Sunday, June 13, 2010

In The Long Run...

Last week I went for a seven mile run down a beautiful trail near my home. It was a gorgeous day with temps in the low 70's, zero humidity, and lots of tall, full trees shading my path.  The birds sang to me along the way, and chipmunks scurried across the trail in front of me.  To be honest, I can't think of a more perfect morning. Except that I was running.  I really hate running!

Here's the thing, though.  I run just about every morning, I have for the past twenty five years or so.  I rarely miss a day.  But I hate it.

I've incorporated sprints, hill repeats, the works.  I wear a heart rate monitor and gage my workout effort and calories burned.  I'm actually pretty fast.  But I hate it.

I've had injuries (caused from running too much) that have required surgery. I stop running for the required rehab period, dutifully perform my physical therapy to recover properly, and am soon "hitting the trail" once again.  But I hate it.

We made a move recently from Florida to Pennsylvania because of my husband's work.  One of my only three demands issued upon moving was that he buy me a treadmill, so that I could continue running throughout the winter months.  But I hate it.

Here's the thing:  I run to keep my dress size in the single digits.  Period.  Throughout my life, I have searched (and searched!) for a more effective cardio-vascular exercise form that increases my heartbeat and burns fat as efficiently as running, and have found none. Cycling, aerobics, elliptical machine, stair-master, Zumba, swimming, Nordic Track, yoga, circuit training, all have failed in comparison.  Running, quite simply, gives me the most "bang for my buck."  I can run for 3.75 miles in 30 minutes and burn more fat than pedaling for an hour and a half on the bike, no matter how fast I go.

So, everyday, for 30-60 minutes, I run.  Even though I hate it.  I figure I can withstand one hour of hating something in order to enjoy the other twenty-three in non-fat bliss.  It's a fair trade, don't you think?

A few years back, my sister, Laura got involved in a running group that trained for the Chicago Marathon. She LOVED it, and told me I needed to enter races in order to find running fun, as she had.  I was skeptical.  I told her the term "Fun Run" seemed like an oxymoron to me.

That same year, at Alan's restaurant convention in Vegas, the planning committee announced that they'd be holding a 5K run the next day, and encouraged all employees and their spouses to enroll.  In Vegas.  You know, hot, dusty, DESERT Vegas!  Alan begged me to enter.  I said no.  He told me he'd buy me a cute new running outfit if I did.  So the next day, when I showed up at the starting line in my cute new running outfit, I was a little amazed at how nervous I felt.  I guess the butterflies helped, though, because I won!  Yep.  First for the ladies.  Got a medal and everything!  Alan proudly hugged me as I crossed the finish line. And as I gave him a sweaty, dusty hug back, I sweetly whispered into his ear, "Never again!"  Because I hated it.

I've entered a few more races since then; a 10K, 5-miler, even a half-marathon.  And I can honestly say I haven't enjoyed any of them.  To the right is a picture of me, #869, just finishing a 10K race.  Look how HAPPY I am!!  Seriously, I see the joyful, smiling faces of my fellow competitors, and I honestly don't get it!

I subscribe to Runner's World Magazine, and in it the various authors discuss how when it's raining buckets outside, or the temperature is below freezing and the sun hasn't even come up yet, they still can't WAIT to lace up the running shoes and head outside!  Freaks.  All of them!  Because the truth is, I'm out there running in the rain, cold and dark, too.  I'm just the only one saying, "Boy, this really SUCKS!!"

But a funny thing has happened since I've been doing all this running over the years.  I'm in great shape.  Although my weight may fluctuate, my blood pressure is terrific, and my heart and lungs are strong and clear.  Whenever I'm faced with anything remotely cardio-vascular in nature (mountain climbing, biking, hiking), it's usually relatively easy for me to accomplish.  There are some medical specialists who even believe that my running habit has served in keeping my inherited lymphoma in the "lazy, not-ever-going-to-kill-me" stage, rather than the severe form that killed my grandmother.

So we've made our peace, Running and I.  We tolerate each other quite well, I think.  I give Running 30-60 minutes of my day, and in return, it gives me a healthy, low fat body and a glowing report from my physician every year.  But I think we're both in agreement, no more stupid races.  Those things are just ridiculous.  Stupid.  (Wanna see my medal?)

Thanks for reading!!

47 comments:

A Vintage Chic said...

Loved this post! I've been battling the fat all my life...finally lost 55 pounds last year and have kept it off for a year...I KNOW I need to start running to maintain and get better...but I don't WANT to! You've inspired me to possibly give it a try.

Thanks for sharing your success, and for your humorous honesty about your hatred of running--made me laugh and inspired me at the same time--thanks!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Julie

Feeling Just Right said...

Ha! Joan, you got a medal for running, at such short notice! I have never run in my life. Pathetic. I want to. It looks so fun and liberating- okay, don't disown me- no fun. I want to run, though.

I keep putting it off for later. I think I know what I need. I need a track that is as pretty as the one you're running on! I even stopped the little walks I was venturing out on because the park is so over-populated. Sigh.

I'm telling you- enter more races and then, because you hate it, I'll willingly take your medals. No worries. How's that??!

Eva Gallant said...

Kudos for keeping up the running when you hate it! You look terrific. It's obviously working for you.

lori said...

Wow girl - that is self-discipline at it's best. You inspire me. Maybe I should run and hate it too. A healthy and beautiful bod is a pretty fair trade-off.

Charlene said...

I admire you.

I'm not going to run unless someone is chasing me, but I admire you.

Momma Fargo said...

LOL. I feel the same way.

Mumsy said...

No running for me.

I have tried many things and different ways to control my weight and stay healthy, but never running. You have more of what it takes than I do sweet lady to keep up with something you do not enjoy doing for so many years. BRAVO!!! Hugs

Sylvia K said...

Good for you! I ran at one time until my knees refused to support me anymore. Fortunately, I don't have a weight problem, but the rest of me could do with the exercise! Bravo! indeed! Hope you've had a great weekend!

Sylvia

Ally said...

what an awesome post. good for you! i envy you for keeping up something so steadily.

i wish i could run. i've been walking as fast as possible (on a treadmill because i hate being in the heat or out in public). although i can't compare my walking to your running, i will say that it seems to be the highest and fastest calorie burn i'm able to find. however, i thought lifting weights was? someone once told me when you lift weights the calorie burn continues for 24 hours.

Joanie M said...

Running, huh? Hmmm..... maybe I need to give it a try. I'l have to start with walking, because this fat ass ain't gonna run anywhere right now. But if I start to incorporate alittle running into my wlking,then maybe, just maybe, I'll get this bootie into shape.

PA huh? Anywhere near Pottstown (about 40 miles NW of Philly)?

Pearl said...

I ran cross-country in high school. While I no longer run, I do yoga for the very reason you run. :-)

Pearl

Brittany said...

Oh I hate running!! Especially in the Ohio humidity! I always tell the hubs I need a treadmill and I will run more, but I really think it's an excuse. My knees are terrible (3 surgeries and I'm only 25), but I can't always use that excuse either!! I need to find my inner "anything fits a naked man". :)

Elle said...

I admire you. I wish I had your discipline! I am horribly out of shape, because I refuse to do anything I don't like, and I haven't yet found an exercise I do like. I think it's incredible that you remain so committed to something that you actually hate. WOW!

Everyday Goddess said...

I hate running too, so I don't do it. I water jog at the pool with resistance weights, and I love it. I have slimmed down all over and I love that too.

I have to say, it bums me out to hear that you hate doing something and still do it, the massage therapist that I am won't let me be silent.

lifeshighway said...

I hate running and I applaud that you do so. I live with an exercise fanatic and I have learned to ignore him and his obsessions.

rxBambi said...

I actually *kinda* like it. Funny that you wrote about running today cuz I wrote -- wait BEGGED -- for people's workout play lists cuz I'm bored with mine. Back in the day I was a cross country runner (read: high school) but I took oh about 20 years off. I've started getting back into it over the last couple years, but I'm still only at about the 3 mile mark. 30 minutes for 3 miles most days of the week (plus strength training 3 days a week). Yet I'm still a size 10 :( I think it might be the wine keeping the weight on and I'm just not prepared to give that up yet.

anyway, you've inspired me to keep doing it. Like I said, I kinda like it. At least I don't *dread* it. And I feel better when I'm done. plus I was called a "milf" a couple months back so it must be working, right??

Kakka said...

I can't imagine running if I hated it. I don't run because of arthritis in my body which struggles for me to walk let alone run. I love swimming for that reason but even that I have to talk myself into. So I love you have the stamina to run, even though you hate it and that you have come to peace with running. If it keeps you that healthy then it is certainly the right fit for you. Do you not get the runner's high that everyone talks about? I know my hubby loved to run before he kept getting stress fractures in his feet - he still misses it all these years later.

Cheeseboy said...

Wow. As a runner, this was SO INTERESTING to me. I don't hate or love it, but I do it because it is good for me and I like the alone time. The running I don't like so much, but the being outside, all by myself with my thoughts I love.

Plus, I guess it is good for you. I really loved this post.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

OMG, I just started running! And I abhor it because it hurts and it makes me feel achy and sore and out of breath, but I'm up to 2 miles, and now I can eat more yummies, and I feel better about myself--so that part, I love. And yeah, my adrenaline does kick in and gives me endorphins or something because after, I feel great. But while running, I absolutely detest it.

*high five for the 7 miles today!*

Lynne said...

It's true. There's nothing like running to change one's body so dramatically. I hate it too, and can only run/walk two miles before my knees start hurting, but it's the only way I can keep a pooch from forming.

Kellyansapansa said...

You are so inspiring! I spent an hour on the treadmill at the gym on Saturday. Of that hour I managed to run for four minutes. Two minutes at a time. I don't know how you do it!

ReformingGeek said...

WOW! Congrats on winning that 5K in Vegas.

Ha! You are smiling in that photo. ;-)

I know what you mean about the best bang for the buck. That's why I started running again in 2006 after a 20 year break.

I love running, not like some of the folks you read about, but I do enjoy a good run. I wish you did. ;-(

Denise said...

Inspirational! I don't run because I can sprain my ankle just about as easily as I can look at it, either one they're not particular. I've been doing that since I was about 11. I'm also a pretty professional klutz! I love to walk though and noticed when I did my ankle in for a year my weight shot up, with subsequent hip pain that was pretty grueling. I'm just about ready to start walking in earnest again because I have truly missed it and I am desperate to lose that weight, eating well just doesn't do it alone, exercise is the key for me and as I get older I begin to realize it is so important for good health. I just have to make sure I strap my ankles up pretty tight and hope I don't cut the circulation off :) I miss all the sights because I'm too busy looking at where my feet are going. BUT small price to pay for good health.

An English Girl Rambles.

The Urban Cowboy said...

I just ran across your blog, so running can't be all that bad, right?

Eternally Distracted said...

Oh my... I read your first sentence and fainted with exhaustion. Seven miles? You are my hero!!

Teresa Evangeline said...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...I ran. Three miles a day. I think I was supposed to read this today...

Delana said...

I LOVE to finally hear a runner say they hate it. I don't run because I hate it but runners are always telling me how wonderful it is. Thanks for the truth! I think I'm a sprinter not a runner in most things I do! And kudos to you Joan. I would never do something that long that I detest. And all your hard work really shows!

Icy BC said...

What a wonderful post! I admire you so much for doing what is good even though you hate it. I guess we can quietly tolerate anything, and get along even if we don't like it.

Kristin said...

I'm SO jealous! 1. Of temps in the 70s...it was in the 100s here this weekend...2. Of your running. My bum knees won't let me anymore. BOO! Yay for being in great shape! I'm getting back on the workout train myself...it's been way too long!

p.s. Thank you so much for following BonBon Rose Girls. We just got our own .com, so I'll hope you'll follow us there too at: http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com. We are having giveaways galore this month in celebration of our move. Right now we've got two $95 hapari swimsuit gift certificates and a Kate Spade ring up for grabs right now! Hugs, K

Krista said...

You sure are devoted - good for you! Personally, the only time I run is if something is chasing me. And not just anything old thing either... it has to be LARGE and REALLY SCARY.

And... I do some mental calculations first to determine if it's even worth it. Here's an example...

big scary bear is chasing me.

Quick math: can I get in my car before bear catches and eats me?

Yes: RUN! Get in the car!

No: Meh... I'll stay put and take my chances.

hehehe

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I totally agree with you about running being the most efficient form of exercise, without it I'd look like a pumpkin lol. I've been running for about 25 years so sadly while my heart is in great shape, my knees are not, and I also sprain my ankles with depressing regularity. I'm just starting back again after the last bout of injury and illness and I'm actually enjoying it, it's time for myself, and it makes me feel great :)

HeartsMakeFamilies said...

I wish I had that dedication. I've been thinking about just walking lately. I need to get my butt in gear.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

*Envy*

I also hate running. And I wish, oh so bad, I had your fortitude.

LucyCooper said...

I'm one of the freaks. Not about running, mind you, but about the gym. I absolutely love the feeling of my target heart rate, and the feeling of moving down a weight pin. FREAK! But like you, it's the trade off I love so much more. I eat what I want and sleep so much better when I'm faithful to it. oh, and your thigh muscle is amazing!

Tash said...

You are one amazing woman. No runner's high (I once tried getting to that point...never made it), an you keep going. Funny part is that 99% of us hate it too, and only 0.001% actually keep at it even thought they hate it. At 51 (did I just say that? Can't be me...) I'm trying to shake the 25 pounds I've hung on to for past 2 year ...so I better quit farting around and hit the road. Thx for finding my MostlyLACounty blog, for your nice comments, and for being a follower...I'll keep you posted on my RUNNING progress.

Stacie said...

I really admire people that can run, even if they do hate it. I messed up my knee fairly badly when I was younger from playing soccer so my running days, even for fun, are pretty much done. I wish I could because I miss it (usually it's just a sometimes, I won't try and let you think it's an all the time thing) but keep up the good work :-)

Taylor-Made Wife said...

I have that same love/hate relationship with running, but unfortunately the hate wins out more than the love, so I never run as long as I would like to.

eventer79 said...

Hey, just wanted to say I really like the new template! Much better and clearer than the old one, easy to read, kudos!

Linda Myers said...

I'm sure my knees wouldn't tolerate a run, but I walk two miles most days during my lunch hour. I wear a pedometer and strive for 10,000 steps a day, which is hard when the weather is bad and I don't feel like getting on the treadmill. Still, while my sedentary colleagues go out for lunch or eat chips at their desks, I take a little bit of care of myself.

Still, running when you hate it!

m e l i g r o s a said...

inspiring!! my lady wow
very cool
i had an acl injury and always think that if i cycle+drink beers +gain weight then ill recurr to running...
awesome pic +great post, as usual
xxo.m

The Old Geezer said...

I get tired just watching people run. The look of pain in their face scares me. I think I'll just stick to my 3 to 4 mile a day walk around the neighborhood. That's about all this Old Geezer can handle.

Helena said...

You are so right...running is the best bang for the buck! That's why I just dusted off my own really old(!) running shoes. My metabolism has started slowing down so much and I can't abide the 2-digit dress size. So I, too, will have to endure. 'Cause it ain't fun! Thanks for the inspiration!

Chanz said...

Hi,

Thanks for dropping by..

You know what.. I really hate to run.. Though your description does suit in to be a perfect morning but I'd rather stay indoors and sit by the window.

Getting My Words Out said...

I'm so jealous. Here I LOVE to run and yet it doesn't love me back. I give it my all, and yet it returns nothing. It takes no pounds off my hind end, no digits off my dress size...not minutes off my PR. And, still, it has all the adoration and obsession of my mind, heart and sole (spelling is correct). Forever it will be so...even if my love remains unrequited. You on the other get all it has to offer....yes, I am immeasurably JEALOUS!!!! :D

(Remind me NOT to ever run with you.)

Love the new look.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

p.s.~ I've now thought of this post multiple times and been like, sigh - I should stop being lazy and start running.

Then I go back to blogging.

Still, at least now I'm thinking about running - there has to be some reward for that, right?

Right?

California Girl said...

After reading this, I feel the need to exercise!

Nicolasa said...

Ohhh how I love running! I just bought some new summer running gear. I can't wait to hit the pavement! I did my first 5 K a few weeks ago and am still living off the high!

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