Friday, May 1, 2015

Good For Them...

I have a love/dislike relationship with running... I would say love/hate, but I'm trying to lessen the word "hate" from my vocabulary.  I don't want to "hate" anything but the Devil and his work... but that's a post for another time.

As I was saying, I have a love/dislike relationship with running.  I want to love running.  I love the idea of running.  I love the thought that I love running.  I love the feeling of being finished with running for the day... but more often than not, I dislike the actual act of running.  But I'm trying to work on that.

It's been a challenge to re-train my mind in how I think about running.  First of all, when I was regularly running in my twenties, I used to time myself and carefully keep track of my distance.  I used to push for a longer time or farther distance with each run.  When I was in the habit of running regularly, I used to enjoy finding races in my area and training for long distance races -- 10ks, half-marathons -- and I did a couple.

When we got Lloyd (our dog), I loved the idea of running with my dog.  The actual practice of running with my dog was a little more complicated, and my running times were suddenly much longer because he complicated my runs.  First he was a puppy... and now he's older and better at running with me, but runs are always slower with him.

Then, I had Tracey Ann, and running became even more complicated.  To begin with, I was larger, and less in-shape than I had ever been in my life.  Then, I would put on my running clothes and I would look huge, and feel huge.  Then, in addition to feeling and looking large in my running clothes, I was now running with a dog, and a jogging stroller, which, let me just say, you don't realize it's hard work to push something while you run, until you do a run NOT pushing something, and... pushing that jogger is REALLY HARD.

So, all of these factors caused me to find reasons not to run, for months.  I looked too big to go running, I was very out of shape -- too out of shape to go running, and whatever muscle and physical fitness I was gaining was lost because I was now pushing a jogger (and running with the dog) so I felt like my "running" was sort of a slow-motion walk.  Lloyd could walk at the same pace as my "run".

But one day, I saw a person out running, while I was driving, and I realized that I have never in my life seen a person running outside and judged them... and, I'm ashamed to add, I can be a very judgmental person.  But never in my life have I ever looked at a person running -- regardless of their size, shape, speed, or outfit -- and thought "Wow, Buddy, a little slow there, aren't you?" or "Good thing you're out running, Lady, because you sure need it."

I see a person running, and I immediately think, "Good for them."  Then, my next thought is usually, "That looks like fun.  I should go running today.  Good for them."

And, ironically, the larger, or less physically fit, is the person running, the greater my admiration for them.  Clearly, this run is not easy for this person.  This person is not a natural athlete who has run 10 miles every day for the past decade.  This person is working hard for this run, and they are doing great.  Good for them.

So, in re-training my mind about running... well, jogging - I jog now, I have learned and accepted that my runs these days are not about speed or distance.  I have a dog and a jogging stroller with a toddler in it, my runs are about enjoying time outside, enjoying doing something good for my body, and making sure my daughter (and my dog) are learning that good physical fitness is a priority... and that good physical excursion is fun.  My runs these days are usually 45 minutes, but only about 35 minutes of that is jogging.  Between Lloyd and Tracey Ann, and the killer hill in my first mile, there are a few stops and walks on our run... but we are out there doing it.  Good for us.

My Dad told me that he just read an article in the Wall Street Journal which reported on a study out of Britain, that the health benefits of jogging 1-2.4 hours each week are equal to those of people who run 20+ miles each week.  I tried to find both the Wall Street Journal article and the British study to add a citation, but wasn't able to (Daddy, maybe you can email me the name and date of the article, please?).  This article didn't talk about running at a certain pace, or to a certain mileage (or being able to fit in a specific running outfit)... simply jogging for 20-30 minutes a few times a week to a total of 1-2.4 hours/week, can drastically improve my health.

As I have spent the last few days thinking about this post, I kept remembering the movie, What Women Want with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.  Mel Gibson is able to hear women's thoughts, and, with this superpower, he and Helen Hunt created an amazing Nike commercial, which centered around a woman running.

Its with that commercial that I want to end...
and now I really want to head out for a run.

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