Why I Run: Christy Ackley Zuzelo


Christy Zuzelo titled this 2010 photo, "Boston Joy," and it pretty much sums it up

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.


32 responses to “Why I Run: Christy Ackley Zuzelo

  1. Unquestionably imagine that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be at the web the simplest factor to take note of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as people think about concerns that they plainly do not realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , folks could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  2. The lovely orange hat is from Headsweats – I got it from but you can get it direct too. I chose it specific for the race because orange is my husband’s favorite color, the color of our kids’ stroller, matched my kicks (fastinista in the making) and I wanted to stand out on the streets of Boston without having to wear a hot dog suit. During the long winter training, I wore a different orange hat, one of those hardware store ones. My teammates would giggle at my bright orange bobbing up and down knowing exactly where I was. Orange hats became MY thing. Kinda like SBS and her purple one. I love this hat. I never thought I would become attached, but I did.

  3. You are an amazing MOTHER RUNNER. I love the concept of motivations evolving. I can never describe why I run in one sentence. Its the journey of running entwining with life that makes running amazing. Keep running mama. Your motivation and passion is an inspiration.

    1. Yes! I love the idea of the journey of running entwining with life. I hope that I can run long enough that I will be able to use the training around and some of the races as milemarkers for my life events. What was going on in this point of my life? what was I feeling? What race did I train for that helped or reflected that time?

  4. I agree with Kris… My motivations evolve all the time… Lovely post… Congrats on a fast ascending year in the world of running!

  5. I am loving this series. I’ve been trying to define why I run and haven’t quite put my finger on one reason, or even 5 reasons – Christy said it all – “my reasons change on a regular basis”. Mine change daily, sometimes even mid-run. All I do know for sure is that this fifty something former non-athlete found something I didn’t even know was missing when I started running last year and I plan on enjoying my second half of life.

  6. Wow Christy! You are amazing! I have not run in a while. Mainly because I gained back my weight and it’s just too hard right now. After my last two races, both half marathons, where I had to walk most of it, I pretty much gave up on it. But reading this makes me want to get back to it. I’m still working on the weight loss, but I need to get back to running again. I used to love it so much, and I want that feeling back!

    1. Thanks Robin. Oh I know what you mean! I try hard some days to let my reasons to NOT run be because I won’t be as fast or as long as I was before. Like, “It’s too hot, I’ll have to walk some. I’ll just run tonight” only to get caught up in the laundry won’t fold itself routine. I realized if I want an excuse, I will find one. Excuses are a lot easier to come by than a easy run.

      Present tense thinking takes a lot of the pressure off – you don’t have to worry about what you did or what you are going to do. You just do it, ya know?

  7. I LOVE this series so much. I could read “why I run”s all day. Nothing inspires me more.

    Christy, you are an amazing lady! thank you for sharing your “why I run” story!!

    1. Thanks Jessica! I know, I want to read more of them! When SBS asked, it took me awhile to get it down on paper and I was afraid I missed their deadline but even if I had, I was really glad I did the exercise. I’d like to do it again since my reasons really do change on a regular basis. I would encourage you and anyone else to write your own reasons down.

  8. Christy is an amazing mom, wife, mother and friend. I am so grateful to know her. And her blog is terrific! Seeing this today on my only other favorite blog made my heart happy.

  9. From C25K to a marathon to Boston in one year? You are an amazing Mother Runner! I, too, run because it’s something I never thought I could do. It’s an empowering experience for this 40-something runner .

  10. love your reasons to run, right down to the grass-fed cheeseburger. In fact, I’m with you on All of them. Congrats on such an impressive running journey!

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