Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why I Run

I am writing and eating my favorite post-run breakfast, quinoa with maple syrup and dried fruit. Sippin' on my yummy black coffee. Just got back from my early morning (5:30) slow run.  This week I start my tapering for the Illinois Marathon.  It's in 2 weeks. Tapering is when you start to run less and eat more.  Well, I really won't eat more until a few days before.  My long training runs are done. Why did I do this again?  I still haven't figured it out.  Last year's marathon was my first.  Not a good experience.  I was doing great until mile 14 then the heat, gus, gatorade, and bbq grippo potato chips I ate the entire week before kicked in. Let's just say my Break Wind Running Club shirt I was wearing with our logo "we never run out of gas" held to it's name.  In fact, I was walking for a period and a woman (rather arrogant) ran past me and said "looks like you ran out of gas." I said "nope, I still have plenty left, that's my problem." Thank goodness for the 4 porta potties.  Yes, this is TMI but if you are a runner, you have empathy for one suffering from runner's trots.  So, I think my motivation for this marathon was to simply do better. My time was 5:19.  My goal is to have a race that I only visit porta johnny once and beating the 5 hour mark would be nice.

I started running April of 2011 when my youngest was 18 months.  My reason was not to lose weight. My 5th baby burned me 500 calories a day nursing.  I lost my baby weight pretty easily. In fact, I gained 10 pounds within a year when I started running!  I started running because I was so tired of going up and down the stairs feeling like crap. I had no energy.  My husband had started running and had ran a couple marathons.  He was a huge source of inspiration.  Another reason I ran is because of my birth defect.  I was born with hip dysplasia.  I had casts on my legs as a baby, a surgery on my hip when I was 8 and another on my knee when I was 12.  My doctor said I would start to get arthritis in my 30's. I was starting to notice it especially when I got above a certain weight.  I figured maybe I could keep the arthritis at bay if I exercised.  So far, it has worked!  Looking back at my experience with my dysplasia, I believe I was truly blessed with a progressive doctor.  I could always do sports and now am running marathons.  He fixed me up good!  I wish I could find him to say thank you.  I know of another gal who was born with the same condition.  She is just a few years younger than me and just had a hip replacement.  She may have been born with a more severe case so I don't know if I am comparing apples to apples.  I am so thankful and know that I am blessed to have the opportunity and ability to run. I pray often when I run.  I usually begin my prayer "thank you for this ability to run,  I offer up my pains, tiredness and weariness as a sacrifice for those that can't."

I have run 5 half marathons and soon to be 2 full, a few 10ks and countless 5k's.  I love racing. It gives me a goal.  I love the camaraderie of fellow runners.  Some may think it vain or boasting to post a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car, but I beg to defer.  Well, ok, maybe a little sin of pride there, but it's also the (not so) secret society club symbol.  I yell out 26.2 to my kids when we pass a fellow marathoner.  However, I do find the 0.0 stickers hilarious.  I call them honorary members because they at least know the language.

A few years ago a group of not-so-serious runners here started a running club.  The master mind behind the name was inspired by another club named 'Second Wind'.  He, my husband and another guy have ran together for awhile and would joke that they were the CRC, Covington Running Club.  We were at an expo and he said what about "Break Wind Running Club?"  We all laughed. It was perfect!  We made a  facebook page and voila the club was born!  Some people ask me what you need to do to join.  I honestly laugh and say "can you break wind? you can only join if you can break wind."  We are truly a not-so-serious grassroots club that just wants to run.  We post funny stuff on fb, try to get together to run once a week, eat a few times together and support each other.  Recently, I wrote the BWRC Creed:  "I believe in never letting anyone face a long run alone. To keep what's said on the run, on the run. To never judge the smells that linger around me. To always keep handy a Kleenex, lend a sock or hankie for my fellow runner. To allow a right of way to snot rockets (aka farmer's blow). To support local races and be an enabler for our addiction."  FREE BWRC membership belongs to those who run, walk, ride, cheer from the sideline, dream about running, want to run or basically interested in  running.  I have  made some good friends through this club and look forward to our early Saturday morning runs.

In my very first blog, I mentioned my problem of keeping life simple.  Running is probably the simplest sport there is. Just lace up your shoes and go (the most complicated part of running is to make sure you do have good shoes, many injuries could be avoided if we had the right kicks). My problem is I can't just lace and go, nope I have to run races, join a club, subscribe to runner's world, track my miles, study high protein food and carbs,  analyze my run on my Garmin, oh and am a race director for a local 5/10k.  My husband is starting to come back to the joy of running. He decided not to run any marathons this year and if he feels like it, he will go out for a 20  miler if not, oh well, nothing is lost.  After this marathon, I am looking forward to the joy of running. Sometimes when you are training it is just another thing on your to do list, it seems like a chore.

This morning's run I got a glimpse of why I remembered the reason I run.  For the health of it. Health not only for fitness and not being able breath when I go up the stairs, but for the health of my sanity and soul.  I had been using my daughter's mp3 player. I usually run 1 mile before I put the plugs in.   This morning when I was done with my 6 miler, I took the plugs out and was disappointed. I had missed the most musical symphony ever composed.  It happens every spring and summer morning around 6 am, the explosion of birds singing their morning song. I am convinced there is an alarm clock bird. One bird chirps, wakes up another and within 2 minutes they are all awake jabbering about how their night went, what to eat for breakfast and what today's agenda will be.  So why this talk about birds? These original tweeters reminded me why I run, for the joy of doing something good for me, the chance to hear their beautiful voices and be outside enjoying God's creation. It really can be that simple.

Runners, why do you run?