Why do I run? I was once asked that question by a four year old boy. I had run past him while he was playing in his yard. A few minutes later, after turning around in the cul-de-sac, I ran past him again. This time, he was standing by the side of the road watching me.
“Hey, why you doing that?” he called as I ran by the second time.
A warning from the doctor
It all started about a year ago. I finally went to see the doctor. I say “finally” because my wife had been trying to get me to go for a long time. Of course, he said exactly what I was expecting: “If you don’t change the way you are living, you are headed for a very unhealthy existence.”
All the warning signs were there: My blood pressure was rising. My cholesterol levels were rising. My waist was expanding. My weight was increasing.
So, the doctor recommended that I change the way that I eat (not “go on a diet”) and begin exercising.
Time to exercise
The doctor suggested that I exercise 40-50 minutes per day, 4-5 days per week. My wife and I started walking. It was in the heat of a very hot summer – with temps above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But, we trudged through the heat and humidity, and we soon found our pace and distance and endurance increasing.
Eventually, I added running to my exercise routine – very slowly at first and for very short distances at first. I would walk for 30-40 minutes, then run for a few minutes at the end. As with the walking, I soon found that I could run faster and farther.
Soon, I was running for the entire exercise routine. And I learned something about myself…
I love to run!
It’s true. I love to run. Yes, I exercise for my health, but I run (as a form of exercise) because I love to run.
I’ve since learned that I love trail running even more. But, I still pound the pavement for most of my weekly miles.
Only a few months after we started our walking exercise routine, I had run three 5k races and one 10k race, and I had registered for my first half marathon to be run early the next year… less than six months after starting. (I completed the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February 2012 in 1:58:54. I was very excited about that time for my first half marathon!)
I’m a social runner
I also learned that I’m a social runner. I love running with other people.
At one of my first races, I met a group that had recently formed a running club called Wake Forest Area Runners. I soon started running with them at their weekly run, and joining some members of the club at other group runs. One of the club members even introduced me to trail running, which I instantly fell in love with.
I’ve even been able to convince a few non-running friends to run with me. It has been a blast watching new people take up the sport that I love!
Hey, why you doing that?
All of that flashed through my mind in the few seconds that it took me to pass by that four year old boy for the second time.
I looked back over my shoulder, wiped the sweat out of my eyes, huffed and puffed a few times, groaned at my aching legs, and yelled: