Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Running With a Purpose

I used to hate running. In grade school, my gym teacher would make us run a mile and she'd time us, too. I would literally cry inside my head because I dreaded it so. My lungs would burn so bad and my timing would suck which, in turn, made me feel like I sucked.

This is how I felt through high school, too. Running...who needed it, anyway? It's not like I wanted to be a track star. Give me my pompons. Running onto and off of the court during time outs was enough for me. And then I got to college where everyone was doing it. You were cool if you went for a run in between classes.

I wanted to be a cool runner girl.
But I still sucked air every time I tried it.

That's how power walking became my thing. When I got my first apartment, I developed a route from my door to the beach...

...and back. I don't know how long of a path it was, but one day it wasn't enough.

And that's when I became a runner.

I'd walk, add some running, then walk some more. Repeat, repeat and repeat until suddenly I was running more than I was walking. And then I stopped walking completely.

That was in 2006.
In 2011, I got pregnant.

That's when I stopped running. Well, when I hit my seventh month of pregnancy and I could no longer make it around the track once without having to pee.

January 3, 2012.

The day I gave birth to our daughter Hannah. All thoughts off of running.

It took about a month for me to really feel like getting up and moving again, and even then, I'd just walk very...very slowly around the track at the gym with my girl strapped into an infant carrier. At my six-week checkup, my doctor said it was all-systems-go for exercise. So I went. Slowly. Three and a half months after the birth of my daughter, I'm kickin' butt and takin' names again. But I've lost my running mojo.

I'm running without a purpose.
Or a schedule.

It's less than motivating.

I keep thinking back to 2009. The year I trained for and ran the Chicago Half Marathon. To this day, it remains the longest race I've ever done. I keep my bib and my training log in a "reference" folder with all the rest of my fitness and blog files. Today, I pulled it out:

I needed to remind myself why I do, in fact, like to run. And that when I run on a schedule, I'm much better at it—and I enjoy it more, oddly enough. To run on a schedule is to run with purpose. At least that's how I feel. Often, to run on a schedule is to have an end goal, too.

I had every intention of running The Color Run 5K in Chicago this summer, but it sold out in a flash (damn). So now I have my sights set on The Hartford Strawberry Run 10K in a small town not too far from where I live. I like strawberries, so why not. And I still want to run The Hot Chocolate 15K in the fall in Chicago. (Obviously I love chocolate, too.)

For me, a 10K is one of those races that lies in between fun and hard work. It's not the greatest of distances, but it's more than a 5K. So I'll need to train. Read: I'll need to run with a purpose.


I headed out (yep, on the streets) for a three-miler tonight. It felt so good. And as soon as I hit send, I'm going to revisit the running log pictured above and tweak it to my new life schedule (translation: Hannah's schedule) and the fact that I've got about eight weeks to get this body back up to 6-mile form.

I think I can do it.
I've found a way to run with a purpose.

Question: Why do you run? What is your greatest running achievement?


Toni Cozad said...

Why not do the Ann Arbor color run?

adailydoseoffit said...

How did I not know there was one?! I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the tip!

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