When I was asked “Why do you run?” for as long as I can remember, my answer was “Because I can.”

I remember running around the block with my dad when I was little, and that led me to joining track in high school.  I ran the quarter and the half, but always ran with the long distance runners…because I could.  I was that annoying girl that could always still chit-chat after mile 6 when everyone else was grasping for breath and wishing we were done.  And when my sister-in-law called me a few years ago to run a half marathon when she came down to visit in a few months, I said “Sure, why not?”.  I didn’t do any “formal” training, I stuck to my workouts at Jazzercise and got in a few longer runs before the big day, and I did just fine.  I ran the whole 13.1 miles…because I could.

So, when the day came about 4 months ago when I couldn’t run, I felt like my world shifted.  I still can’t tell you what happened, I was out for a run and my knee hurt some, so I gave myself a day or two break, then I went out again for 6 miles.  If my pride hadn’t stopped me, I would have called a friend for a ride home.  The pain was horrible at about mile 3.  For the next several days I walked with a limp, and every now and then friends will still say I have a slight limp.  But, I think that is just me favoring my other leg out of sheer fear of feeling that pain again.

I want to run, I want to get back out there and lose myself in my music and surroundings and just go.  I want to say that I run “Because I can.”  But I can’t right now.  But I will damn it, I will.  The torn meniscus or whatever the doctor thinks is wrong with my knee will get better with proper care.  And in the mean time I’m not gonna sit here and pout, I am gonna train, so when I can run again, I’m ready.

So what did I do?  I joined a gym for the first time in about 12 years.  Jazzercise, unfortunately, bothered my knee too.  My first thought was that I would work on weights, which I did.  But my body craves cardio.  After years and years of running, my body was looking for that endurance, that fatigue, that high, that only comes from a damn good sweat brought on by good ole’ cardio.  Since treadmills were out, I jumped on the ARC trainer.  I had no idea what to do once I was on it, but figured it out pretty quick.  Most importantly it didn’t hurt my knee and it got my heart pumping.

Now, when I walk into the gym, I do weights and the ARC trainer, running is a full body workout, and in the end, I am preparing myself to be ready to run again.  Some of the staff at the gym will say that doing the ARC for 30 minutes is like running for an hour – so why in the world would I want to go back to running?

Because I want to say that I run “Because I can.” 

Why Do You Run?  Have you been injured before? What training did you do so that you were ready to get back out and hit the pavement?

This post is brought to you by one of our Best Damn Race Ambassadors, Tracy Shaw, check out her blog, Having Fun Saving & Cooking for more tips, protein smoothies galore, and healthy recipes.