Thursday, July 9, 2015

In The Long Run

Every year, my sister runs 14 miles on the Fourth Of July. Why? Well, you see....

My sister's crazy. How do I know she's crazy? Because she has four kids under the age of nine and she runs six days a week. Without exception, all year, every year. Even in winter. In Minnesota.

You really don't need further explanation, as far as I'm concerned. 

And as part of her affliction with missing marbles, she goes on this 14-mile-long run around four small lakes as a kind of masochistic endurance test during the holiday weekend. 

And this year, she invited me along.

Well, sort of. She invited me along for the last half because she knows she would be more likely to get me to start an at-home daycare than to run 14 miles at five in the morning. (FIVE in the MORNING, people. On my day off. Sick.)

This year, I'm running RAGNAR (a 200 mile relay with 12 people) in August and I had yet to get in a long practice run (anything longer than four miles is a long run for me), so I knew I couldn't say no and still convince myself I was making an effort to train for RAGNAR. So I called her a total bitch and said I would.

So on my day off, I got up at six so I could meet her at the half-way mark. (Did I mention it was my day off?) The first few miles went smoothly enough, until I looked at my phone and saw that it was indeed ONLY the first few miles, and she broke it to me that I'd met her a little earlier than expected so my seven-mile run was actually going to be an 8 1/2 mile run. I fought the urge to murder my sister and pressed on.

See, my relationship with running is not a good one. I have been running for years, and I hate it hate it hate it. While I prefer exercise such as step aerobics, weights, and interval training, the truth is I really resent all of it: every godawful early morning, every burpee, every mountain climber....oh god, I'm already dreading my next workout as I write this. 

So why do I do it? Why do I drag my ass out of bed while my body is begging to stay under the warm cozy blanket with a kitty on top? We all know the answer to that. 

Because everything worth having will cost you some kind of torture. Want to be a lawyer? Gotta pass the bar exam.  Want healthy teeth? You gotta go to the dentist. Want to have kids? You have to....well, have kids. And if you want to fit into your jeans, you gotta jog your ass around the block. 

Of course, it's not just fitting into jeans. I'm blessed with my dad's powerful legs and arms, but I'm also likely to inherit the heart disease that put him in cardiac arrest at the age of 45, and diet alone isn't going to ward off that curse. And there are tons of other benefits, of course. Exercise will help you fight heart disease, avoid back pain, decrease chances of developing type 2 diabetes/cancer/stroke/depression/arthritis, boost energy, sleep better..... all things worth having. So I run. And I push-up. And I burpee. Because the long run is worth it in the long run.

I finished our holiday run with a non-stop commentary about my misery and an unimpressive 11:37 per mile run time, but I finished. I didn't kill my sister for making me do this and she didn't kill me for being a giant weenie, so I guess we win. 

Until next year.