Why Run a Half-Marathon?
The more I tell people that I’m training for a half-marathon, the more often this question arises: “Why do you want to run a half-marathon?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this question, trying to come up with an answer better than, “just ’cause.” In the end, I’ve come up with five reasons. From least important to most:
5. I want a rockin’ body on my last spring break trip. (Helloooo, Los Angeles!)
4. I want to be in the best shape of my life.
3. I’ve always wanted to be a long-distance runner, but naturally have a knack for speed races.
2. I want to come back from my knee injury and blood disorder diagnosis.
1. I want to please my mother.
I’m taking advanced nonfiction writing this semester and my professor asked us why we do things a certain way. At one point, we talked about completing assignments at the last minute and she asked if we would still do things so late if we hadn’t always gotten good grades. Essentially, she wanted us to examine the motivation behind our actions. I realized that the grades mattered to me, but mostly because they mattered to my mom. Good grades = a good job = a good life. I started asking myself this question in other areas of my life and realized I came to the same answer.
I want to please my mother.
My mom is one of the smartest women I’ve known. She taught me how to be determined and motivated just by watching how she handles herself. And I’ve learned from her mistakes, which is critical when raising a daughter. After all, what mom wants her daughter to repeat the same mistakes she made?
My mom is also incredibly strong. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer a few years ago, even though she didn’t have the classic symptoms associated with the disease. But after a hellish fight, my mom sent cancer packing and now works with the American Cancer Society to help find a cure. Cancer could have ruined her life, but instead it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Her diagnosis lit a huge passion for fighting cancer in both of us and we now work together to fight for a world with more birthdays.
But where does fitness come into all of this? For the last two years I’ve been a personal trainer at my campus fitness centers and am studying to get my national certification. My mom has a science-heavy background and there’s a science behind fitness, which gives us another thing to talk about and work on together. You never know how much time you’re going to have with your family, so my interest in fitness lets me bond with my mom in unique ways.
Plus, I just want to come home exclaiming, “I ran a half-marathon!” and have my mother be proud of me. As far as I know, nobody else in my family has done this before and I want my mom to enjoy my accomplishment. As I’m sure any child can attest to, there’s nothing quite like seeing pride in a parent’s eyes.
So when I hit the treadmill, I run not only for myself, but for my mom too. Every bead of sweat is just one more step toward my accomplishment. So when I cross that finish line (even if I’m crawling across it), I know I’ll be proud of myself, no matter what.