Why I run (or jog. or shuffle.)

Disclaimer: if you’re the type of person who gets annoyed when people talk about their workouts online, stop reading here.

If you don’t get annoyed, or you do but you love me, keep reading.

On Facebook, I’ve noticed that there are two types workout-related posts:

  • The first is called the humblebrag, like “Ugh so annoyed that there were so many people at the gym tonight – there was someone waiting for my machine so I didn’t get to finish my entire workout.” WE GET IT. You work out so much and hate when other people try to work out just a little less than you. The only thing these humblebraggers like more than working out is telling everyone how much they work out.
  • The second is what I like to call the “I’m trying to get in shape so please hold me accountable,” which is what I engage in. It’s slightly less annoying than the first type, but still, kind of annoying, because you’re forced to listen to stories about someone else’s workouts.

I go through periods of being active and exercising frequently, and then being a lazy bum who watches TV all night. Lately, I’ve been in a “lazy bum” funk so I decided to pull myself out of it by making myself exercise every day for 30 days. It’s probably not even healthy to work out seven days a week, but you’re not my doctor, so lay off. To be honest, I don’t even have a doctor, but I did just ask webmd, and it gave me the go-ahead. And what webmd says goes!

So, today is day four of my challenge (at this point in the post, some of you really don’t care about my exercise regime, but I gave you an out in the first line, so you can leave at any time), and thus far, I’ve run every day even though I said I would try to do other types of exercises. But you know what? Running is – by far – the most convenient exercise, because you just put on your running shoes, go outside, and start doing it. I guess I could exercise with the Kinnect which be even more convenient because it doesn’t require me to leave the house, but it would require me to learn how to turn it on, which is probably not going to happen.

Last night, I came home, and I really didn’t want to work out. But I did, because of the overwhelming shame I’d feel if I gave up on the third day. On my run, I realized it felt so good to make myself run even though I really didn’t want to. It felt good to push myself. I’ve been running fairly consistently for about 8 years, but for some reason, I always feel surprised when I push myself and remember that it feels good. Like, oh yeah, duh – this is why I should do this instead of watching so much Millionaire Matchmaker.

But if the only benefits of running were physical, I wouldn’t keep doing it. I mean, I know that playing tennis would be a good workout too, but I never do that. There are mental/emotional/spiritual benefits I experience when I run, which is why I keep doing it. In addition to feeling better physically, running also gives me:

– Time to think about whatever I want. What do you think about when you have no distractions? It’s fascinating (and also, scary/humbling/weird) to find out what I think about when I’m all by myself, running down the road, with nothing to distract me from my own thoughts.

– A safe place to listen to 98 degrees. People who see me running on the road may think I’m blasting Beyonce, but no – it’s often just “True to your Heart” on repeat.

– A chance to disconnect from my phone. Of course, I use my phone to listen to music as I run, so I’m not literally disconnected from it, since I’m actually holding it in my hand the entire time. However, I don’t check my email, or respond to texts, or check Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, or Google random things. For those 30-40 minutes, I’m not enslaved to my phone, and it’s beautiful.

– A space to process my life. Generally, I think of “processing” as thinking and writing and talking and crying and talking some more. And those are all good things, I think, but sometimes I’ve thought or talked something to death, and the only way to progress any further is to use a physical outlet. Sometimes, I can no longer talk about a problem, but after I go for a good long run, I just feel better. I don’t know why – I just do.

– It gives me a chance to act out my Olympic fantasies. I know, I’m so weird. But guys, when you’re at the end of a run and you want to stop but you can’t because you’re still half a mile from home, just imagine that you’re the last leg of a relay race in the Olympics. Seriously, you’ll get a rush. You won’t get a real gold medal at the end of your run, but in your mind, you’ll feel like a national hero.

The great thing about running is that it’s a great activity when I’m in  really good shape, but it’s also great when I’ve been a lazy bum all winter and my runs are more like fast shuffles.

Thanks for reading, and if you’re so inclined, feel free to hold me accountable for the next 27 days.



2 thoughts on “Why I run (or jog. or shuffle.)

  1. Encouragement! (did it work)?

    I couldn’t help but notice you say you hold your phone while running, so I thought I’d tell you about Spibelt it’s basically the littlest fanny pack (http://www.amazon.com/SPIbelt-Small-Personal-Black-Zipper/dp/B0041OXDJG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364834691&sr=8-3&keywords=spibelts). I use one when I run and the good news is it’s small enough to pull your shirt down over it, so no one has to know it’s there lookin’ all dorky. Plus, you don’t have to risk short-circuiting your phone with sportsbra sweat (yeah, that’s where I used to keep my phone).

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