This is why I’m hot. I run.

After I broke my knee in college for reasons yet unknown (I know, it’s weird), I couldn’t walk for about a month.  A full two years after that, being a creature of habit, I still didn’t really walk that much.  I didn’t do any exercise, stretching or healthy eating for that matter.  One night during my sophomore year in college, my boyfriend at the time asked if I wanted to play Capture the Flag with a group of friends.  If you’ve never heard of capture the flag, it’s a cross between tag and being at war.  Or at least that’s what it felt like as I was hopping over fences and (unnecessarily) dive-rolling in the dark to escape the enemy I thought might appear and attack at any moment.  The amount of freedom and pride I felt that night from finally moving my body after so long was directly proportional to the amount of pain I felt for the next few days.  Every muscle and tendon in my body was so sore, I thought I might need to go to the hospital.  I remember limping to my classes and feeling sorry for the people in the bathroom stall next to me whenever I would groan in pain just trying to sit down.  They must’ve thought I had some horrible condition.  I don’t even remember if we won the game, although I’d still feel like I failed even if we did.

By the way….

After those few days, I vowed that I would get in shape and stay there.  I picked the most convenient but intense form of exercise: running.  All you need is a flat surface.  Not really, just room to run.  Or you can run in place.  See what I mean by convenient?  My dad is my biggest inspiration.  He’s been running since before I was born.  He’s the healthiest person I know.  And he sure is a looker for his 60+ years!  Ladies at grocery stores just love him for some reason.  I started going to the track with my dad and eventually worked my way up to 3 miles a few times a week.  The track is a wonderful place to start running, since you can measure your distance, and the padding is easier on your knees than other surfaces.  I soon ran my first 5k and have been running regularly ever since.  Recently, I’ve been getting a bit more serious about running, especially when my puppies make me take them.  I run 3 miles during my lunch hour at work, and 4-6 miles on Saturday.  I will run my first 10k in February!

I don’t think I can put into words what running does for me.  It clears my mind, calms my nerves and relaxes my heart.  And so much more that I probably will never know.  I’ve often said that there is no feeling like the one I get after running as far and fast as I can, sweat everywhere.  I look like a train wreck, but I feel like Rocky.  I know I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and the rest of the day is going to be beautiful.  I just have to remember to drink water, or I’ll actually feel worse!  Running is my emotional management tool.  I know I’ll be in a better mood when I come back, if I just get out there.  I’ve never regretted a run, I’ve only regretted skipping one.

Just me and the desert. And whoever took the picture.

Sidenote:  Although I don’t run to lose weight, it does help.  Weight loss seems to be more about what I eat.  In a way, it can be a weight-loss tool for me, since I never feel like eating junk after a run, and I won’t even think about doing it before one.  I once had half of a Taro Bubble Tea before a short run, and it turned out to be the worst run of my life.  All that milk and sugar gave me baaad cramps, and I’m pretty sure I was hunched over the whole run.  Also, don’t have a Starbuck’s egg nog latte before a run.  Actually don’t have one ever.  I don’t think espresso and nog really mesh well, do you?

I’m gonna come back and land the plane now.  Moving well is important.  Humans were made to move, and for some reason, it is normal in this country to sit in a chair all day and then come home to sit on the couch.  If you have time to watch TV, you have time to exercise.  Tivo was invented to watch your show at a more convenient time, not to watch another show you might miss while the first show is on.  Running, or any form of movement is liberating and makes you aware of your body, and in essence, yourself.

Question:  What does running do for you? Feel free to comment!