I wrote this post at the beginning of the summer when Another Mother Runner was featuring running stories. My post wasn’t picked, but this week it has helped me keep things in perspective. Why do you run?
I like to joke the reason I run is so I can drink beer and eat doughnuts, which is somewhat true. Ask my husband I really like beer and doughnuts. But the real reason I run, is because I can.
I was sick through most of my 20’s. I struggled with hypothyroidism, insulin dependent gestational diabetes, and then in 2006 thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer is easily treated, unfortunately the treatments feel horrible. After surgery, I had to go without any thyroid hormone for 6 weeks, so they then could destroy the rest of the cancer with radioactive iodine. If you have ever experienced extreme hypothyroidism, you will know how terrible I felt. I barely had the energy to get up, let alone go to work and take care of my 18 month old. I hated that my body did not have the energy or stamina to do what I wanted it to do. I especially hated the lack of control I had over my own body. After surgery and radiation I resolved I would never feel that sick again.
So in 2008 after I had my second child, I finally had the ability to do something about my weight and inactivity. I started out slow with walking. My older sister encouraged me to sign up for a half marathon with her (because we never do anything in the logical order), and in 2009 we completed our first half marathon in 3 hours 15 minutes. We walked almost all of it, but we caught the race bug and haven’t looked back.
In 2010 we celebrated my 5 years cancer free, with the Disney Princess Half Marathon and we have made it an annual trip. It happens to coincide with the date that I was diagnosed and so I can replace the most difficult day of my life with something infinitely more positive. I see progress from year to year. I now run more than I walk and have cut over 45 minutes from my original half marathon time. I feel like Shalane Flanagan even though I am more like Dennis in Run Fat Boy Run.
When I run I feel healthy, I don’t feel like I am sick. I love how my body moves, and that it is MY determination that keeps it going. I only stop when I can’t go any further and not because I am to sick to. Somedays I lace up and go out and I don’t ever feel the endorphins kick in. My hip hurts, my shins ache, my back is tighter than anything, but it is all good. Because those are hurts from moving too much and I forget how I wasted my younger years sick, tired, and depressed. I can run now, so I do. I am alive, I am healthy, and I have taken my life back.
I hope to someday be one of those octogenarian runners who is still going, still moving, and still racing. Maybe that is when I will finally win my age bracket. But in the meantime, I love running because I can.