Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Hate Running...There, I Said It!

Maybe it was because I spent most of my time last week running in the streetcar tracks on the cushy “neutral ground” of St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, but when I set out for my run along the concrete, tourist-crowded sidewalks of Washington, D.C. yesterday, I was not enjoying it at all. In fact yesterday, I hated running. As I ran my 4.25 mile route (underdressed I might add, I’d gone from luscious 70 degree runs in NOLA, back to 47 degree runs in DC, and I brought shorts and a technical T-shirt to run in, instead of something more substantial), I came up with a few good reasons why I, Courtenay Brown, endorphin-addicted, sweat-induced sanity seeker, three-time marathoner (with a fourth on the horizon) self-proclaimed runner for life, hate running.

I hate running because I’m vain. I hate that on Mondays at noon, my carefully coifed, freshly shampooed, shiny, silky hair is going to “sweat out” no matter how carefully I ponytail it. After I shower, my perfume will be washed away (I’m simply not lugging all that stuff in with me every morning), and my makeup will not be as flawless as it was before I ran (even though I wash my face before and after I run, and reapply some basic makeup).

I hate running because I have to be disciplined. I used to live to sleep late on Saturdays, but these days, I’m out the door before the sun comes up, which means I have to go to bed early and eschew my favorite pomegranate martini and other fun nocturnal activities (but only the night before a big race or a long run!).

I hate running races because they stress me out. I generally train well, and no matter what the distance: 5K, 10K, 10-mile, half-marathon, or marathon, I toss and turn all night, and come race morning I will be totally and completely freaked the freak out. I spend hours in the bathroom at home (aw come on, you’re a runner, and you’ve been there, done that), completely losing all the good stuff I’ve put in my body to fuel it for the race. Without fail, my husband always asks, “Are you sure you enjoy racing?”

I hate running because I don’t like to think of myself as competitive. In addition to being a runner, I am a yogini. I’ve been practicing yoga for approximately three years. I’m all about being non-judgmental of my efforts and others efforts. Being competitive just feels wrong to me.

Then on my way back to the office, at about 2.25 miles into my run, with my pace well established, my breathing easy, and the gentle incline of 15th Street ahead of me, I realized that I actually LOVE running and the reasons why are as follows:

I love running because I’m vain. At 41 years old, I look damn good. I totally credit running with the fact that I am fitter than most people my age. I started running to lose the “baby fat” almost 12 years ago. Today, I weigh less than I did before the birth of my first child, and I am as energetic as ever.

I love running because I have to be disciplined. Running forces me to take good care of myself. I get the rest I need, I eat healthy foods, and I love that after rising early and putting in anywhere from 10-20 miles, I have the rest of the day to feel good about my efforts. Not to mention, seeing the sun rise on the National Mall, with no tourists in sight, is simply amazing!

I love running races because they stress me out. Once I finally calm down and the race starts, I am able to channel my nervous energy into speed and focus. I’ve learned to do the same thing in life when I’m facing a stressful situation. I know how to channel my stress and do what needs to be done.

I love running because it allows me to be competitive. I’m covering the ears of my inner yogini—I am competitive. I generally compete with myself; I’m always focused on beating Courtenay’s last PR. But truth be told, I love to see how I stacked up against other runners. I love to see how many people I “beat” who are younger than me (in some case decades younger!).
By the time I finished my run, I realized that I LOVE running because more times than not, after a good run I realize that I’ve gained far more than I had to put in.

Run well.


  1. LOVE this!

    Winks & Smiles,

  2. Wow! First I have to say that I am thrilled to "meet" another Courtenay!! Much of what you wrote plus and minus resonates. Are you visiting DC? I live in VA and work in DC. Now I'm in Boston for a conference.

    My blog is Running With Perseverence at got2run4me.wordpress.com

  3. the very best! love this! so true. definitely a love/hate relationship. and now I'm going to bed so I can meet my running crew in the am.