Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I'm a Runner
Why do I call myself a runner? I've always thought of myself as fairly athletic, but I never played a sport with an organized team, even though I'm always willing for a pickup game of anything. This past spring, however, I realized that maybe I wasn't as able as I thought I was. Every year my company has a basketball tournament among the locations in my city, and I was winded after just a few runs up and down the court. This inspired me to be more active.
I've flirted with running before, usually about the same time of the year, but it never stuck. I would run every day for maybe a week before deciding that it was too tiring. This year didn't start any differently. Around this time, my parents started exercising regularly, even going so far as to sign up for a 10k in September, 6 months away. I followed their lead, paid the fee, and started to run a few times a week. The shoes I used were used once a year, for a week or so, each time I got inspired to run. They cost about twenty bucks at a Wal-Mart. My parents got serious about it pretty quickly, going to the local running company and getting a gait analysis and shoes that fit their profile.
Then I found a cross-country 5k that Mum and I signed up for. This prompted me to make a trip to the running store and spend a little money for a better pair of shoes. Then I printed out a training schedule from their website and started following the schedule. The first race was...interesting. It was through fields and woods, after a good deal of rain, so it was pretty messy. There were probably around 130 runners, and half as many spectators. I didn't break any records or even place in the top 80, but I finished, and it whetted my appetite for more.
I ran 5 or 6 days a week through the summer, only interrupted by a road trip for conventions. Then the 10k was suddenly upon me. I followed the running store's schedule almost to the letter, so I felt ready. I got up at 5:20 am, and I was wired. I was bouncing (literally) until my race started at 9. I watched my parents and a family friend finish the four-mile event, and still had an hour of bouncing to go until I got to start.
The cannon blast to start the race was pretty cool. The starting corral was noisy, with lots of people and music, but as soon as I got a hundred feet away, I felt my nervous feeling dissipate. All I could hear was the pounding of feet on pavement and my breathing. This was why I was running, not for accolades or a finisher's medal. I fell into my rhythm, and I felt fantastic. I negative split each mile, and didn't feel fatigued at all as I booked it into the stadium finish line. The crowds were phenomenal, cheering on all the runners, and the atmosphere was charged every time I came upon a group of volunteers. I ended up 13th overall, quite an improvement over my first race performance.
All this, however, is not why I call myself a runner. It's just the story of how I discovered my love for running. I run because I feel good. It's my mind and willpower syncing with my body to push me to my limit. I run because it clears my mind, snaps me out of any funk. I run to leave homework and stress behind, to figure everything out. Might sound cheesy, but I run to have me time. Why do you do what you love?