25 reasons why I run and hope you will

run reasons.jpg

As a tween, my friend’s older brother, an avid music fan, insisted that we listen to a bootleg cassette of a guy he heard perform at the Jersey shore, we listened. This brother was around eighteen years old and I was flattered to be included if not exactly feeling the need for more music in my life. I was perfectly content with the bubble-gum pop that filled my young heart with song. Yet, this cassette was to transition me into more serious rock-n-roll and I’m glad I stepped up to the moment. It didn’t hurt that I was listening to Bruce Springsteen, well before he was The Boss, and I was swept away.

Good friends (and their brothers) are like that; they share their hard-earned love in the hopes that others will love it too. And good friends give you the benefit of the doubt when you look a little crazy.

Marc Parent, column writer of Newbie Chronicles at Runner’s World, shares:

How does a rational person choose discomfort over comfort, time and again? In other words, how do you stay crazy? There are many compelling reasons to run – some universal, some personal, some obvious, some obscure. The trick is to keep those reasons at the front of our mind. You make a list of these reasons – a convincing list of arguments for why you run. You refer to the list when you are weak and the cake is strong. The word fun isn’t on this list. If running is fun for you, you don’t need a list. The rest of us do. We need reasons to run. Really good reasons.

Here are some of my really good reasons.

  1. Check exercise off the list. A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day is recommended by… everyone. It’s empowering to say to everyone, “Yes, I exercise at least 30 minutes a day.”
  2. Personal responsibility. I could no longer lean on my past youth, or anticipate “when my kids are older”, or medical cures. The time is now.
  3. Running is inexpensive. No gym, pool, field, or class necessary. A pair of running shoes that fit well and take you where you want to go helps.
  4. Running is efficient. More benefits are received in a 30-minute run compared to a walk of the same duration. (Walking is awesome, too.)
  5. Run most anywhere. Walk out your front door and run. Run on city streets and rural trails. Run in your neighborhood and anywhere you travel.
  6. Run most anytime. Morning, midday, night, weekdays, weekends, holidays, seasonal, and year-round (with the help of treadmills.)
  7. Running heals my gut. After a lifetime of digestive and circulation issues, running is an integral part of why I feel better.
  8. Running lifts my mood. The tap, tap, tap, tap calms and soothes.
  9. It’s simple to begin and a challenge to master. I’m constantly being tested by the finesse and nuances involved.
  10. Run with siblings on RunKeeper. My brother hits the streets in Pennsylvania and my sister tracks her miles in Texas, yet, online we run together.
  11. Sweet high-performance clothes and shoes. Mix and match vibrant colors and sleek textures.
  12. Run for the love of food. Manage weight, eat more and eat better for fuel and celebrating.
  13. Set and meet goals. Personal bests. Finish lines. Winning.
  14. Run to be engaged in my community. 5Ks are a blast and often raise money for charity, too.
  15. Runners inspire me. Each has a story, a tenacity, a goal. Each is beautiful.
  16. Improved vitality and stamina. Chronic exhaustion is awful. Energy is wonderful.
  17. Improved strength, strong core, and lean mean arms.
  18. Better sleep. Resting and running go hand in hand.
  19. Practice patience. Gradual results counter the tendency for immediate gratification.
  20. Quality time alone. Take a break from life’s demands.
  21. Listen to music. I adore Spotify playlists.
  22. Time to pray. Amen.
  23. Creative inspiration. Business ideas. Blog posts. Family projects. Problems solved.
  24. Look forward to something positive. A plan and a purpose for each day.
  25. I run for those who won’t or can’t. Because I can.

As a recovering super-hater of running, decidedly not a Born to Runner (could not resist the nod to Springsteen), I’m grateful and glad that I gave running a try two and a half years ago. I quickly realized that much of what I believed about running, and myself as a runner or athlete, was flat out wrong. Sometimes it’s wonderful to be wrong.

Running is a life-giving privilege.  I believe that, while running may not be for everyone, it is for anyone who wants to give it a try or who wants to increase their wellness, to include happiness. As an avid fan of the benefits of running, give my reasons a listen and I hope you get swept away.

Need more convincing? Check out these articles:

I’m Angie McIntyre and I believe that love is action, running is better than complaining, and wellness is for everyone. Do you?


How to say yes in a world of no

photo-1458662236860-b721a6735660Recently, I caught myself in a bad habit. The tricky part is that this habit isn’t obviously bad, like snapping at my loved ones or watching too much sports television, of which I am guilty. In fact, this habit is often portrayed as a virtue. In other words, I thought this bad habit was good.

Aiden was in from college last week and asked me to help him to get off to a good start on his summer fitness program. This included, among other things, running. When the conversation turns to running, I light up like the sun and can sometimes be blinding with my enthusiasm.

Immediately, I told my son about my latest and greatest pre-run fuel, a combination of energizer, nuts, and dried fruit whirled in a blender. No thanks, momma. While driving to the park where we would run, I expressed my immense joy at finding a running shoe that fits me perfectly and asked if he had a good running shoe. Not needed, momma. O…kay…then, while walking before our run I suggested breaking the isolation of running by joining RunKeeper? Nah.

No. No. No.

A quick google search of “how to say no” demonstrates our cultural preference for, the need for training in, and dare I say, virtue in saying no to the tune of 132,000,000 hits. Titles like, How To Say No To Anyone (Including A Good Friend), 10 Guilt-Free Strategies For Saying No, and How To Say No At Work, frolic through the pages of Forbes, Time, and the Mayo Clinic.

Honestly, I’ve said no to many people and opportunities quite easily over the years. Aiden, my apple, didn’t fall far from this tree.

Again, a quick google search of “how to say yes” is telling. With only 43,000,000 hits and lackluster titles such as, Don’t Be A Word Bore: Alternative Ways To Say Yes, and others which address being affirmative in different languages, it appears that saying yes is as easy as breathing while saying no is painfully daunting.

But wait a minute. Aiden and I are good at saying no. And I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of noes, especially of late, therefore many people I know are good at saying no too. As a thick-skinned gal, I tend to not personalize this phenomenon, but it doesn’t feel good. It just doesn’t.

After a few noes from Aiden, my energy began to drain and I felt confused. My mind began to race with thoughts, double checking myself. Am I being too enthusiastic? Is my information wrong? Am I being pushy? But my son did ask for my help, my information was good enough, and since when did enthusiasm become suspect?

Perhaps the problem isn’t with saying no. Perhaps the problem is with not saying yes.

I stopped in my tracks and asked my son a question, “Do you think you can find a yes?” A big grin crossed his face and he answered, “Yes.” We both laughed

A few months ago I watched the TED Talk, My year of saying yes to everything, by Shonda Rhimes, the “the titan behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder.” Shonda got me thinking about my own noes. I realized that I was saying no out of habit, fear, or worse, to things big and small. No, I can’t run a half marathon. No, I can’t stop to watch a movie. No, I can’t sell our house during spring baseball season. And, dang it, I was feeling good about those noes. You know, I was setting healthy boundaries and conserving my energy and prioritizing and…and…was I?

How is one to say yes in a world of increasing speed, demands, and expectations in order to grow love bigger? Here are a few ways to begin.

Say yes to physical wellness. Get rest. Eat an extra serving of vegetables. Do a 7 minute workout. Set your next fitness goal.

Say yes to your primary relationships. Negotiate differences with your spouse. Stop and listen to your children with the goal of understanding each other. Call your parents. Comment on your siblings’ social media. Support their dreams physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

Say yes to your secondary relationships. Family first but friends not last. Accept their invitations. Invite them to your home and activities. Make and keep promises. Encourage their children.

Say yes to your neighbors. Buy their Girl Scout cookies. Purchase their products and services. Attend the school championship game. Go to church.

Say yes to the trustworthy. If someone you know lives as a good parent, entrepreneur, optimist, runner (ahem), or other positive role or trait that you desire, listen to them and take action.

Say yes to those most in need. Help the young. Encourage the discouraged. Reach out to the marginalized.

Say yes to the enthusiastic. Each person has a passion, gift, and talent to share. Enjoy their enjoyment. Feed off of their energy. Cheer them on to victory!

There will be times when a no is necessary. Last week I said no to a woman’s demand that I attend a meeting. Um, no. No explanation or excuse. No pontification that I needed to put my family first. No emotional energy expended at all. Just, no thank you. It was easy, really. However well-intentioned, she and her meeting didn’t fit any of my above criteria.

Aiden and I talked about our shared habit of having a negative first reaction and saying no. He then downloaded RunKeeper, was eventually fitted for running shoes which he appreciates, and now chooses to chew nuts and dried fruit before his runs. I found a half marathon in October to train for, watched Sandlot with my youngest son, and our home is for sale.

Cool things happen when we say yes. There are power and positive movement for both the giver and receiver in saying yes to the right things, in the right way, at the right time. How can I say yes to you? How will you find your next yes?