not-fitting-in

Why Quitting Running Was the Best Thing for My Health

Greatist writes:

In college, I lived along the main street in a very small town. Every morning, I looked forward to taking my coffee out to my miniature deck filled with Target plastic furniture. As this became my routine, I noticed someone else’s: a young woman who used the endorphins from running to jump-start her day instead of getting energy from caffeine in a cup.

I admired her effort and her dedication to staying active, while silently guilting myself for barely making it to the gym. I kept thinking: “I wish I could be the type of person who just got up and went for a run like it was no big deal.” It seemed unfathomable to me at the time, not only because athleticism wasn’t a big part of my life, but running? Well, it was hard.

Three years later, I was sitting on a different porch at a Mexican restaurant in my hometown, drinking a margarita, when my father told me that he had colon cancer. A retired fireman, my dad was always a superhero in my eyes, incapable of failing or being weak. While he had battled other minor health issues over the years, hearing the C-word in relation to someone I loved so dearly took my breath away.

It also inspired me to put my own well-being smack dab at the top of my priority list. Though I had attempted to run short distances before then, his diagnosis pushed me to sign up for my first half-marathon, in support of cancer survivors everywhere.

As I trained, I thought of my dad, unable to ride his bike like he loved or eat the kind of foods that he was so great at making. The very thought of him being held back by something potentially life-threatening would get me through long runs and unforgiving hills. If all he wanted was to walk without his stitches pulling at his stomach, surely I could make it through an elective run on a Sunday afternoon.

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