I'm not sure if it's just me (or rather, just my friends), but I seem to be one of the only people that hasn't joined the running club. These days it's normal to see Facebook status updates about how many miles someone ran at some insane hour of the morning - with or without their dog. I've lost track of the number of people who are running their first 5K or half-marathon. And it's not just casual Facebook acquaintances, I feel like I see more people running and/or walking around our town than I ever have before.
I've got some theories as to why this is:
A) It's "free" - and since everyone is watching their pennies a bit more these days, they are also looking for ways to exercise that don't cost them a gym membership fee. But you'll notice I have "free" in quotes, and that's because I also hear the talk about the pricey running shoes, outfits, iPods and watches - none of which appear to be one-time purchases and then they are done. Just sayin'...
B) People are more aware of their health. They have finally discovered that exercise really is good for them and they are trying to get back into those jeans they thought they would never wear again (only to discover they were so far out of style, they wouldn't want to wear them now that they could). I admit, last year I started walking so that I could shed a few pounds...once the pounds came off, the treadmill went silent.
C) It's a social activity. I know of groups of people who run together or train to run a marathon together or who simply like the camaraderie of running in a pack. I don't have that kind of personality, and I know not everyone else does, which is why we have reason D...
D) It's a way to escape. I have other friends who are running because it's the only time they can be by themselves - no kids or husband/wife or stressful job. It's a way to be out in nature and enjoy the peace and solitude that (I've heard) running can offer.
And finally, we have theory E) It's popular. I honestly believe that it's a fad at the moment, but I also know that some people started running to try to loose weight or because their friends were, and then they actually found that they enjoyed doing it - just because. Well, good for you, because I'm all for running if you enjoy it (which I don't).
Like I said, we own a treadmill - a very nice one in fact. It was used on a daily (or almost daily) basis in 2010, but 2011 has kept us so busy that it has only been used a few times since we rang in the new year. I'm a fast walker, but for some reason, saying that you're a walker just doesn't have the same cool factor as saying that you're a runner. There's no unspoken "walking club" like there is for runners.
If you want total honesty (when have you ever NOT had that from me?!), I just don't enjoy exercise. I mean, when I was faithful about walking, I liked the way I felt and the extra energy that I had, but I don't miss it when I don't do it. After a long day at work, the last thing I feel like doing is lacing up my tennis shoes and getting on the treadmill. In fact, if you need me, I'll be on the couch with my fleece robe, my wicked good moccasins, a cup of tea and a book.
If you run (or walk or exercise in some way), why do you do it? Do you love it? Hate it? Have any advice for those who are more at home on a couch than on the pavement? Am I alone in a world of runners?