My husband and I have very different ideas of what is “fun.”

I run because it’s fun. It is something I genuinely enjoy.

He runs … I’m just guessing here, but because it’s a great way to stay in shape, and I think he likes torturing himself. From the way he talks, he loved bootcamp, loved having people yelling at him, working out until he puked, etc. When he runs, he often yells at himself the same way his RDCs (Navy drill sergeants) yelled at him. He talks about our upcoming races (the Sunburst Half, and now, the marathon) as if he is dreading them, that they are something to be conquered but not enjoyed. He definitely doesn’t go out for a run and marvel at the beauty around him, thrilled at what his body is allowing him to do.

Like I do.

Last night, I went to bed early because I had an early group run today. My parents asked my husband if he was going to get up early to run tomorrow as well, and he replied, “no, I’m going to actually enjoy my weekend.” He’s often makes comments like that in reaction to my early weekend runs, but I always reply with “I do enjoy this!”

This morning, I woke up sometime around 5am, in order to make it to my training group run. As part of the American Cancer Society’s Determination program, I’m able to train with either the Chicago Area Runners Association or Chicago Endurance Sports for “free.” (In exchange, I have to meet a fundraising minimum or pay the difference.) I chose CARA because they have a local group in the suburbs. Last Saturday was the first day of group runs, but I was at 13.1 Chicago and obviously didn’t make it.

Anyway, being awake before 6am on a Saturday (as I often am, what with group runs and races), I usually think to myself “why do I do this?” I wake up at 5am almost every other day of the week, why do I do it on my day off??

Because I honest-to-God love it.

The CARA group down here meets at a local forest preserve, one big enough to accomodate ever-increasing long runs. At one point during today’s run, when we had been out for about an hour, we were running through the trees, and the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, and I’m sure the birds were chirping, and we were passing lots of other friendly faces out on the train running, walking or biking, and we were running along at a nice clip – comfortable but not too slow – and I just had a moment. An “it’s great to be alive!” moment. (Maybe I listen to too much Lin Brehmer on WXRT.) I have these moments a lot when I run.

Old Plank Road Trail
This was not taken today, but you get the idea.

I’ve come to realize in my old(er) age that I’m a very glass half-full kind of person. Sure, I’m a lucky woman – I have an awesome family, great friends, supportive parents, a partner who loves me who I love back, I’ve had access to an great education which has led to a fulfilling job, etc. But, I know a lot of people just as well-off as me who do not have the same sunny disposition.

But I like to look on the bright side of things. Find the joy in every moment (where there is joy to be had). I often tell myself “I have two healthy legs and two healthy lungs and I want to see what they are capable of.” I get a thrill out of that.

Anyway. It’s just another example of how different my husband and I are. (Which keeps things interesting.)

What about you? Is running honestly fun to you? Do you ever have those “life is great!” moments during your runs? Or do you force yourself to run because it’s a great workout or you are working toward a goal? Do you find a weekend with a long run on the calendar to be a fun weekend?