This weekend someone told me I shouldn’t run so much. While commenting on how great my running pictures are on Instagram, this particular person also told me, “You shouldn’t run so much. It’s going to wreck your body when you get older.” Interesting. I contemplated this thought for about 2 seconds before deciding it was rubbish and that I would NOT stop running so much. Over the weekend I did a lot of thinking and came to the conclusion that my life would be incredibly different today if I was not a runner. I shudder to think what my life would be like without the friends I’ve made through running, the amazing volunteer and employment opportunities I’ve received through running, and most importantly the sense of personal satisfaction and peace that comes from accomplishing great things like running half-marathons!
I know I won’t be a runner forever. Every runner has seen countless motivation posters with the quote “There will be a day when I can no longer do this. Today is not that day.” See the picture above for an example I made with one of my own running pictures. As the years have gone by, I find myself becoming more worried about the future and what it will bring. I worry about my health and my family, and sometimes I do even worry about not being able to run one day, but I’ve never let that stop me from lacing up my shoes and hitting the pavement. Even on days when my anxiety has been the worst, and I know that I’ll probably be facing a panic attack post-run, I’ve pushed through it.
Although some of these thoughts are scary, the scariest thing to me is what my life would be like without running. Three words immediately come to my mind: overweight, depressed, and housebound. If you know me today, you probably wouldn’t associate these words with me, but 10 years ago, that was my life for an entire year. Without a doubt it was the worst year of my life and I never, ever want to go back there. Did running help me break through this darkness? HELL YES. Will I ever stop running because I’m scared it might “wreck my body?” HELL NO.
No one can guarantee that my body will hold up to all this running I’m doing. I’ll probably get injured in the future, wreck my knees a bit, and maybe even have to deal with arthritis (it runs in my family), but I’d rather take my chances and do something I know 100% is helping me both physically and mentally than stop because something bad might happen to me in the future. I wonder if the same person who said this to me also says the same thing to every person they see smoking, drinking, eating badly, etc.. Running seems like a weird thing to pick on and this person obviously didn’t know how CRAZY we runners are 😉