I’m in the process of re-evaluating my life and trying to figure out who it is that I am and what my life goals really are. Obviously diet and exercise are a big part of that, but life is definitely more than that too, which I am starting to figure out!
I still have a long ways to go, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you an article I read recently that really changed my perspective on why and how I exercise the way that I do.
Runner’s World magazine has an article series called “I Am a Runner” which features different people in the public eye who run to maintain good health, even in the midst of their busy lives.
The last one I read was an interview with Mika Brzezinski, whom I only know of because my best friend Courtney turned me on to the tv show Morning Joe (weekday mornings on MSNBC) a few years ago. So I’m used to seeing her like this:
Her story was amazing to me because according to her, she just runs because she wants to. She even ran on the days she delivered each of her children!
I don’t care where I am or what it’s like out. I’m running.
She’s not fast, she doesn’t have any fancy gear, and she hates the treadmill. Wow, how refreshing! She also gets the mental aspect of running:
My thoughts then wind down to bigger things, like what kind of a person do I want to be? I make decisions and figure stuff out.
But probably my favorite quote from the article, the one that made me think the most, was what she tells one of her daughters about running:
When we run, she says, “Mom, you’re so slow.” I tell her, “Stick with me and you’ll be running pain-free for the rest of your life.”
For so long, I have been running because I wanted to push myself in new ways and also because running burns more calories and I wouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight as much. That, to me, is a horrible attitude to have. It took me this long to realize it.
Yes, running does burn calories and can help maintain a weight loss but if that is your primary motivation, you may find yourself failing at that. I have actually gained more weight and worked HARDER to keep weight off since I have been running.
I’m also always striving to improve my running — to be faster or to do more weekly mileage. Why? Unless I am training for a race, I don’t need to worry about how many miles a week I run. I don’t need to be faster because I’m not trying to win anything.
And as Mika pointed out, when you run hard and fast, you risk injury more. Is being faster or running more miles really worth that?
I have come to the conclusion that I love to run. I love being able to run since I spent so much of my life as a sedentary, overweight person. I am thankful for the gift that is running. Now I am trying to get over wanting to be faster or “better” at running.
I am doing fine where I am now. Any efforts I’ve made at being faster or running more because I thought I had to never made me feel better about myself. But just running for fun when I’m not under that kind of pressure does.
I’m not saying that I won’t sign up for some races and challenge myself here or there, but I need to let go and just enjoy the run. Because I can!
For more “I Am a Runner” stories, click here.