Why Do I Run

Everytime I run, I think of my sister, Ruth. I try to run at least 3 days a week. It is my preferable form of exercise. I learned to love running when I was in Jr. High school and found I was pretty good at it. Although I chose to run sprint races in Junior High and High School, it was in college that I found that I was more suited to middle distances. Not possessing enough fast  twitch muscles to be competitive in the short distances and not able to mentally focus for the longer distances, a middle distance is really perfect for me.

My sister, the fourth of six girls, and I, the sixth of six girls, shared a love for running – really sports in general but especially running. She is also most gifted in the middle distances. I didn’t feel like I could compete with her success, so I chose the shorter distances and had little to no success there. Ruth was the giver of one of the only Christmas presents that I still remember – a poster. I realize that a poster isn’t that exciting and it shouldn’t be the most memorable; however, it was the subject of the poster that I still remember.

The poster had whimsical little cartoon people in all manner of mid-80’s running attire padding their way around the boarder while in the middle of the poster there was this rhythmic, rhyming poem.

Why do I run?
‘taint no mystery —
wanna have a good medical history.
Doctor told me
runnin’ is great–
helps the blood cells circulate.

Great for the lungs,
great for the ticker
can’t nothin’
getcha in better shape quicker.

Feels so healthy,
feels so sweet
pumpin’my arms and flappin’ my feet.

Moldin’ my muscles,
firmin’ my form,
pantin’ like a pack mule,
sweatin’ up a storm.

Keeps me youthful,
keeps me loose,
tightens my tummy
and shrinks my caboose.
beats bein’ sluggish
beats bein’ lazy–
Why do I run?
Maybe I’m crazy!

My mother affixed that poster to some plywood with decoupage, so I could hang it on my wall.  (It was her way of saving money on a poster frame and using the materials we had around the house.  Yes, we had plywood.  I grew up in the ’70s.  Our entire house had panelling.) It hung on my bedroom wall until my parents sold the house 11 years after I graduated.  I don’t know what happened to that poster.

I still think about it though.  When I am reaching the “comfortable” point in my run right after “pantin’ like a pack mule,” the last stanza pops into my head, “tightens my tummy and shrinks my caboose.”  Oh, yeah, I think, if nothing else, please shrink my caboose.  Then I think of my sister and I smile, because she probably doesn’t realize that I think of her often and smile. She probably doesn’t remember giving that poster to me.  I remember it, and I remember idolizing her somewhat, and I remember how special she is to me.


5 thoughts on “Why Do I Run

  1. WOW! Thanks sis!! I have always liked to run and I know you did to, and far succeeded my every hope and dream. I liked thinking that if I ran, I would stay healthy longer. I need to start up again…. someday. :o) Very nicely written. me

  2. My memories of your family are when I came round your house and every time I said something they would say “slow down” as the combination of my accent and jabbering too fast totally confused them!
    I still chuckle about that when I think of you x

  3. I still have that very poster on my wall in my exercise room beside my treadmill. A running buddy of mine gave it to me sometimes in the early 80′s. And, like what I read, he made my frame as well. I will keep this poster forever…..I love and cherish it and his friendship.

  4. I loved this. I remember this poster from my early teens when I got into road races. I still recite it once in awhile, but I had forgotten a verse and it was driving me crazy. I Googled the first line, hoping someone had posted it. Thanks for the memories and refresher!

    1. You are welcome! I always thought I had the only copy of that poster. It holds a special place in my heart. It was a quirky inspriration for me. Not many of my friends or family understood my love of running.
      Thanks for visiting my blog!

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