I constantly try to answer this question. Everyone, including my wife wonders why I run. We’ll let me first set the stage. Today was a long day, I stayed up late last night watching a basketball game (Spurs won, 😉 and 3 a.m. came too fast. So when I got home from work, I sent a text to my wife and asked “Want to go on a bike ride with my 10 mile run with me tonight?” She said, “Maybe.” Then a few texts later she said, “Go on your run, I’m tired.” I replied, “I’m tired too, but my plan says 10 miles, I am running 10 miles.” Her reply was “I don’t have a plan, I just listen to my body.” To which I said “If I did that, I would never run.”
Then I put on my shoes, and opened the door. While I ran, a light came on, and not just from the sun beating down on me. (It was 5:30 p.m. and 94 degrees out.) I thought, “Why am I running? How can I explain to my wife so maybe next time she will want to run/bike with me?”
First I have to go back to when I was in the 8th grade. I was not in shape as a kid. So one day I decided to wear a muscle T-shirt. It had a print on it that looked like I was not wearing a shirt and that I had a lot of muscles. Knowing what I know now, I could have predicted the outcome of wearing this shirt, but being a 13-year-old kid, I thought it would be cool. So in the school hallway, another smart 13 year old laughed as he saw my shirt and said “You wish.” I’ve since thought a lot about what that kid said. But that kid was wrong. It was not if I wished I were in shape, because if that’s how it worked, everyone would be in shape and healthy.
I lost a lot of weight when I was 18, and stayed healthy for maybe 10 years, but by the time I was in my 40s, I was now back to being that out of shape, unhealthy 13 year old kid. Except now I was 43 and 230lbs. To be honest, I still thought I was in shape, but gaining ½ pound a month for 15 years adds up. So I made the choice to not be unhealthy. I didn’t wish it; I said this is what I am going to do. I made a plan, and set my goal for my first half marathon, but most of all I said, I will do this! I don’t have to wish it; I can make the changes in my eating habits and exercise habits, and I will be healthy.
I skipped over a few things, like chest pains at 43, and my father dying of his 5th heart attack when he was 48, and going in for a checkup because of those chest pains and finding out I had high blood pressure. I could see for maybe the first time who I really was. And it does not have anything do to with size or weight. But I could see I was out of shape and it was starting to affect my health. If I didn’t make the right choices, I could end up like my dad. Keep in mind that my father never got to be a grandfather, my kids never knew him. I want to see my grandkids. I want to spoil them and take them to the park, watch them play soccer; go to a baseball game, or a basketball game with them.
So why do I run? I run because I can’t wish myself to be healthy. I run because I want to be around for my grandkids someday. I run because I want to live and be healthy.
Maybe the question you should ask is not why do I run, but why don’t you run?