I ran the Philadephia Marathon yesterday with more than 23,000 friends. Some wore costumes. One wore a long fuzzy bathrobe. Many sported shirts bearing the names of charities or causes (education, lung cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes) or people (Mom, Nana, sisters, friends). Others wore shirts identifying them as members of work organizations or families. Some put slogans on their shirts (“Chafing is temporary but pride is forever” and “Toe nails are overrated”) or spelled out their name using electrical tape or Magic Marker.
As I ran, I thought about all the reasons I run. They are the same reasons for doing anything that is difficult and rewarding. Maybe they’ll inspire you to do something daring.
1. Because taking on a challenge is (perversely) fun.
2. Because I am healthy.
3. Because my husband is willing to get up at 0400, bundle the kids into the car, and drive me to the starting line.
4. Because my kids will be there at the finish. And they will ask me if I won.
5. Because I might not have another chance to do this race.
6. Because it feels good to finish what I start.
7. Because I am stronger than I think.
8. Because positive energy is infectious.
9. Because strangers will cheer me on when they see what I am trying to accomplish.
10. Because when I run, I see new things and that remind me of old things.
11. Because I’ll be sore and tired at the end.
12. Because I can measure my performance against the last run, the last race, and my own expectations.
13. Because people half my age and twice my age are running, too.
14. Because I can listen to funky “mom music” on my iPod and no one will complain.
15. Because running gives me time to think.
16. Because endorphins are addictive.
17. Because pumpkin pie is best with whipped cream.
18. Because I think I can.
19. Because the high will last longer than the lactic acid.
20. Because it sets an example for my kids.
21. Because the cool air feels good on my skin.
22. Because I will be inspired by the winner (who finished in less than half my time -- 2:21 to my 4:58) and by people who run much more slowly than I do, but who keep going and going and going.
23. Because I am not built to be a runner.
24. Because I will be among friends I never met before.
25. Because I will find reasons to smile. Like the line of still-drunk fraternity brothers who high-fived me or the shirt of the woman in front of me that read “Does this shirt make my butt look fast?” or the sign that read “Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt.”
26. Because pushing myself is the only way to know my limits.
27. Because there are no limits. Really.