Running is an interesting paradox – it is an easy sport to learn because it requires little to no coordination and it’s something we’ve done since we were kids. Despite its simplicity, running is hard. Really hard. That’s why most people think I’m crazy for wanting to run a marathon, because they either hate running or think that they can’t do it.
For most people (myself included), learning to run is really not fun. You get out of breath; you get bored; you get tired. But, once you get to the point in which you can run 3 miles and don’t feel like dying, running is pretty frickin awesome.
I have my bad days when I don’t enjoy running, but overall I love running because it makes me respect and appreciate my body. Like so many women, I am not satisfied with my body. And I know it’s dumb because I’m 5’2″, 112 pounds; I am healthy, fit and skinny. I feel good about myself when I’m in clothes and can cover my perfections, but bathing suit season is a whole different story. I don’t know what my bad fat percentage is, but it’s probably pretty low for a woman. Despite this, all I see is fat and flaws when I’m in a swimsuit.
Running is by no means a silver bullet to body satisfaction, but it has helped me concentrate my body issues to something more positive. Running is a way to honor my body and its capabilities. I still see fat when I look in the mirror, but I also see strength. From a superficial standpoint, I can now look in the mirror and admire my toned and muscular legs. My legs haven’t been this fit since high school, which is pretty dang cool. From a deeper level (this is gonna sound corny), running is a way to give thanks and take advantage of what I have been given. I am fortunate to be able to run, to be injury free, and to have the time/money to afford running. Appreciating not just what my body looks like, but what it is capable of doing is pretty powerful. I’ve worked really hard to become a relatively mediocre runner, and I am proud of that; I am proud of what my body is capable of achieving.
I’ll probably never be happy with my body, but hey, this imperfect body (flab and all!) is gonna be a marathon runner. And that is pretty sweet.