Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My running buddy would cry

Hanging up my running shoes. Thinking of it. My knees ache and grind and sometimes when I’m sitting for a while it is all I can do to straighten my legs. I’m just wondering how much of an impact not running would have on my life. I’ve run for the past 17 years: 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons……..with an ultra as my goal for my 50th birthday. To stop running would require redefining who I am. I've always been a runner.

It feels like I’ve always run. Somedays I’m running toward something, other days I’m running away. Running makes me special. It keeps me healthy- mentally and physically. It makes me a good role model for my kids. It is my one redeeming quality and the only proof that I am visible in a sea of invisible middle-aged women. I’m a runner.

If I quit running, what will I do? When my husband and I argue, he always tells me to ‘go for a run’. What will I do then? I can’t run away! Whenever I need to plan something or practice a presentation, I practice to the beat of my feet hitting the ground. I enjoy all four seasons on my runs. Some of my best memories are of runs I’ve taken: the first snow, the first robin, the flocks of gobblers right before turkey season that I told no one about, the fields of daylilies that are blindingly beautiful when open on a bright, summer morning, the hidden secrets I’ve noticed out in the woods: foundations of old homes, barns, bridges. . . . I would miss all of this. And I just can’t get the same satisfaction out of a walk.

How can I give up running? It’s like giving up a best friend! I don't think I can give up running – but I think a compromise is in order. Jeff Galloway has an excellent plan to ‘run until you are 100’. I own the book – I think I own most all books written about running and the lore of running. What if I walk a bit? But mostly run? And on days I don’t feel it, mostly walk. Chirunning is also an option – and I have spent a small fortune of DVDs, books, tapes showing me how to perfect my posture and running position so that I am eliminating the strain on my hips, back, and knees. I will do this. There is no need to give up running.

Am I still a runner?

I am.

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