Last night, I had someone close and influential to me ask me why I am running. My knee jerk and truthful answer was because I can't cycle on my beloved "Frequent Flyer" during the winter. I miss cycling dearly and I look forward to getting the trainer in the next few weeks.
But here is what gave me pause: I am not sure I am going to curtail the running once I get the trainer! Running is a totally different mindset for me. I have been jogging/running since high school. So jogging/running has been a necessary part of my life for over 30 years, albeit not religiously. And even though I have been doing it for a long time, I am not crazy about it. Why? Because it is hard. It is monotonous. It can be painful. It is mentally challenging.
I prefer biking. I have since I was a kid (and the scars to show for it). But the last time I was serious about biking was in the mid 80s for about a year. It's only in the last year or so that I have regained a very strong interest in it. I suppose that's because I had the money to buy a decent road bike and I had the perfect bike path to ride it safely on. Hence the 700 miles I put on the Trek last summer.
Biking, for me, is easy because I love it. I love the mechanics of the bicycle. I love the speed and the wind whipping by me. I love the burn in my quads. I love the constant need for balance and the dangerous edge of really hurting myself (sick, I know). Because of that love, I feel like it is cheating. Running is hard, physically and mentally. I can't "cheat" because I don't have the same type of passion for it.
What I do get from running that I don't get from biking is a sense of accomplishment. Because running is difficult, I feel I have accomplished something on every run, whether I am on a treadmill or darting between the cars in the streets of Lowell. I have signed up for 4 races between now and mid-March which gives me goals to successfully get through the winter without jeopardizing the weight loss and to maintain the "I am an ex-smoker" commitment to myself. If the race proceeds are going to a good cause, all the better! I am not fast so I don't have any of these grand illusions of placing in a race, but I have that incredible craving to accomplish something hard. And the esprit-de-corp at a road race is unbelievable and addicting. I cannot help but think that most people at a finish line are there for the same thing: to do something good for themselves, to challenge themselves and to participate in fund raising for the "Cause" races.
As for biking, I have absolutely no desire to race. Or at least I don't right now! If anything, I want to get better and faster so I can go on the bike further before the sun sets at night!
There is something I would like to add. I live on the Merrimack River. Do not be surprised if you catch me blogging about rowing on the river this summer. Rowing is right up there with biking in terms of enjoyment. Yes, I love cross training. It's in my blood (well, to be truthful, it's probably because of my ADHD!)
Like anything major in my life, crossing that finish line is my goal.
What are your goals and what drives you?