The word “running” used to conjure up painful and awkward memories of gym class. My middle-school gym teacher, Mrs. Morey, would stand her roly-poly body at the top of the hill behind our school, barking through a megaphone between bites of beef jerky at us red-faced kids as we ran circles around the track. According to her, running was supposed to build character, or whatever it is they teach gym teachers to say in gym teacher school.
Needless to say, most of the gasping kids on the track were thinking the same thing: Character? <bleep> you. Choke on your jerky, fatty.
Your first experience with running was probably in gym class. And it’s quite possible it left the same rancid taste in your mouth, with little desire to ever run again. But no more! I hit the reset button on my attitude towards running, and for the last two years, have gone from hating running to loving it (most of the time). Running really doesn’t suck as much as you think. Here’s why:
1. Most races and fun runs are full of hot bodies in very little clothing. Let me repeat that: HOT PEOPLE. WEARING PRACTICALLY NOTHING. Wear sunglasses, and ogle with reckless abandon.
2. You can lose weight by drinking nothing but hot water with lemon. Or you can run for an hour, treat yourself to a cookie and still fit into your skinny jeans. One of these options makes you bitchy; the other makes you rad.
3. Take your iPod with you, and your runs suddenly become a safe place to indulge your love of boy-band music. With enough practice, you can even blend in a couple dance moves from ‘Bye Bye Bye’. Don’t lie: You’ve still got that routine memorized.
4. When your boss, your melodramatic friend and your nagging to-do list won’t leave you alone, calmly put on your running shoes and head out the door. They won’t follow you. It’s a safer alternative to storming out with both middle fingers in the air (though you can -and should- still do this in your head, just for spectacular effect).
5. You’ll discover lululemon pants are good for more than just buying tampons and Cheez-its at Target (I know, ladies. My world was rocked with that discovery, too.).
6. Running is the last place you have to “be a lady.” Sweat, snot and sneaking behind a bush to pee is not only liberating it’s fun, in that giggly-childish-naughty kind of way.
7. Getting a run in before happy hour means you get tipsy on half a glass of wine instead of your usual two. That’s not being a lush, that’s just sound economic planning.
8. Studies have shown that runners have better sex. Sex counts as a cross-training workout, which in turn makes you a better runner, which – hello! – leads to even better sex. Really, the whole thing is full of win-wins.
9. Girls are lucky; there’s an entire industry committed to making us look awesome while getting our sweat on. Workout clothes come in all sorts of cool colors and designs. Jockstraps, on the other hand, will always be ugly with questionable stains.
10. Non-runners will sit on the couch and call you crazy. Those folks, sadly, will never learn what their bodies are capable of. You, on the other hand, will die knowing you completely, totally, unabashedly used up the body that was loaned to you. That’s not crazy. That’s freakin’ awesome.