Running is tough. Okay, that's a blanket statement but it is. Every time I go for a run, I have to talk myself into going out there and pushing my body. Of course I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I've finished (I ran over 5 miles this weekend and that was the longest run I'd done in over a year so, yes, I was pretty proud of myself), but motivating myself to get out there and knowing that my lungs will burn and my legs will probably hurt the next day are what makes running hard.
I've often said that I have a love/hate relationship with running and that's honestly the best way I can describe it. I began running two years ago. Even though I have always loathed running, and it's great to actually say I'm a runner and feel a sense of completion at the end of a race, unless I have something to work for (a race coming up is usually the motivating factor for me), I'm unlikely to just go out and log miles. It's so much easier to stay at home and read a book or cook a delicious meal than it is to devote a few hours a week to just running.
But then there are days like this past Saturday. The weather was perfect. 60 degrees and overcast outside. Very little wind. I was out of town for the weekend and there were hills around my in-laws' house so I knew it would be good practice for my 10K (which will have tons of hills). I was planning to run 4, maybe 5, miles since I had only run once since my 5k and didn't want to over-strain myself.
Unfortunately, when I packed, I forgot to toss my inhaler in my bag and I was afraid that would slow me down. I didn't want to risk overdoing it without an inhaler on-hand so I wasn't going to push myself too hard. When I started my run with my running buddy, Max, I figured we would do a couple miles and call it a day. Once we got out there, I felt amazing. The weather made the entire run perfect (and I didn't even need my inhaler - heat usually makes it hard on my lungs) and I easily logged 5 miles before calling it a day. The rest of the day I was so energized and felt such a sense of accomplishment. On the actual run, I went exploring with Max and had time to really clear my head. It was incredible to just run and run without fear of overheating or overexerting myself. Those are the days that make running worth it. (Of course, my calves are killing me today since they are totally not used to the hills that I did!)
Back to the article. When I read the following two paragraphs, I felt like the author was inside my head. He said it so well and expressed exactly how I feel about running:
I hated running for over a year. I know, hate is a strong word. You know what a stronger word is? Superhate. In my first year and a half, I superhated running every time I went out. Those days are mostly behind me now, but there are still times when I super-don't-want-to-get-out-there-and-do-it-at-all. I'm not one of those people who can't wait to run. I've given up on the hope that I'll ever become the person who's pacing like an animal until he gets a run in. What I've become is the person who will never quit running no matter how bad it sometimes feels. I've become the person who has finally accepted the fundamental truth that although you can have the occasional tremendous run, even the best time out is nowhere near as tremendous as coffee and cold pizza.
How do you keep from quitting despite this stark reality? How does a rational person choose discomfort over comfort, time and again? In other words, how do you stay crazy? There are many compelling reasons to run–some universal, some personal, some obvious, some obscure. The trick is to keep those reasons at the front of your mind. You make a list of these reasons–a convincing list of arguments for why you run. You refer to the list when you are weak and the cake is strong. The word fun is not on this list. If running is fun for you, you don't need a list. The rest of us do. We need reasons to run. Really good reasons.
After this, the author went on to list several reasons why he runs. They were great and sometimes I have the same reasons, but I also feel like my reasons can change.
So why run? That's a good question. Despite the hassle, time-commitment, and impending pain, I guess I run because I love it. The love for running has outweighed my hate for it and it seems like over the last couple years, my love for it has slowly grown and overshadowed my dislike. At the end of the day, running becomes a part of you.