Thursday, July 2, 2009

TiaRT: Running Fireworks.

Today's Take it and Run Thursday topic at Runners' Lounge is running fireworks: "In honor of the 4th of July, let's talk conflict, controversy, and commotion. What are some of the topics that you and your running friends discuss and have different opinions on? What are some topics that your family members take up with you?"

Hmm . . . well, I'm not one to write about controversy. I just don't like to get into stuff like that. But, there is one topic that comes up now and then that is somewhat controversial, that causes a little conflict in my life. And it is running-related so I feel like I can tackle it here.

OK. Here it is: It really bugs me when people dismiss my running. Or, running in general.

Whew, what a load off!

What I mean is that it bugs me when people say things like, "You can run because you're tall/short/dedicated/built for running -- I could never run because I'm too short/too tall/get bored when I run/have flat feet/bad knees/weak ankles/large breasts/a delicate constitution, etc., etc.."

Let's get one thing straight: I'm built for running the way Garrett Gomez is built for basketball. As in, I'm not.

I don't have the slim build of a long-distance runner. I have hips that carry a little extra baggage. I have crummy feet with annoying and painful bunions. I have tight hamstrings.

But none of that matters because I work at it.

Was it easy when I started? No way! Did I start and stop several times? Oh, yeah. But did I stick with it? Yes! And that's the difference. I decided I wanted to run and so I did. And I do.

I get that not everyone wants or likes to run. That's no big deal.

But what I don't get is why people feel compelled to make excuses for why they can't run. It's enough to not want to run. That's honest and I get it. I, for example, have no interest in downhill skiing. I don't like it. It's not that my knees are bad or that I think I'll look like a goof in the gear. No, I just don't want to ski. I don't want to do it and so I don't. If you like to ski, that's cool. I won't think you are weird because of that.

When people tell me that I can run because of X but they can't because they are not X, or that they don't know how I can run because running is so boring, it makes me feel like I'm some kind of whack-o. Which may be true, but not in this case!

You see (and I guess this is the controversial part of this whole thing) I believe -- firmly -- that everyone can run. Everyone. Sure, it is easier for some than for others but running is natural. It is what our bodies were meant to do! Baby, we were born to run!

(Check out that shirt -- do people still wear shirts with the sleeves cut off?)

Everyone can run if they go about it in a sensible way. When I run in a non-sensible way, I usually get hurt and have to take some time off. When I'm sensible, I succeed. For new runners, being sensible means taking it slow, not running too much or too often. But it also means wanting to. If you want to run, you'll run. You can do it. If you don't want to run, you won't. And that's cool.

So, there you have it. Some Happy Runner fireworks.

And and update: Thus far, July has not come through. Rain yesterday. Rain today. Bring on the sun!!!

~ Felice


Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

This POST IS STINKIN AMAZING!! Seriously, I agree 333%. I think people don't get that by saying those things they do make us runners feel like a whack-o..LOL..

Great post!!

FYI my Giveaway is up.. Have a great weekend!!

Manderz said...

Great post Felice!! Only another runner truly understands our passion and need to get out and run at 5am or 10 degree weather! But that doesnt make us crazy.

PS - I am SICK of the rain. I need the sun!

Anonymous said...

I love you for this post!! Seriously. I touched on this everyone has a reason why it is easy for me and hard for them. UGH!!! This makes me want to vent about it too!!

Runners are awesome!

B.o.B. said...

100% agree with you.

I also like when people say running is bad for you.

What's wrong with these people?

Happy 4th and thanks for the early fireworks. ;)

@marathonandi said...

You are SPOT ON! My daughter is 6 and has cerebral palsy - she isn't able to truly "run" like we do - more like walk really fast pulling her knees up, but she calls it running. She has done multiple kids' races and loves it. If anyone wasn't built for running, it's definitely her, but she does it, anyway (as do I!)

Denise said...

NICE!! I couldn't think of anything for TIaRT but you nailed it on the head! I couldn't agree more.

Oz Runner said...

Excellent post, I couldn't agree more!

(and yes, there are people here in Kansas that still wear shirts with the sleeves cut off like that...)

Liz said...

Uggh! I coudn't agree more! Great post!

Stuart said...

Great post and hey don't knock those sleeveless shirts...all fashion comes around again!

Running 365 said...

I'm completely with you. My husband has been driving me crazy for months about my running and how he doesn't see the point and it's ridiculous and on and on. Gradually though, the complaining has died down some and he's volunteering to go with me more and more! We just have to keep being examples of the benefits of running and some of those whiners will come around eventually.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I guess being around active people makes some people feel guilty, and at other times it inspires others. Let's hope for more of that!

Happy 4th of July!

Aileen said...


Diana said...

I like it :) I'll keep it in mind when I'm coming up with my own excuses ;)

And, thanks for the great message on my blog. I appreciate the support...and very much needed it.

Quix said...

I love it. If I (she who never ran more than 1 mile in her life before the last 12 months, also she who was 2.5 years ago 265 lbs) can train and complete a half marathon running the whole way - anyone can. It just took a year of dedication to improving myself. Nothing magic, just hard work.

Happy 4th, have a great weekend. And send Austin your rain, we need it!

Chic Runner said...

I TOTALLY agree with you on all points in this post!!! It was so well said Felice and I really was thinking about posting something like this because it's SO true! People need to empower themselves! Bottom line is that it's just one foot in front of the other! Great post!

kilax said...

Amen! I get that all the time. Along with, "I could never be a vegetarian because..." Ugh. It's like you said - they act like I am some weirdo!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I am not "built" for running- I had to practice and continue to have to practice. I wasn't a natural cheerleader, tennis player, or even a natural at the job I currently have- but I practiced all of those too.

Great, great post!

Marlene said...

YES! Thank you! Excellent post. I can't stand the excuses and sometimes wish people would just say "I don't run, but it's great that you do!"

RunnerMom said...

I liked when you said,
"Was it easy when I started? No way! Did I start and stop several times? Oh, yeah. But did I stick with it? Yes! And that's the difference. I decided I wanted to run and so I did. And I do."

I've tried to help some people get started running and they have quit after just a few runs. I guess that's the difference between them and me. :-)

I am guilty, however, of assuming everyone should want to run as much as I do and of judging them (just a little--I know, it's awful of me) when they quit or never start. I have no desire to play golf. How annoying would it be if someone was constantly recommending I take up golf? I think I'll tone down my "running will change your life," "you really SHOULD try running, it's awesome" comments!

J said...

You definitely put some fire into that post! And i agree with you. I know a girl who says she can't run because she just can't and it just frustrates me to hear that because honestly everyone can run, its slow in the beginning. I think that it tells the true measure of a person if they stick with something!

Lara said...

Thank you THANK YOU!! The excuses are many and they are tired. I'm tired of hearing them!! I'm not a freak, I'm not an Olympian, and ANYONE can do this. Honestly!!

K Rocktaschel said...

I appreciate the Garrett Gomez reference. Sometimes I feel as though I'm the only one around that can name so jockeys. Happy running....

Miz said...

Everyone can run if they go about it in a sensible way.

I needed this
Ive kinda started to talk myself OUT of running a lot since Im...not young :) and I worry about my knees.


need to make THAT my running mantra.

kara said...


JenZen said...

Great post and I couldn't agree more!! I have seen ALL shapes and sizes out there running with the best of them. It's all about desire and commitment.

My pet peeve: when faster runners start being elitist and downplaying slower runner's times - especially belittling race times. Hey - I worked my ASS off for that slow marathon finish and I'm darn proud of it!

Lindsay said...

so true! love your thoughts here. i always love to see people of all shapes and sizes out running - at least they are out and trying! i try to give them a nice comment when i see them in hopes that i am encouraging them to keep it up. we can do anything we put our minds to - running or whatnot.

happy 4th!

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