Thursday, March 31, 2011

Once a Runner

A lot of people hate running. I’m one of them. The only thing different about me and a lot of people is that I’ve run a few marathons. Full ones, not those wussy half ones.

It’s amazing that I thrice ran 26.2 miles and spent a collective one year of my life training and running almost every single day to do so. I might run once a month now. Actually, that’s a lie. Once every two months. Okay, every three.

What I do like about marathon training is feeling fit. Not just looking it, but also feeling healthier and stronger and more badassier in general. Yet I decided about a year and a half ago that I was done with marathons (although watch. I bet I do a few more). So I had to seek fitness elsewhere.

That wasn’t so easy. Since all I ever did was run, pretty consistently from age 14 to about 23, I didn’t know what else I enjoyed doing. I knew what I didn’t like. I hate machines — elliptical, treadmill, stairmaster and the like — because they make me feel like a robot and anything I can do while watching TV feels like fake exercise to me. I hate group exercise classes — cardio salsa, body pump, things like that — because they make me feel like I’m at cheerleading tryouts. I hate lifting weights; so so so so boring. Also, I hate running.

It’s taken a long time for me to figure out what I actually like. I decided I enjoy things that move me from point A to point B; I now bike to work, to run errands, and sometimes to restaurants and bars if there aren’t going to be too many drinks involved. I like things that don’t involve equipment or special gear (one reason why I did commit to running for as long as I did. It’s a pretty cheap sport); I swim twice a week usually. And I like things that challenge me in ways that I have never challenged myself before; I try to make it to a yoga class twice a week. As someone who has been referred to as hunchback and Splinter (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, cuz he was hunched over I guess), I’ve never had the strength to even really stand up straight for more than a few minutes at a time. Ever single yoga class challenges me to improve my posture.

So now, I’ve settled into a nice and varied routine of biking, swimming and yoga each week. I am not terribly good at any of those things, but I’m better than, say, someone who never bikes, swims or does yoga. And it’s not about being better than anyone really. It’s about feeling healthier, stronger and morebadassier in general. Which I think I am, depending on the day.

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