Running Tuesdays: “You Do That On Purpose?”

By Michael Wilder

I always love conversations that start off with, “So what do you like to do for fun?” In response to that question I usually respond with the typical stuff of spending time with family or hanging out with friends. Eventually, my love of running does find its way into the conversation. Thus brings the follow up question “Why do you run?” or “Why would you put your body through that?” I just simply tell them it makes me feel good, which satisfies their need to know why. But just because my response is simple, simple it is not (Yoda Voice).

In order to understand why I run I have to go back to where it started. In high school, I was on the track team which meant running regularly. But you graduate high school and then what…Life is what! Life gets busy and without a designated time or motivation to run it is not on the radar. Business in life for me was college, marriage, and work. Then motivation hit hard in 2010. I remember one night after eating at Olive Garden I came home and got on the scale. I never weighed myself because frankly I never cared about such things. But that night I did and was shocked to see 220 pounds staring back at me. When I graduated high school in 2004 I weighed 175 pounds, and now in 2010 I had gained 45 pounds. So this shocking news became my motivation to run. It started off slow with just interval training and only a few miles a week. Then I went longer, faster, and the weight started going down. Fast forward to today, and I am back at my high school weight of 175 pounds. So in the beginning I ran because of my weight. And to be honest I still do. There are times where I run so my guilt of eating will be offset. There are times where I look down at my body and see 220 pounds and not 175 pounds. Running and your physical body starts as a mental attitude not a physical one.

The other reason why I run lies with my work ethic. I am driven by personal motivation. I see something I want and I go after it. Another way to say it is thinking of the end in mind. On long runs people say take 1 mile at a time. For me, I always think about the end in mind. I think about what the course does on mile 12 while I am on mile 2, or my favorite thing to think about is eating a peanut butter bagel and ice coffee at the end of a run (I always eat the same thing after every run). I visualize what I need to do, go out and do it, and it feels great when I accomplish it! Running is like the reset button for my body, both physically and mentally. Running just allows me to get refocused on life.

When I say I run because it makes me feel good, what I mean is…

  • …I run because I care about my weight and how I look.
  • …I run because I like the challenge.
  • …I run because it refocuses my mind.
  • …I run because of peanut butter bagels and ice coffee.
  • …I run because I can.

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