Today thousands of runners will take the well traveled path from Hopkinton to Boston for the 118th Boston Marathon, with hundreds of thousands lining the streets. It is an event that is always celebrated, but this year also carries some trepidation after the events of last year.
For all those running and volunteering and spectating, I salute you and hope you have a fantastic day (weather looks great, perhaps a bit warm)! And for everyone else out running, thinking of Boston, or whatever – good for you, enjoy the ability to run! I know I do – this morning I ran just over 8 miles in brisk weather that I thoroughly enjoyed, though I still felt the hills from my long run on Saturday (I posted on Instagram) and our yard work yesterday.
I have talked before how as someone who ran in the Boston area in the mornings for nearly 20 years, every April around Patriot’s Day I would see an upswing in runners out on the roads … which would subside quickly over the next couple of weeks. Sad to say I have to confess to judging those people – much like the people who head to the gym after New Year’s, only to be no-shows before February arrives.
But as I think about it more, what does it really matter? Here are some thoughts about why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge, and why it doesn’t really matter where motivation comes from:
1. Every Journey Starts With a Step
This seems so simple, yet it is true – you really have to start somewhere, and like everything else it is often hardest to get started, and every journey has mis-steps. So if you get started with something – running, eating unprocessed foods, walking every day, vegetarian cooking or whatever – then it is the first step down a healthier path.
Most of us likely know someone who has quit smoking a dozen times and failed – there is a definite desire but something gets in the way. But eventually most people with that type of resolve will succeed. The same is true with health – who really cares if they run races, get faster or do a marathon? The fact that they get out and enjoy the same things we all feel when running, hopefully will entice them to an even more active and healthy lifestyle.
2. Once You Get the Taste, Maybe You’ll Return
Most of us know people who have tried every fad that has come along – diets, ‘lifestyles’, exercise gimmicks and so on – and have failed. They blame themselves, and keep looking for that one thing … but maybe what they need is to find a system that actually works for them and is ‘minimally invasive’. Megan had some great stuff in her reading list this week that focuses on ‘right-sizing’ your regime.
I have also heard about many people who hated running … until they loved it. And for me, after my thyroid issue, I really knew I HAD to get back to running, but struggled off and on for a few years. But now I am running like never before in my life. I know what it means to me and for me.
3. Maybe Running isn’t Your Thing?
One of the assumptions I would make was that people I saw running at Patriot’s Day went back to being sedentary by the time May arrived. But maybe they were just trying running? Maybe they belong to a gym and wanted to try out the roads and decided that between the chills and the a$$hole drivers that they were better off staying indoors?
Trying something new is one of the keys of keeping things interesting: new exercises, new recipes, new running routes, and so on. I would suggest that everyone try as many different things as possible to see what exercise works for THEM!
4. Every Little Bit Really DOES Help
Sure you won’t get chiseled features running once – but if you make strides, however small, towards a healthier lifestyle, your body will thank you! Your heart and lungs and circulatory system and all of your internal organs respond to exercise quickly … and every little thing you do matters.
Think about the teacher who did a ‘McDonald’s Challenge’, eating salads and burgers at McDonalds and also introducing walking into his routine – he lost weight and got MUCH healthier. Maybe running isn’t your thing – but if it helps you get yourself moving, that is a GOOD thing!
5. Just getting out there REALLY matters!
When it comes right down to it, it really doesn’t matter how fast you are, how many miles you run, what races you have run, what cool gear you have, or anything else. Just lace up a decent pair of shoes, dress for the conditions and run safely as far and as long as you want. Let your mind roam free, and soak in nature and the joy of movement. That is all that matters.
And come to think about it – what better time to head out? I mean, you have the greatest marathon in the greatest city being run on a holiday that celebrates the very foundation of our origins as a nation in the cradle of liberty?