Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Why is that lady running?"

Yesterday I was running along a footpath in Coronado, past the city's beautiful recreation center gym and pool, both of which open right out onto the beach. (Fairly amazing.) As I approached a father and his young son, I could overhear the conversation:

As they passed the fitness center: "Dad, why are those people exercising?"
"Because they want to be healthy."

As they reached the lap pool: "Dad, why are those people swimming?"
"Because it's a hot day, and it's fun!"

As I ran past: "Dad, why is that lady running?"
"Now that, son, I really don't know."

He was being cheeky, making sure that he spoke loud enough that I'd hear, so I turned and gave them a laugh and a wave as I kept on. I like to think that the conversation kept going after I was out of earshot, that maybe Dad told his son something about the joy that many people feel when they run, or ticked off some of its many benefits.

It's a long shot, I know. In my experience, most people who don't run think that those of us who do are either masochists, or that we're all somehow "built for it" in some way that they are not. I've given up trying to argue either of these inaccuracies, and instead have made my peace with the fact that we all have a bliss that is ours to find. And I don't mind one bit if yours has nothing to do with running.

After a 20-mile run a couple of weeks ago, I arrived home tired, achey, chaffed, sunburned, and probably pretty pungent. My husband took a look at me on the yoga mat grimacing as I cautiously stretched out my sore hips, and said "that's quite a hobby you've got there." It made me laugh, of course, but it also made me step outside of myself for a moment and see my love of distance running from his perspective. As terminally boring and torturous as I find his sport of choice (golf), so he too finds the idea of running. It makes no sense to him. But what matters is that he knows that it makes perfect sense to me.


And on the subject of my torturous pastime: I'm now officially halfway through my 16 weeks of training for the Ventura Marathon, coming up on September 7th! Click here if you're interested in the journey. Let me know if you're in training at the moment, and how it's going!


  1. It is a strange hobby, huh? Sometimes when I'm really suffering on a brutally hot day (i.e. last weekend) I wonder why the heck I do this to myself. But then there are those magical, euphoric runs that make it all worth it.

    I FINALLY had a week where I felt really good, wahoo! Only 8 weeks to go-- can you believe it!? My mileage is still really low (30/week) but I think that is what's keeping this girl injury-free. Who knows?

    1. "Injury-free" makes me so happy, Kate! You are crushing it, and it's so fun to watch!!

  2. I just started marathon training this last week for Route 66 Marathon. It's going, but not great for a first week. I'm planning to improve this week.

    1. My first two weeks this time around were pure suck. It's all been uphill (in the good sense, not the bad sense!) since then though. Hope you had a great week of training! Just looked up the Route 66 course - looks fun! I love courses that let you really see a city, instead of keeping us on the outskirts.