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In a conversation with a customer about running, it was made perfectly clear that she ran enough to get the benefits of running but not so much that she would become obsessed with the sport. This got me to thinking about what defines obsession and whether I fell into that category. When I looked it up I found to be obsessed means that your thoughts or actions are dominated by a persistent idea or desire. Well I suppose since I own a running store, talk about running all day, run for health, fitness and pleasure, holiday around running races and have a large group of friends who run, you could say I'm obsessed. To continue on with the definition however, the adjectives used were predominately negative; "unhealthy", "irrational", "compulsive". To be sure, my conversation mate definitely perceived "runners" to be compulsive, irrational and to some extend unhealthy in their preoccupation with running which is why she chooses not to be associated with the "running" culture. I suppose I should have taken offense to this perception but in reality there are many that look at runners like they are indeed off their rockers. Quite often runners report that their friends think they're "crazy" for wanting to run a half marathon, or "nuts" to travel to the farthest reaches of the world, pay good money, and lots of it for the pleasure of running in all kinds of weather just to receive a medal. In fact if I had a dollar for every time I was called "crazy" when describing my next run, I would retire some place warm and spend my days...running! Personally I think it's crazy to not want to run or walk, or bike or swim, or whatever mode of exercise keeps your muscles moving and your heart pumping. Aside from the highly recognized health benefits of exercise like improved cardiovascular functioning, muscle tone, increased fat burning and lowered blood pressure to name but a few, it also improves your mood, reduces stress and increases oxygen to the brain. Exercise also builds confidence and character which builds a stronger self-image, and provides a sense of empowerment and freedom by knowing that you are strong and capable. You know if this all came in a pill everyone would want it. Running is certainly not for everyone but exercise is, so don't hesitate to get out there and find that activity that makes you want to get up in the morning and repeat it every day because of all the positives it brings to your life. If you think running may be for you, seek out a running friend or join one of our "Learn to" groups. The social aspect of a group can be highly motivating, contributing to your success and helping you find some new friends in the process.

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