No excuses, just run

  • This was printed in December of 2013 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 30th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

Barring rest days and injuries, there is no valid excuse for skipping a run.

That couldn’t have been truer for me last week. Last Wednesday I walked out to my car at

4:45 to drive to my group’s 5 a.m. run, but found that the front driver side window had

been smashed in. My first thought was “Dang, now I can’t run this morning!” Then I

realized I’m fortunate enough to be in a two-car household.

I ran back inside, told my still sleeping husband, “Someone smashed my car window, I’m

taking your car to the run,” and sped to the park. There’s no way I’m going to let some

criminal ruin my run — my lifestyle.

Saturday I was blessed to be the maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding, held in the

small mountain town of Taos, New Mexico. I was determined not to check a bag for my

flight to Albuquerque, so I packed just the essentials — my bridesmaid dress, makeup, an

old pair of running shoes (I knew it would be snowing in Taos), two long sleeved running

tops, a running jacket, two pairs of running pants, gloves, a beanie, a baklava, and an ear-

covering headband.

I thought I was all set until my husband asked what I was going to wear the rest of the

time we were in Taos. I had planned my trip around two events — my Saturday morning

run and the Saturday afternoon wedding — and didn’t care about anything else that might

happen Friday or Sunday. Priorities!

On Saturday I woke up ready to run, but saw that it was 2 — not a typo, two — degrees.

Skipping the run was never an option for me. I just decided to wait until the mercury

climbed into the double digits before venturing out.

At 8 a.m., in 12-degree weather, I hit the snowy trail. I got so many stares you’d think no

one in Taos had ever seen a runner before. Maybe they hadn’t seen a runner who would

brave freezing temperatures.

If you haven’t run in the snow, you’re missing out! Yes, it was cold. Yes, my fingertips

were frozen and it took several minutes in a hot post-run shower to be able to feel some

parts of my skin. But it was So. Much. Fun.

The sound of running shoes crunching into a couple inches of fresh powder was new and

exhilarating. Although the scenery was beautiful, I had to focus on the run because a

misstep on an icy patch could’ve caused a spill. Thankfully I didn’t fall, but the slipping

and sliding that I did on the ice made me laugh out loud and feel like a kid — I have no

other way to describe it.

The point is I never regret a run, but I always regret not running.

I think I’ve heard just about every excuse, and I have an answer — or several — for each

one.

“But I don’t have time!” Make time. Wake up an hour earlier.

“But I’m not a morning person.” Run at night.

“But I’m not a night owl.” Run in the morning.

“But I work.” Most runners work. You don’t work 24 hours a day.

“But it’s too cold!” Wear more clothes.

“But it’s too hot!” Wear fewer clothes and take a cold shower afterward.

“But it’s raining!” Wear old shoes. It’s fun to run in the rain.

“But it’s snowing!” Wear old shoes. It’s even more fun to run in the snow.

“But things are too stressful right now!” That’s when you need to run the most.

“But I can’t run far.” Then run a short distance and build up.

“But I’m not fast.” Run slow.

“But I… “ No. Just shut up and run.

Harsh? Yup. But it’s only because I know that running days are the best days and I want

everyone to experience the empowering, blissful high that comes as a result of a good

run. It’s like eating a slice of delicious gourmet cheesecake and wanting everyone else to

experience the tasty, mouthwatering morsel.

I understand that there are runners and non-runners, just as there are cheesecake eaters

and non-eaters. But I also believe that non-runners can be runners in the making. And I’m

tired of hearing excuses.

I hear it all too often: “I want to run, but…”

Unless you finish that sentence with “my legs are broken,” (or some other serious injury)

you don’t really “want” to run. And that’s okay, but don’t lie to yourself or anyone else.

I’m praying that some friends’ “I want to run, but…” statements turn into “I’m going to

run,” and then “I ran today,” and eventually, “I’m a runner.”

Nothing can be truer than one of my favorite Instagrams: “If you want to change your

body, exercise. If you want to change your life, become a runner.”

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