Since I started writing this blog a few months ago, I've received a lot of support and some questions, most notably: what exactly is the point? I have no intention to sell anything on it, and it doesn't endorse anyone or anything. I have a more-than-full-time job, and no one pays me to write, so why am I doing this? The simple answer is, of course, pure narcissism. But there is actually more to it than that.
Like a person with religion, I very much feel the need to spread the good news of running. I don't try to "convert" people to it, and try not to push back too hard when I hear things like "I've just never been able to run." Everyone has their right fit, and needs to find their own path to it. But I believe that running has lessons to teach everyone, whether they actually run or not. I have hard days when life is throwing up one obstacle after another to getting it done. I insist on finding a way to knock it out. I have physical challenges, including bad knees (requiring surgery when I was a teen), and scoliosis. I've learned to be gentle on myself, which remarkably has made me a faster and stronger runner than in the days when I pushed. I get way, way too inside my own head somedays. So I take myself outside.
I'm happy to say that I have played a part in a few "conversions" through the years. I can't say that any of these folks wouldn't have started running without my influence - surely, they would have - but I love that I've been able to play a part in supporting them as they got started, began racing, and eventually started to identify as runners.
|Alicia, after her first half-marathon, which we ran together. (And good friend Becky, herself a dedicated runner!)|
|Ian, who braves crazy weather and juggles a difficult schedule to get in his runs. My hero!|
|Krista, after her first half-marathon, which we ran together. She likes to say that she hates running, but she just keeps signing up for more, so I know she's lying.|
|Yooli, who recently celebrated the ten-year anniversary of her first marathon! Here we are at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2003. We rocked it. (Special shout-out to Sarah, the ultimate marathon support crew member.)|
They have seen the light!
So what is the point? For me, the point is helping a struggling new runner feel part of a community that supports them on the tough days, and celebrates their successes. The point is helping a seasoned runner who's hit a roadblock, faced an injury, or just can't get their butt off the couch that day to reconnect with the pure joy of running. The point is reaching people who don't run and perhaps providing some motivation to undertake whatever kind of challenge would be meaningful to them. More than anything, it's to help me further understand myself - and to be understood by those around me.