To Run or Not to Run?
There should be no question. The fact is this: I can run. But…
7 excuses not to run. Plus 7 counter-excuses.
Note: I don’t own a treadmill or belong to a ‘club’, so running outside is my only option.
- It’s cold. When the weather is questionable for running, I check the weather no less than 15 times before I make a decision. The other day was 25 degrees and felt like 16. That’s damn cold. Counter excuse: So the f**k what? I have all the necessary running gear and once ran when it was 20 below wind chill. My cut off is 10 below. That is when I can dress warm enough to remain comfortable and not have my eyelashes crystalize. Added bonus: My uber-cold running attire would scare off any potential attackers (that’s me in the photo below).
- It’s windy. The way wind pushes against me and makes noise irritates me. Counter excuse: Wind can make me feel part of this world as I work with and against the forces of nature. I can relate to it. Wind is temperamental as am I. Go with the wind!
- I think I have a ganglion cyst. It’s on the top of my left foot below the ankle. Just beneath the spot where I tie my running shoe. It feels… funny. And—just in case you didn’t find my feet repelling enough—the lump has an unsightly under-the-skin-spider-egg sac appearance. Counter excuse: It’s not deadly (as far as I know, but I’m going to a foot doctor next week) and really doesn’t hurt. The subtle pressure of its existence is just an uncomely annoyance.
- It’s not sunny. On murky days, I don’t like to run because I can’t wear sunglasses and, invariably, I’m not wearing make-up at the time I consider running. That means any onlookers will see the sinister dark circles under my eyes. Add a hat to the equation and I am certified scary! Counter excuse: Why should I care what I look like when carrying on a physical activity outdoors? The mere fact that I’m running should cancel out my lack of spiff.
- I’m bored of the neighborhood. And boredom is not the kind of jargon you want lurking about when considering a run. In order to get a change of scenery, I have to carve out an additional 10 minutes or 20-30 minutes by bike. Who’s got the time for that? Plus, forget the bike! I’m not training for a bi-athlon here! Counter excuse: A change of scenery is right around the corner! That small slice out of a day is hardly worth complaining about. If I drive my car, my environmentally conscious side can be appeased by tying in a couple of necessary errands before or after the run. And how can I complain about the neighborhood, by the way? There are woods and creeks, hills and winding roads. Get over myself and mix up the routes. There’s plenty to work with here.
- No time. Lack of time is probably one of the most used excuses in the book (see #5). Counter excuse: I’m healthy overall and will feel better if I squeeze the mere 30 minutes out of my day to run. It may prevent illness down the road and who has time for illness? Couldn’t I just not hop onto facebook that day, which can suck even more time out of my precious life?
- I don’t feel like it. Counter excuse: Come on. Really?! I’m not locked in prison. And what better way to show my gratitude for functional feet and legs than to use them as they were intended? Besides, running makes me feel alive, regardless of the weather, and improves my mood. Outdoor runs are invigorating and I know it. I can run and therefore I must.
Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right. ~ Henry Ford
If this guy found a way to run, what’s my excuse?
When South African Oscar Pistorius was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. Known as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man on no legs”, Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (sport class T44) events and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Ossur.
To run might not always be possible, but I will do it as long as I can. It is not, mind you, the only thing I do—I take brisk walks, eliptical-ize, weight train and do yoga and pilates. To get up and move around in some fashion well into my later years is a goal. My great Aunt Lu swam every day at the Y well into her 80′s and lived to be 90-something. Voices echo in my head that I’ll eventually get injured or age faster by running. These are voices that go back years. From relatives to complete strangers. But because I’m stubborn, I ignore the voices. I do, however, pay close attention to what my body parts tell me (yes, they talk to me). And I play it smart by avoiding icy roads and uneven surfaces. Have I ever been injured? Yes. But I have something to show for it: The Chicago Marathon in 2005. I was slightly injured before, completed the race, suffered a post injury, recovered and decided never to train for a race again. I run to run. To be.
PS. I made it out the other day despite the chill and guess what? I not only survived, the run was invigorating!
What’s your biggest obstacle to running or other exercise?
* Originally published on my blog, Putting It Out There.
Image of painted runner’s legs by Northcoast Footcare.