Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm Going to Blather About Running Now

Bear with me.

I try not to write or talk about running too much. I don't want to sound fanatical or obsessed. I've accused of fanaticism/obsession regarding piano, backpacking, writing, MBTI personality types, grammar, maps, cats, Duran Duran*, baking, bearded men, wildflowers, iambic pentameter, religion, the color purple, anagrams, and various other things. I don't like being accused of fanaticism. It implies that I'm ... I don't know. Not the most stable girl in the world, I guess. (Not that I ever claimed to be, but still ...)

I also hesitate to write about how running has given my physique a total makeover. I don't want women to read this and think I'm bragging. Because I'm not a bragger-type. But maybe the things I write about running will inspire some readers to go out for a run themselves. Several of my readers already have done so (as a result of reading this blog), and believe me, that is so encouraging to Yours Truly.

I just love running. I love so many things about it. I love the way it makes me feel (except for that sluggish first mile of every run). Hubster loves the fact that I'm nearly always happy. True, I take happy drugs, but I've had to take happy drugs for much of my adult life. I've only once felt as continually good as running makes me feel, and that's when I was on my thru-hike.

I love the fact that I got to eat half a pizza and drink two glasses of wine last night ... and that I ran most of those calories off today.

Running has cleared up my skin. It has worked wonders for my digestive system. It has brought me some new friends. It has allowed me to appreciate the beauty of western North Carolina up-close. Hiking does that too, of course, but running takes less time and preparation, so it's more convenient and I can do it more often.

I love the fact that running has cost me all of $120, which I spent on my first pair of running shoes last July. I know ... probably not the best idea to buy the really good shoes when you haven't even started running yet ... but I just had a feeling about these shoes.

I underwent an hour-long physical-fitness assessment this week and learned that I'm in better shape than 87% of women my age in America. And that I actually need to eat more cake and cookies carbohydrates in order to keep my body fat at a healthy level. And that I weigh exactly what I'm supposed to weigh. All because of running.

Running has made my hair blonder. After all those years and dollars of paying for highlights, I've found that a few days of running outside turns my hair lighter than the actual chemical highlights. Go figure.

Running has made the back-of-thigh cellulite go away. And since I started running, the Hubster keeps telling me how "hot" I am. Yes, this thrills me to no end.

Running has made me more confident. Thanks to running, I no longer fear that I'll fall back into the bulimic-style habits that have plagued me for so many years.

Running has helped me to deal with life's stresses, of which there have been many lately. When I'm upset, I go run. When I'm stuck in my writing and need to let ideas work themselves out, I go run. If I feel Depression encroaching on my space, I go run. And so far, lumbering Depression hasn't been able to keep up with me.

Running's helped my tennis game. I'm faster. More energetic. I run down every ball. I'm stronger. I'm hitting the ball harder. My reflexes are better. My mind is sharper. All because of running.

I still love long-distance hiking, and I probably love long-distance hiking more, to tell the truth, but running sure is a nice substitute for when a backpacking trip isn't an option.

I've put a lot of hours into running. I've run at least three, and usually four, days a week since the end of July. When I started, I couldn't run for five minutes without getting winded. Now I can run for three hours and still feel great afterward.

Running has given me that wonderful sense of accomplishment that comes with setting and working toward goals. It's similar to the experiences of accomplishment offered by playing a musical instrument, writing a novel, or working toward a degree. Only you also get to start looking "hot" (according to Hubster) in the process. How cool is that?

Running is awesome. Today as I stood in line at K-Mart to buy Operation Christmas Child gifts, I saw all of the magazines that advertise articles on losing those last 10 pounds, making those thighs thinner, and eating those holiday foods without adding on the pounds. And I just thought, Interesting. Every one of those articles could be one word long: "Run."

Okay. Blathering running-post over. I've gotten the rabid fanaticism out of my system for now. Back to our regularly scheduled blog.

*Okay, so I'll admit to having been obsessed with Duran Duran back in 1984. But that was before I saw the light and discovered Mozart.

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