Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why do you run?

I made a post on my personal facebook recently, because I hit a milestone in my weightloss. I'm not really sure why I made the post, because weightloss isn't something I take pride in. I'm not embarrassed by it, per se, not ashamed, but it isn't something I find awesome. It just sort of is what it is; I had stuff happen in life and I gained 55lbs. It happens, I'm not proud it happened, but I'm not ashamed either, and that's sort of my feeling with weightloss. It's just sort of something I do. My ticker is on my blog as a reminder to me, not a brag. I guess I posted because I was startled - when I started losing weight it felt like a really long term goal, and here I am, on the other side of that "long term" - it's weird.

Just one of my very good reasons I gained weight! Worth every pound and then some.




But that's not why I'm posting.

I guess I should have expected it, but I ended up talking with a few people - mostly family, but a couple friends too - outside of that post. And I heard a lot of the same things - "Wow, running is so good for you!" "I wish I had the time to run, I want to lose weight too." etc.

And comments like that aren't looking for advice on how to start a weightloss journey or how to start running or whatever, so I mostly smile and nod. "Yeah, running is great."

But internally I am cringing, because I never saw running as a way to lose weight. I don't run to lose weight. I kind of want to stamp my foot and go no, don't say that! I don't run to lose weight! My running isn't to get skinny! It almost felt...demeaning. Like it diminished my running, made it less by assigning it as secondary to a larger goal.

 My first half marathon. This was my goal! Not pounds.


To be sure, my running journey started around the same time as my weightloss journey - but they were never the same journey. And want to know a secret? Even though I -am- losing weight, I don't run so I can lose more or lose faster. Nope! I eat back all the calories I burn running. I know if I said that to the people commenting on my weightloss, they'd look at me like I had a third head. But it's true.

And realistically if I wanted to use running as my way to lose weight, I wouldn't be doing well. I work my butt off running - but I can eat it all back much faster than I can burn it!

No, I run for ME. I did the Couch to 5K initially because I wanted to scratch something off my bucket list - I wanted to run and finish a 5K.

Yes, it's just that simple. It was a bucket list thing. I wanted to say I did it - because in the past, I was convinced I was the girl who /couldn't/. I could never run a mile. Me? NEVER. In high school I walked the mile - and I'm not even kidding.

And another honest confession? When I came in from my first C25K workout, I looked at husband red faced and dripping sweat, and told him, "I forgot how much I hate running!" I was going to do it anyway, because I said I would, but it was just one thing to scratch off my list. I was never going to like it.

...but somewhere along the way, something flipped in my brain. I don't know when. I'm not sure I noticed when it happened. But I started looking forward to my runs. A lot. The first time I ran 20 minutes without stopping was INCREDIBLE.

And my first 5K? I was disappointed when it was over because I was disappointed in my time; I thought I could do better. Somehow there was a second 5K on my schedule. And a third...and then there was this 10K, which made me think, what about that 10 mile race on my birthday? What about a half marathon? Suddenly, my bucket list exploded. Trail runs? Marathon? Ultras?

Oh yes. Bring it on. Not so I can lose weight - but so I can prove I CAN, and have a kick-ass time doing it. That's why *I* run. That's my journey. What about you?

14 comments:

  1. Great post! I had a similar epiphanie recently :) I did start running for weight loss purposes but now I'm enjoying it and I love seeing that my body is capable of more than I thought. I'm just now getting beyond the 5k distance but I have plans to keep on going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never imagined I could do a 5K - much less more! It's an incredible feeling and incredible journey. I know you can do it! :)

      Delete
  2. Great post! I agree about the not running to get skinny! I ran my first half marathon in Nov. and throughout the training, I never thought it as a weight loss tool. I ran to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to do! That is why I run!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's it exactly! It's never been about, oh I have to run because of X. It's because I CAN! Congrats on your first half!

      Delete
  3. I totally agree with you on this! If anything, I tend to gain weight when I'm running a lot because I'm always super hungry. Honestly, the idea of doing anything just to "get skinny" really bugs me. Like you, I hope people don't interpret my running as weight loss efforts, since that's not the case at all.

    I run because I can! So many people throughout the years have told me I couldn't/shouldn't, and I hated it when I was a kid because I really had no idea what I was doing (or that it was okay to run slower than the kids in my gym class, it's okay to feel a little out of breath, etc.). So as long as my body lets me run, I'll keep doing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! It sounds like a really good way to breed resentment, and that's sad to me because I get so much JOY out of running.

      I was the same - I thought "running" had to be at a certain pace and I knew I couldn't keep that up, at least then. But fortunately running isn't so limited!

      Delete
  4. It is so fun to read your story! I have the same reaction - I run because I love it. Why else would I do it? My weight has been so up and down since college, but my running has been consistent. So that is obviously not why I do it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny - I think I talk to more people who run because they love it rather than because they "have" to to lose weight, and yet people who don't run all think it's for weight loss.

      Running is fun! But it's also time intensive. Who could spend so many hours doing something they don't love?

      Delete
  5. I used to run to lose weight. After a while I realized I quit weighing myself and just got out and ran...and actually like it!

    My first runs were horrible. I'd make the same comment, "I hate running, it's so hard!" Then I realized anything 40 pounds overweight is hard!! Just walking up stairs was hard!

    Kudos to you for setting goals and checking them off the bucket list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know - I look back at my first ones and I was so miserable. If I didn't have a goal I was working on I never would have kept going!

      That's true though. I was overweight enough that any exercise was going to be hard. I'm not sure why I picked then to run, but I'm so glad I did!

      Delete
  6. Loved the post! I think so many people focus on weight because it's a measurable number… but that is all it is, a number. Health comes in many shapes and sizes.

    All of that, minus the bucket list 5k (it never crossed my mind). Then add to aha thou said with my desire to concur my anxiety. I talk more about doing it because I was told I couldn't, and that is a factor, but battling my anxiety is what drove me (there is no bigger "high" than con coring an extreme fear ALL BY YOURSELF! Especially public anxiety and doing that *gasp* ALONE!). I don't talk about it because people don't understand. But it's HARD to get out there, alone, and just run (even in my neighborhood- I get ONE block away from home and my anxiety kicks in)… then to run in the opposite direction from home no less is terrifying. Running is the single thing that has helped the most. When I ran clear from one side of our town to the other, and when I ran the half marathon around the town I grew up in (which contributed a large portion of my anxiety), the world became a LOT smaller. It became manageable. Or at least more than it was before. I also proved to myself that if something happened, I could make it back home. I had the capability, all by myself, to get home. I didn't have to reply on a car, or a ride (eek!). *I am capable.*

    I run to prove to *myself* how awesome I am-- and I don't care how anyone reads that! I spent too many years not appreciating me. Now I do. And I am awesome. I am capable of more than I ever thought was possible. I'm excited to see where I go- whether it's running or not. Running helped show me that I have the ability to be great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so, so amazing Barb. I am so in awe of how much you have grown and how strong you are. Anxiety is no joke but everything you have accomplished is just...incredible. You have such an amazing well of strength and I think you are still discovering just how very deep it is!

      You are very, very capable!

      Delete
    2. I wish everyone could read these stories. Why we run. I was talking to someone the other day about running and she said she wanted to start working out- then, before taking a breath, she immediately defended it, without me saying or doing anything, that she didn't want to do it to lose weight. People shouldn't have to feel like they need to immediately defend wanting to get healthy (and she was thin, so I'm sure she's been confronted with "the eye" for wanting to workout). Why do we have this idea that all activity is done to lose weight? Weight has nothing to do with it. It's so much more. Especially running. I've never known another activity to show me more of myself than running-- and it's indifferent. It will show you ALL of you. If someone wants to meet your soul-> run. Just like you have <3

      I am excited to see your journey to Marathons. And maybe a little envious too! I can only imagine that the enlightenment that goes along with the amazing accomplishment is incredible.

      (my typos are so embarrassing I can't ignore it. I'm glad you read typo LOL!)

      Delete
    3. Bahahaha, I have always been able to read typo - and it's fortunate you can too LOL.

      The scale is kind of a horrible thing - it's only one measure of health, and not necessarily a very good one either, but it's one people obsess over. I am a numbers person - but the numbers that I obsess over far more are the miles. I love watching them stack up, on a run, in my log book, on my widget...it appeals to me! And running, out there by myself - I don't even use music - is just...inmcredible. It is!

      Delete