Every now and then I ask myself, how did I ever get into this “racket” – that being, the daily imperative to run. This morning I remarked to my husband that I’ve spent more years of my life as a runner than as a non-runner which led me reflect on what has kept me going.
I started running in the spring of 1981 and ran my first marathon shortly after turning 26 later that year. I’ve lived 25 years as a non-runner and 31 years running daily for the majority of those years. I’m sounding a bit like a broken record with my oft repeated quip when asked how long I’ve been running. “Longer than you’ve been alive!”
It should be no surprise that to run consistently for so many years, I’ve developed a very long list of reasons to run and many techniques for getting out the door. One motivator I never had was weight loss. I was one of those really skinny kids and always felt ashamed of being the skinny teenager who would disappear when I turned sideways. Hence I was was given the nickname by my four brothers of “skinny Lynnie”. Apart from that, I’m no different from most folks and my inner couch-potato regularly fantasizes about what I could be doing instead of going out for my daily run and what I might do with the time I would save.
BUT the memory of the satisfaction I feel of having done a great thing for mind and body is always fresh. Lacking the focus on calories burned has perhaps kept me a little more attuned to the sense of well-being that comes with the endorphin induced runner’s high and the state of relaxation that can only be experienced after vigourous activity. I also appreciate the “solitude” of the long-distance runner, rather than its infamous loneliness. I call it running from the inside-out.
For me the bottom line is the realization of how few things in life come with the guarantee that you will not feel any regret. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I really regret having exercised.” When I feel the urge not to run, I think of how I’ll feel after my run, not how I feel at that moment. Do I want to feel a sense of accomplishment at maintaining a healthy lifestyle and “alone time” to reflect or do I want to feel the 3 R’s of:
REGRET, REGRET & REGRET