Let’s try this again. Sorry for the confusion. Apparently, when I’m tired and can’t see well, I click buttons willnilly l like and lose important things, like, you know, Kristin’s blog post on why she doesn’t run. One more time.
One day a couple of months ago, Jen was on Twitter carrying on about how inspiring her runner friends are, and how much she LOVED the newest “Why I Run” guest post. (This, for those of you who aren’t on Twitter, this is a regular thing with her.) Because I have known Jen for 20 years (and possibly also because I am a smart ass), I responded by asking when she was going to start her “Why I Don’t Run” series.
Well guess what, all you runners? I think it starts today.
When I first sent the snarky tweet to Jen I had no intention of ever writing a post about why I don’t run, so I was not prepared for Jen to say “Great! Write it!” But when I thought about it a bit more, I recognized a flicker of something besides just smart-assery in my response to her tweet. That flicker, I decided, was at least worth exploring.
Why on earth don’t I run? And why do I feel both sheepish and defensive admitting it? If I were to pan out from the particular scene, what might this choice to not run say?
On the most basic level, I don’t run because I don’t enjoy it. This dates all the way back to my high school tennis team days, when we joked that our coach thought we were the cross country team, just wearing the wrong kind of shoes. Running makes my head pound and my back ache. It makes me feel like every vertebrae in my spine, right down to my tailbone and hip sockets, is being pounded out of whack. Plus it makes me overly hot, and I really hate being hot. Really. Ultimately, I get lots of exercise in other ways, like walking and biking, and I’m happy with my body and level of fitness.
So that should be the end of the story, right? But it isn’t. Because there’s that guilty/defensive part to deal with. What’s that about?
Clearly I feel like I should run. Not only do lots of people I know and respect run—including my husband and the owner of this blog—lots of cool-seeming people I don’t know also run. They’re everywhere. Let’s face it, it’s the cool kid thing to do in my 30- and 40-something-year-old world. Running says all kinds of positive things about a person: that you’re serious about your health and fitness; that you’re disciplined, and able to push past the pain; that you’re someone to be reckoned with.
Not running, of course, seems to say the opposite: unhealthy, undisciplined, uninspired, unintimidating. I am theun of running. Yuck.
But while there’s a part of me that wishes I was the type of person who runs, there is no part of me that wants to pretend. I’m too old for that, and I know myself too well. I have too many other important things to do with my time. Over the years, there have been various types of people I’ve wistfully wished I could be, but I’ve also become more and more sure of who I am and what I want and need for myself. Running is one of those things that just isn’t in that picture. There are other ways for me to challenge, inspire, push and grow (and other ways to stay fit).
I guess that’s what this post is all about—it isn’t about running or not running, it’s about finding and claiming yourself. Doing what’s good for you. Not worrying about what others think. And doing everything you can to make the uncool things you love a bit more broadly appreciated.
(Now that I think of it, I could write a whole post about Why I Walk…. Maybe Jen will have me back.