Always running for the thrill of it

Dude. I’m a runner.

It’s still weird to admit that. Last year, I felt like a fraud when I admitted it for the first time to a doctor. I had no set training schedule. I ran a few times a week, enough to get my exercise in. I had expensive running shoes and a few usual routes in my neighborhood. Last summer, running was still largely something I was doing to help me lose weight.

It’s different now.

I don’t want to lose more weight. I just want to run.

Sometimes, I can’t. That happened about six weeks ago when I mysteriously hurt my back. I didn’t run for about 10 days and was miserable. Running makes me happy. I smile a lot as I run, even on the bad days when I struggle. On those days, I still smile and give thanks for my health. I grin like a fool on the good days when I know that I’ll improve my time so much that I’ll wonder if my watch stopped working for a minute.

When I get ready for work trips or to visit Sean, I pack my running shoes first. I check the weather and look up popular running routes. On my last few trips I got in a run along the Huron River in Ann Arbor, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan (with rain, strong winds and lightning too), the Hudson River in NY and Central Park. I finally got in a run with G.D. of PostBourgie. He had to slow down a bit for me, but it was still good to have some by my side pushing me up the Great Hill on mile 5.

Sometimes when I’m out on a run, I wonder how I got here.

How’d I get to be the girl whose list of happy places now includes an LA running trail at sunset with the perfect music playing on her iPod Shuffle (iTunes Genius really helps with this)? How’d I get to be the girl who runs rather than walks — if shoes allow — simply because it means getting from from point A (work) to point B (the bus stop) quicker? How’d I become a runner?

It’s not an easy question to answer, partially because the answer is dynamic. I’ve begun writing and abandoned various drafts of this post since early April. In those 2.5 months I went through some ups and downs with running. I’m finally feeling back to where I was early in the spring. I ran 7.2 miles on Monday night to a Mexican-centric playlist in anticipation of the Mexico/Algeria game. I felt great at the end of the run. I always do.

I dug up this draft again tonight and the first part came to me easily. It was only a matter of time.