I was reaching into the ice box at work to grab my ice pack with a bit of a limp recently when a coworker asked what was wrong. I explained that I was icing my knee post-run. My hair was wet from the shower I’d had before I raced back to the office, along with my protein shake, and I was still trying to cool down from a long run in the heat and humidity outdoors.
“Why do you run, then? You don’t need to lose weight.”
There’s a misconception that the only possible reason why I would spend hours every week running is to lose weight or be thin. That’s untrue. While I do exercise and eat healthfully to maintain my weight, the truth is that I do it for me. Because I want to. Because I love how it makes me feel. Because I can.
It’s not easy to carve out time to go running daily. It’s really hard, actually. It means sacrificing lunchtime, downtime and sometimes sleep but it pays off when my mood is improved and I can say I did it – not to anyone else, but to myself. It sucks to turn down invitations to do other things, like hang out with friends or share a table in the office café with my work girls but it sucks more to climb into bed wishing I’d done something just for me.
It’s hard to get alone time when you’re a single parent. I can’t even close the bathroom door when I shower. The 40-minutes I spend running around our neighbourhood before after school pick up is often the only time I spend completely alone between waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night.
“What, are you training for something then?”
I’m not really training for anything. I’m just treating myself to something that’s all mine. I’d love to do a half marathon or marathon or even a triathlon in the future, but I’m in no rush to do either right now. It’s not about that. It’s about finishing a five or ten kilometre run, covered in sweat and exhausted with a smile on my face.
And probably blisters on my feet.
“Why in the world would you do it then? With those blisters?”
Because I like it. I love it.