I run. Yup, thick girls with thick thighs can and do run. I get a lot of quizzical looks: You run?! You run?! Huh, you run.  (Insert scrunched eyebrows, pinched faces here.) And I don’t run “just a little bit” — I run long distances.  Well, not insanely, crazy long distance Ultra Marathon-lengths of 50km or 50 miles, because, well, that’s just crazy.  No, I run the standard long distances of half (13.1mi) or full (26.2mi) marathons. I’m training for some right now. And I raise money for charity while I’m at it. 

I was out running this past Saturday — 12 miles just so you know —  and The Little Voice Inside asked “What are you doing this for? Really, why?! You’re going to go home smelling all sorts of un-fresh; your legs, no your whole person, will be tired, and it’s going to be dark. Your belly will be too tight to eat any sort of proper meal so you’ll go to bed hungry, and you’ll prob’ly wake up a little dehydrated.  So, tell me again why?”

Actually The Little Voice Inside didn’t say all of those things, but it was implied in that one word: WHY?  What motivates me to get out the door at half-past-dark-o’clock on a Saturday morning?

I thought about the word, then I decided to look it up*:


noun \ˌmō-tə-ˈvā-shən\

Definition of MOTIVATION
1 a : the act or process of motivating
   b : the condition of being motivated
: a motivating force, stimulus, or influence :incentivedrive
— mo·ti·va·tion·al  adjective
— mo·ti·va·tion·al·ly  adverb
Then I had to look up the root word*:


noun \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\

Definition of MOTIVE
1: something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act
2: a recurrent phrase or figure that is developed through the course of a musical composition

The short answer is because others can’t, for whatever variety of reasons: illness, physical disability, life is too hectic to add anything else. The even shorter reason is because I can. It’s good for me and my bones. It’s cheaper than therapy and medication. It gives me time to think, or just shut my thoughts down completely.  It gets me outdoors.

The long explanation for the short reason is because I have 6 relatives with 5 different kinds of cancer (prostate, bladder, kidney, breast x2, facial nerve cancer with a name too long to pronounce), a nephew with Down Syndrome, friends with Cerebral Palsy and another who is a 3-time lymphoma and secondary breast cancer survivor.  One friend with CP has said the first thing he wants to do when he gets to heaven is climb a tree.  Climb a tree! It’s one of those childhood rites of passage he’s never had a chance to pass.  That really struck a chord with me — no tree climbing, no hopscotch, no Red Rover, no raucous games of tag, no jungle gym swinging.  All these childhood playground and neighborhood games watched from the sidelines. That thought made me, makes me, sad.

That thought also made me quicken my step just a bit. On Saturday I posted my best pace to date for 12 miles.