Work Out

“Run like you don’t have tomorrow to do it.”

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When I was 18, one of my closest friends passed away. He was a runner – literally the greatest runner I’ve ever seen. He was supposed to run cross country for Michigan State on a full scholarship. He was supposed to graduate in the top 10. He was not supposed to get in a car accident on April 22, 2005, on the way to school.

I could write forever about what that day was like, how I knew, what kind of person he was. But I will just say: he was the greatest runner I’ve ever seen. He was an even better person than he was at running. His quote in the yearbook was “run like you don’t have tomorrow to do it.”

I decided over the summer that I wanted to start running while I was home, but I always found an excuse. It was too hot, or I had to get up too early to do it, or I had some other crappy thing going on. When I finally moved and joined the gym, I was meticulous about going every day, but I would walk on the treadmill or get on a bike.

The first time my aunt went into the hospital in early October, my cousin was a few weeks out from the Disney Wine and Dine marathon, so she was in training. When I got home from that hospital trip, the next morning I went to the gym and ran a 5k. It took me almost 50 minutes, but I had done it – and I haven’t really looked back since.

I love how it clears my mind. How, during the breakup, it was the only time I wasn’t crying. I can’t think about anything else while I’m doing it other than that I have to make that distance higher and higher and higher. I’m still not the greatest runner. I run, consistently, a 14-minute mile. I’m not great, but I do it, and I love it.

Since she passed, I’ve thought about that quote from the yearbook a lot. How she won’t ever get to do a 5k with her daughters again. Which then makes me think of all the people who won’t ever get to run again. Kind of puts it in perspective for me on the mornings where my bed is warm, or my back hurts, or my thighs or sore (even though there are still plenty of mornings where I make excuses.)

What motivates you to work out?  Are you a gym rat like me, or an outdoor cat who road runs?