I fancy myself a runner.
Not a graceful runner.
Not a fast runner.
I’m a slow-paced persistent runner. I quit every few years but before long I’m back out there pounding the pavement.
There are days, like today, when I ponder my motivation to run.
On Saturday, I ran in shorts. It was 88 degrees. Yesterday morning, I wore fleece leggings and sweats. I’m wimpy but it was in the 30’s. This morning, we have a wet snow falling, but, if I wait until this afternoon, it’ll be near 50 degrees. I won’t discuss our vicious wind.
I, fortunately, haven’t had much illness but going from suntan to snow-blind can be a little tough on the body. These are the conditions that cause me to ponder.
But then there’s the motivation –
To begin, I love the solitude of the run and the freedom to think, unencumbered by technology. I do wear earbuds but, most of the time, I’m fooling everyone. There’s no noise coming out of them. They’re a deterrent. You’d be surprised by the number of people who’ll engage you in conversation as you trudge by at a wicked pace that barely exceeds their leisurely walk. The earbuds are my ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign.
Another motivation for running is chocolate. Chocolate is an addiction I cannot conquer. I’ve been known to dream about it. Nothing is better than guilt-free chocolate, earned by the completion of a three-mile jaunt.
My newest motivation comes in the form of the bling known as race medals. I’m not a flashy girl (my fancy watch says Garmin on it) but I love these giant-sized, showy awards. And the cool thing about most race medals is that you don’t have to win the race to get one. You just have to participate. I can do that!
At first, I thought the only way to earn shiny prizes was to travel far from my home. I live in an isolated area where races that end with the be-dazzling of necks are few and far between-maybe never. But today, I discovered the world of virtual racing with (ta-da)medals. And if it can get any better than medals, the proceeds of the races go to worthwhile causes. Win-win, even when I don’t, you know, win. I have discovered one site for races inspired by Harry Potter. The perfect match for a geeky girl like me.
My main motivation to run is that it brings me joy. Occasionally it brings my aches and pains but the joy outweighs the owies. (not in my dictionary so you have to accept my spelling) As Joseph Campbell said, “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Running is my place inside.
And truthfully, I’m not so much complaining about my weather as just stating the facts. I can adjust with a diversified wardrobe. I’ve learned to reroute my runs so I’m not going against the crazy wind as I head home. A strong headwind can ruin a decent pace, even for a slow runner.
I recently joined The Sub-30 Club. This is a runners’ group that supports all runners, no matter what your pace. I connect with runners all over the world. Through this exchange, I have come to realize that my weather, although more changeable than most, is not nearly as challenging as the weather in other parts of the country. It’s hard to whine when someone is running in Maine or New York in temperatures that compare to my shoe size. I tend to run to the basement and my rowing machine when temperatures get that low. Some runners battle frost-bite temperatures and ice and snow on a daily basis.
I’ve come to the end of my ramblings and the wet snow is still falling. It’s lovely to watch through the window as I sip coffee in front of a fire. I don’t have to get out in it but I will.
‘Why?’, you might ask.
Is it the bling? There’s no medal at the end of today’s run.
Is it to guilt-freely feed my need for chocolate? Maybe a little. Today is Valentine’s Day.
Mostly I’ll run just for the fun of it. As I said above, it brings me joy!