(Today’s guest post is by runner, and friend of Sixty Feet, Tim Dreyfus. Tim ran with Team Sixty Feet last year in Nashville, and today he wanted to share a secret.)
For the last 10 years I’ve been a runner. My friends know me as a runner. It’s who I am. It started with me suffering through a 5 min run/15 min walk with my neighbor and has eventually evolved into 6 marathons, 12 half marathons and countless 5k’s and 10k’s. For the past several years I run at least 20 miles a week to stay in shape and will ramp it up when I’m training for a race. So by definition I’m a runner and many people that know me think that I love to run.
But I have a secret that most people don’t know about me. I really don’t like running that much.
Ahhhh!!! Sweet relief!! The secret is finally out. I can stop pretending.
So I’m going to say it again. I don’t like running that much.
Which raises the obvious question, “Why do you do it?” Why spend all that time running if you don’t even like it that much?
I’m glad you asked. (Not sure you really did, but I’m going to assume you did). I’ve thought about it and I’ve come up with five reasons why I run.
My grandfather lived into his 90’s. Until the last couple of years, you would have thought he was 20 years younger than his age. When he retired, he played golf daily and stayed healthy and active. (This is a blog about running. It would be so awesome if I could tell you he ran marathons well into his 80’s, but that didn’t happen.) And guess what you can do when you are healthy, active and retired?
Anything you want!
He enjoyed life. He was active. He took water aerobics with other women. (Poppa was a PLAYA!!!) He played with his grandkids. He wasn’t beholden to sickness and injuries, bad backs and knees.
I want the same thing. I want to be able to play with my grandkids. I want to serve God in foreign countries with my wife, who also wants to stay active as well. (She also runs even though she doesn’t really like it.) I want to be able to enjoy the spirit of Joy like he did. I don’t trust my three boys to come visit me in the nursing home and I’d really like to keep in touch with them. (Good thing I have a daughter, she’ll visit us.) And if that means I need to log some miles and keep my body in good shape for later, well then I guess I’ll have to slug through it.
Even when I don’t want to.
Years ago, I realized that I’m a running snob. If you tell me you went for a run, the two questions I will ask is “how far?” and “what was your pace?” Why? Because I’m obnoxious. I enjoy the fact that I can run “relatively” fast and I want to compare myself to you.
It’s not something I’m proud of. Newbie runners don’t like to be around people like me. We make it look so easy. They are struggling to get through a few miles and we post statuses or tweet “10 miles before breakfast! Now it’s time for my crossfit workout!”
This past spring, I pulled the ultimate running snob move. As a fundraiser for Sixty Feet, I ran the Nashville Half Marathon. That in and of itself is not snobbish (in fact it’s something you should do), however I added 10 burpee push-ups at each mile. How obnoxious is that? I was the only one out of 30,000 people running the course stopping to do burpees, as if a half-marathon isn’t hard enough.
Personally, there is something special about training for and finishing a race. I like getting the shirt and the medal. I like pushing myself to a PR. I like the competition. I like knowing there is another runner out there that always wants to beat me and then beating them.
Instagrammed photos of my running shoes at the start of a run.
Kidding. I never do this and don’t get it. But it seems like the fad thing to do.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at 5am, I run with several men. While the reason we meet is to run, we do so much more than that. We share our lives together. We ‘re all in different phases of our lives, so some of the older guys give advice to the younger guys. We share stories about our week. We share our mutual fear of waking up our wives in the morning as we get out of the bed at 4:30. We rehash last night’s game. We have pointless debates and sometimes serious ones. We push each other on tough runs. And during tough times, we’re a safe place to reenergize to battle the day.
Believe me, I wouldn’t be a runner if it wasn’t for a community to encourage me and push me. I’d sleep in. I’d quit at mile 3 when I was supposed to run 5. I’d run slower than I would if I wasn’t chasing them. And I’m a better person because I’m around them. If I have to complete a 6 mile run in order to gain access to that, then I’ll do it.
4. The Finish
Here’s the truth… I may not like running, but I LOVE the feeling of finishing a run. I love that feeling of complete exhaustion. The fresh feeling in your lungs of knowing you brought in (LOTS of) clean oxygen and got rid of that junk in your body. I love to be coated in sweat and rehydrate. I love the jelly-like feeling in my legs. I love proving that I can run 3/5/10/15/20 miles. I love the feeling of a dry shirt after I’ve cooled off from a hot run. I love a warm shower and coffee after a freezing cold run.
And I can’t get that feeling unless I, you know, actually run.
So when the folks at Run Sixty Feet encourage you to run, the “I don’t like to run” excuse is not accepted. Most of us don’t like it either.
Oh and here’s the other secret. I’m not the only one. I’m just one of the few willing to admit it. Think about this. Have you ever been driving down the road and seen someone smiling while they are running?