Run Because You Can

A few months ago, there was a super ridiculous, poorly written piece on the internet from a dude who hates runners because we’re the type of people that put stickers on our cars and we talk about our mileage and people know that we like to run.  Whatever.

I’m of the persuasion that if you don’t like my Tweets and Facebook updates about running then you should probably just ignore them or block me.  Super simple.

What I loved about the article is that runners of all abilities started asking themselves and then telling the internet why they run.  I was one of those runners.  I’ve thought about why I run for a long time and this piece lay in draft,  Then it hit me last week.

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Last Sunday, MB and I went wine tasting with my cousin and his wife.  When we got home, I noticed that my cousin’s younger sister posted that one of her friends from high school died.  Ugh the WORST. I thought.  Immediately I just assumed that it was drugs, alochol, a car accidnet or an ugly combination there of.  And his name was Ryan.

Wait, Ryan?  Like my OTHER cousin’s boyfriend?

I clicked over to her profile and there it was, her public tribute to her now deceased boyfriend.

He was 20.  His birthday was 3 days before mine.  He had a heart condition.  He died in his sleep in his dorm room.

Immediately, I wanted to go out and run.  Run away from the how unbelievalbely sad the situation was.  And run toward a little peace and a little clarity.  And it was in that moment that I sprung from the couch that I know why I run.

I run because I can. My heart works, my legs work, my lungs work.  I run because everyday that I wake up, I know that even that simple act of taking the new day’s air in and out is not guaranteed.  And that has to be celebrated — and we each have to celebrate it in our own way.  For runners, that celebration is sometimes loudly with big races but mostly quietly with solitary runs — just you and the road.

Sure, I love medals and “free” t-shirts {Seriously, runners have the most expensive collection of cotton and tech shirts.  Ever.}.  I love my new and old running friends and I love #runchat on Sunday night.  But what I can’t explain to people who don’t run and who don’t race is how much I love that feeling, when my legs are burning, and my chest is aching and my mind is done when I see the finish line.  Of checking off the training run when I did not want to.  Of pinning on the bib and thanking my legs and my lungs before every race for getting me to this point just one more time.  That’s something that you can’t really articulate on a car magnet {of which I am a proud owner} or a medal rack {of which I requested a custom design} or your blog about running and the profound affect it has had on your life.  A life you feel lucky to live.

I called my mom and asked her how our family was holiding up — they were close to my cousin’s boyfriend and everyone is understandably broken.  I haven’t been able to tell them yet how sorry I am or how deeply saddened I am by their loss, by everyone’s loss.  I’m still having a hard time saying it.

I’m hoping I sort it out on my next run.

One thought on “Run Because You Can

  1. Gina says:

    So well put, L.

    I find myself needing the run, just to get it all out. I wallow less when I run more.

    The other day, while I was in the basement on the elliptical, Jude said to Mike, “I want to run with Mommy.” I was so elated. The other reason I run is for him, and I can’t wait to do it together someday, may my knees and hips, and the rest of me hold out!

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