Why I Run

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I suppose I've yet to properly explain why I'm running this half marathon. That's something I should clarify.

If you read my earlier post, you know that I started running sort of on accident. I'm pretty sure my rheumatologist wished this accident had never happened, but you'll have that. At first, it really was a way to just burn calories and energy. But as of late, it's become the time I value the most.

I think half the reason I love running so much is for that 30 minutes or 60 minutes or, eventually, 130 minutes that I'm running, I feel at peace. Yes, that is a complete and utter oxymoron... I feel at peace while my feet pound into the pavement, various parts of my lower body ache, and my lungs often feel labored. But mentally, I can rest. I don't have to think about lesson plans or my to-do list or the chaos of life. I can find clarity in what I'm thinking -- whether it's about something happy or something heartbreaking. I love that there's finally something I like doing in the outdoors (since my love of yardwork is practically (and by practically, I mean completely)) non-existent.

But that's not why I run.

If you've met me, you know that I am nothing if not a perfectionist. And by perfectionist, I mean, seriously perfectionistic. My parents love to tell the story of how as a toddler, I was slow to walk because every time I fell, I'd get pissed off and make someone carry me. Even at age one, I wanted to do everything right.

Now, I don't run perfectly. In fact, if someone analyzed my form, they'd probably have all sorts of critiques for me. I'm not a perfect runner. But for some reason, I don't care. Don't get me wrong... I hate the days when I have to walk during the middle of a run because I feel like I should be stronger than that. I get frustrated when I don't seem to be improving much on my time (my 5K PR is currently 27:50, and likely to stay there). I get frustrated when my muscles hurt or my body seems to be slower than usual.

But really, I don't care, because I CAN run.

When I was seventeen, there was a three month period where I could barely WALK. I would shuffle across the floor with little, labored, painful steps in order to get to the bathroom, the front door, the kitchen. I wore out the bottom of my socks because I never lifted my feet in that heel to toe movement so popular among walkers. I probably took 1,000 steps in those three months, and it was only out of necessity. I truly believe I've blocked so much out of that period in my life, because looking back, I don't remember all that much.

So why do I run?

I run for everyone who can't. I run in honor of the children, women, and men affected by Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. I run for those who are bedridden, wheelchair bound, or otherwise unable. I run for those with broken bodies, broken hearts, or broken spirits. I run because for so long, I couldn't, and if I can run for someone else, I'm going to.

I'm not a great runner. I'm not even a good runner. But for all the princesses and princes who can't run, especially the children who are afflicted with something that holds them back, I run for them.


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