Why I Love Running

First 5kThere is something very primal about running. Fight or flight. Move your feet, swing your arms, pump those legs, let your hair trail behind you. Sweat pools in the small of your back, your face heats up, your nose runs. It’s not glamorous but it sure is fun.

I never really exercised in an organized fashion until my twenties. I “played” sports when I was a kid. Actually, I suffered through sports as a kid. It takes me a while to understand the rules of games; instinctively knowing which way to run or where to throw a ball is completely lost on me.

The running seed was sown when I lived in Northampton, Massachusetts with my ex-boyfriend’s family. I worked in a bakery that was about a mile walk from their house. When I didn’t have access to a vehicle, I would just walk to work. After a few weeks of walking, I started to notice a firming of my stomach and my thighs. Shortly after that, I moved to New York City.

As many New Yorkers will tell you, we walk a lot. Mainly out of necessity. The more I walked, the leaner I got.

Eventually, my legs got stronger and told me they wanted to run.

I don’t remember my first run, but I do remember my first running outfit–black shorts with pink trim and a pink mesh tank top. I began to run in my neighborhood. Down the bustling Northern Boulevard, all the way from my apartment to the onramp of the BQE. It was only about a mile but it felt far to me. That’s the beauty of running, with just legs and some glucose, you can be transported to a completely different part of town.

My first 5k race was in Flushing Meadows Park. Although I was very slow, running with other people was exhilirating. There was even a marching band that spurred runners on into the last mile.

That was five years ago, and since then I’ve had many running adventures, and my fair share of running injuries. Rest, heat, ice, doctors, massage, yoga–all treatment options I’ve tried. My newest injury is a very tight piriform muscle which rubs against my sciatic nerve and shoots pain down my right leg. It also restricts my range of motion. I actually don’t know it’s caused by running or if it’s caused by being on my feet so much for work and not wearing the proper footware.

Either way, I’ve missed out on several months of running because of it, and I really missed it.

Being a runner is, apparently, a large part of my identity.

But, today, I start again. Today, I start from scratch. If I run for 30 seconds, then that’s progress.