I hate running.
Let me say that again.
I hate running.
I know it’s a sin in some circles. And I’m not talking about a little venial sin. You know, the sins that don’t damn your soul. The ones where you go to confession and are absolved from it. No. I’m talking about the big daddy of them all; a cardinal sin. Some people I know would even include it in the 7 deadly sins. Runners take it that seriously.
I’ve heard it all:
“Running is great exercise.”
“The runner’s high is fabulous.”
“Everyone’s doing it.”
I know they are trying to be helpful but it makes me hate it all the more. Our service men and women have to run for PT. I get that. That’s forced on you whether you like it or not. And then there’s the Army or the Marine Corps marathons. It’s woven into the fabric of their souls.
But to choose to run? That’s where I draw the line.
Each year more and more of my military spouse friends are jumping on the running bandwagon. They start running groups on base. They post their training runs on Facebook. They Instagram themselves at the finish line of each race.
I even have a girlfriend who got lost during her first marathon. She ran farther than she had to because of it. That would’ve put me off forever.
There is that culture of running in the military so it makes sense that military spouses would feel the same way.
So every time there was a 5K on base or in town, and there’s always a race, spouses would start chattering about forming a team or signing up individually. For years I put them off. First off, I’m not an early bird. The only reason I woke up early was for my kids. And then let me tell you, I’m not a happy camper. And secondly (and most importantly), I hate running. I happily volunteered, but running? Nope.
A few years ago, my daughter was getting ready to enter the Air Force Academy. As part of her prep work, she ran. She wanted me to join her but I used my usual tactics and put her off. Besides, I had functions to attend and I already walked the dog every morning. She reminded me that I walked the dog on a 5K loop but I wasn’t convinced.
Later that year, there was a 60th anniversary celebration for the Airborne Warning and Control System. Our wing was hosting various events and one of them happened to include a 5K color fun run. My daughter pestered me so much that I signed up with her. But the caveat was that I was going to WALK it while she ran.
Fast-forward to the day of the event. All morning long my daughter was reminding me that I already did a 5K daily. My comeback was always that I walked it and didn’t run it. I hated running. We lined up at the start and when the gun went off, so did we. My daughter encouraged me to run and I did.
I’ll be the first to admit that the peer pressure got to me.
I ran the whole thing.
And I did it without stopping.
But hold the applause because I didn’t become a convert. There was no runner’s high and there was no sense of accomplishment. There was only annoyance that I was suckered into running.
Now, before you start scoffing at me, I’ve tried running at various points in my life.
When I was in high school, I joined the track team because I liked a boy. I was also overweight and I hoped that running would slim me down. I didn’t drop the weight and I eventually broke up with the boy.
In my 20s, I tried again. I got bored and annoyed so I stopped.
In my 30s, we adopted 2 pit bull mixes. I found that walking them twice a day wasn’t enough so I started running. I liked going in the woods but I didn’t like the running part.
Now, I run because I have to not because I want to. Don’t misconstrue that statement. It’s not a “I run because my body craves it.” As I said before, I’ve never felt that runner’s high. All I feel is the pounding of my feet on the pavement and the lack of oxygen into my lungs.
Actually, I will use any excuse to not run.
I had a chemical peel? Can’t overheat.
I broke my toe? Oops. Stay away from running.
I run because I have dogs that need the exercise and walking isn’t enough for them. Even then, I find myself telling everyone that I’m “interval training.” What that meant to me was that I ran until I didn’t want to and then I walked.
Last year my brother told me that interval training was ideal for your heart. Seven minutes of running followed by 7 minutes of walking. So that is what I do now. And again, it’s not because I enjoy it. It’s because I have to do it for my dogs.
So don’t judge me.
I’ll never be that girl who runs for fun. I won’t even be a person who runs for the health benefits. I’ll be the cheerleader for the runners. Or I’ll volunteer to hand out water. And that’s how I’ll connect with my tribe.