Friday, January 14, 2011

Side-effects may include...

Lots of people who run do so to lose weight.  It is, admittedly, a fabulous way to shed unwanted pounds.  But there are so many other wonderful benefits that I have gained from my years of running.  In case you are thinking that it is all about how svelte you can look in a speedo, let me tell you about all the other fabulous things you can get through running:

1.  You will save money.  Yes, that's right!  Running will save you money.  Oh no, not on clothes; you will have to buy a whole second wardrobe for running, plus a second work wardrobe for after you lose all that weight; there are also shoes and iPods and GPS gadgets, heart-rate monitors, fuel belts, gel packs, race entry fees, and PT co-pays.  But you WILL save money on pedicures. You will need all the callouses that build up on your feet to protect you from blisters on long runs.  Furthermore, there is really no point in painting your toenails unless you have all of them (it looks really weird, trust me; better to leave them unpainted). 

2.  You will learn new skills.  The one thing that I have gotten really good at since I started running is spitting.  Not just spitting when you are standing still and leaning over--anyone can do that.  But actual spitting, on the move, without hitting your shoes, face, running partner, or small dog that is "racing" you.  I once believed it was a skill that died long ago, known only to chaw-hocking cowboys of middle America.  But, I learned how to do it like a pro (and, I will admit, still look pretty damn good while doing so, standing on the corner of Mass Ave, waiting to cross the street), and I believe that you can learn how, too.

3.  Increase agility.  Tired of getting the "uh-oh" from the Wii fit when you take the balance test?  When you start running, you will quickly learn to become as agile as a, well, one of those big deer-like things that are so graceful and in all the documentaries about Africa.  Yeah--like that, but without the horns.  Anyway.  Because running is not just about moving forward.  It is also about running over, around, and squeezing between.  Who needs hurdles when there is a world of tethered dogs, tipped over trash cans, 2-foot deep slush puddles, and oblivious carriage-pushers out there, just waiting to be your personal obstacle course?

4.  No more unpleasant cat-box odor.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Running can freshen the cat-box.**  (**Total lie.**)  Okay, well, perhaps a more specific explanation is: you will no longer notice the cat-box.  The system is very simple.  After a long run, immediately strip off all outer layers, and lay them haphazardly over your home's heating elements.  As the radiators do their magic on your sweaty clothes, any odors previously lurking in your house will be eclipsed by the smell of your slowly baking spandex.  Trust me, I have been doing this for years, and not once has my husband complained about the smell of the cat-box.

I hope that this post has opened your eyes to some of the less-well-known benefits of running!  While yes, it will help you lose weight (assuming you run far enough to counter that chicken parm sub you sucked down at lunch time), it has countless other benefits to offer as well--just waiting for you to lace up your shoes and get out there to find them!  

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