Why I Run

I am all about motion. Every day God allows me to run, ride, swim, or walk is a blessing. I believe we rust if we stop moving and I have done a lot of rusting in the past.

I started out a pure runner, but, in late October 2007 I developed some hamstring problems and had to switch to cycling. Since then I developed a fondness for bicycle riding. Cycling is much easier on the joints and is a pretty good workout, which is really what I am after. In 2008 I have added swimming to my exercise routine. I practically learned to swim at 48 years old. Now I alternate running, riding, and swimming year round. My running has improved and I have remained fairly injury free.

I am not a triathlete who happens to run... I am a runner who trains like a triathlete.

I guess running was my midlife crisis. I reached the point in my life where I had fewer years ahead of me then behind me. The hourglass is definitely, barring some sort of above average life expectancy, half empty. I could not afford a fancy sports car or buy a motorcycle. Personally I feel motorcycle ownership by anyone over the age of 25 constitutes a death wish and is a serious character flaw. In my case, maybe running is also a death wish. Die young and leave a good-looking corpse, as for me, a thinner corpse. Running to obsession is also a character flaw and, did I mention, I am obsessive compulsive. Once I took to running I really made it a part of my life. Not exactly a religion, but I devoutly pursue running as an activity.

Why did I choose running when I could not even run a quarter mile without throwing up? Well, mountain climbing was out because I hate heights. I guess running was in my blood. My grandfather ran the quarter mile in college. I guess he didn’t suffer from the same gastric revulsion to running that I had. Since running has enabled me to consume more calories, my digestive track just enjoys the ride.

Heart disease is pervasive on my father's side of the family; and I was 37 years old, 5’9” and pushing 200 lbs. Most of the weight was around my middle. I had to do something. I started watching my diet and eating more rationally. After several years I lost weight and attained the approval of my physician to attempt vigorous exercise. I was 42 and had always wanted to run, but had never put enough time and effort into it to get acclimated to running substantial distances. During high school, a full quarter mile jaunt at speed would end in losing my breakfast.

I started by alternating running a minute then walking a minute and gradually built up my endurance (Intervals for the severely out of shape). By employing a simple kitchen timer, I was able to do this effectively. Eventually, I was running without throwing up. I still carry that kitchen timer and a cell phone when I run. The cell phone was in case of coronary. I figure I might get one call off and tell the paramedics where to find me.

I have managed to build my endurance and the obsessive part of my personality took over; this is where the term 'Run Dan Run' comes in. I have managed 5ks, 5 milers, a 10k, and a half marathon. I enjoy running so much that I have to run just about everyday. These days I run trails to preserve my knees and just enjoy being close to nature.
Obsession or not, running has given me many positive benefits. At 48, running has toughened me mentally and physically. By doing something most people cannot or will not do, I have grown stronger physically and spiritually. Enduring intemperate weather, pain, sweat, and hours of solitude, I have more personal confidence to handle any situation. The greatest benefit is a healthier lifestyle and, God willing, more years to enjoy my family.