 7ish years ago, I laced up my running shoes.
There are so many forms of exercise, so why do I run. Because I’m lazy? Okay, maybe not exactly, but one reason I settled on running is it’s convenient. All I need is some gym clothes and a pair of running shoes. And I can do it almost anywhere. I rarely run on a treadmill, but I’m lucky to live in a location where I can run outside pretty much all year long, as long as I’m willing to get a little wet.
Which means running also gets me outside, enjoying nature. But it’s also quick — I get more exercise in a half hour than in an hour walk. And to fight my genes I need some solid cardio.
So I run for my physical health, but that’s not the only reason. I also do it because it’s good for my heart, and I don’t mean the literal one. There’ve been a few times when, because of injury, I haven’t been able to run. And I notice it. I start to get cranky — I find running a great stress relief, and however reluctant I might be to go, or how I feel while I’m doing it, I always feel better when I’m done (except that time I face planted and ended up with at least 6 stitches in my eyebrow, but that’s another story).
There are even times, every now and then, when things are just ticking along, where I get that zen feeling and everything feels right with the world. And that’s why I run.