Why I Run: Christy Ackley Zuzelo
I met Christy Zuzelo, a mom of two in Needham, Mass., somewhere on the interweb. I’m in awe of her rapid ascent as a runner–from a half marathon in June of last year to the Boston Marathon this April. All the while with a smile on her face, as well as encouraging, helpful advice for other women struggling to lose weight. Sample Christy’s infectious charm on Twitter and at her blog.
I had a very odd dream the other night. I dreamt I could sing. And not the auto-tune-now-I-can-sing kind of singing, but the belt out-loud-this-is-my-real-voice Nina Simone or Adele kind of singing. I woke up completely puzzled. Like I often do with puzzling thoughts, I overanalyzed every small thing my subconscious needed to process.
Do I have a new, amazing gift of song? (I sang a few bars. Um, nope, still need the auto-tuner.) Did I fall asleep during “Glee”? What gives? Must be symbolic or something. Or, could it have anything to do with the super-sweet feeling of my recent half-marathon PR? Okay, it might be a stretch…but I do tend to sing when I run. (Did I really just admit that?) You know, to get the breathing right.
In my dream, I was singing, doing something I never thought possible and with complete joy. Kind of like running. Hmmm.
The thing is, running didn’t always bring me joy. In fact, I nearly hated it. Hate is a strong word. Loathed, despised, or detest would be better.
I tried running several times to lose weight starting as early as high school, even joining the cross-country team. I thought it would be fun, especially knowing there were no tryouts and I wasn’t going to not get picked like with basketball. But unfortunately, it wasn’t fun. The girls, having run all summer, were extremely competitive, skinny, and fast, and I was not. As a slightly overweight teenager and one that took things so darn personally, comments made by coaches about my weight, my funny form, and the fact I was pretty much in last place every race, turned me off to running. I eventually quit the team. Over the next 20 years, each attempt at running led to quiting, often before I even set foot out the door.
Since today I am the type of person that continually works on living in the present moment, going back and reliving the past seems like an object lesson in futility. And I certainly don’t want to go back and relive high school. (Yikes!) But yet, sometimes in order to be present, in the moment, and to move past the past, we do need a little healing salve. Or a dream to remind us just how far we’ve come.
Today I am a runner. After coaching myself last year through Couch-to-5K-to-half-marathon-to-full-marathon, I can safely say, I will not quit. Not this time.
My motivations to run change on a regular basis (talk about living in the present moment!). Some days I run for the grass-fed cheeseburger; some days it is to meditate; some days it is to sing along to music no one but me wants to hear; some days it is to breathe; some days it is to train for something I never thought I could do; some days it is to help my friends train for something they never thought they could do; some days it is because it is just so darn beautiful out not to; and some days I run for the resentment from the past to pour off like sweat and acceptance to enter like GU.
Today, right now, I am going out for a run. Today, I run because of the joy it brings.