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.


4 thoughts on “Always running for the thrill of it

  1. Christina says:

    I’m experiencing the same thing right now! Just started running a few months ago and I love it! I’m even thinking of doing a 5k just for the fun of it ! I NEVER thought I’d feel this way about exercise much less running. Thanks for this post !

  2. Cesar says:

    Welcome to the running club! It’s not about competition or how fast you go, it’s about how runners engage with their bodies and the environment around them. Non-runners don’t understand this addiction–because it is an addiction–and this need to challenge our bodies , our minds, ourselves with new terrains.

    Now, that I’m done with graduate school, and working exclusively on my book, I can return to running as I used to–those 7 to 8 miles a day have never felt more marvelous. I was miserable these last two years because I had to let go of my running routine so I can sit on my butt and write. Where before, when I lived in Austin, I had a job, I had a running schedule, and I was writing. Gah! But now, now ‘s the time! I’m so glad to hear you say this: “I don’t want to lose more weight. I just want to run” You should write that somewhere by your bedroom door on those days you feel sluggish… it’ll give you that extra push…

    I’ll tell you something, now that you’ve are fully initiated as a runner. And you declare yourself one. You’ll get asked: “well, have you run a marathon?” To this I always answer: “No.” “Well, why not?”

    And really, why? I don’t care to turn my love of running into some competition with some other runner. It’s all about keeping it fun and exciting and challenging to myself–inward not outward is how I explain running to my wife. Writing, for me seems to be rather similar.

    Go Cindylu–wish I could run with you!

  3. Steve says:

    You inspire me, Cindy! You’re amazing! I’m going to see if I can muster a jog on the treadmill.

  4. drea says:

    i’m going to keep reading your fitness updates. i manage to always catch them when i’m on a down swing. i promise that tomorrow i will get up and run at least 2 miles at the gym.

    keep inspiring me cindy.

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