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  • Writer's pictureIndranil Mitra

Why I Run

I was going to do this as a more structured post, but oddly I feel this works better like this.

I run. Long distances mostly, and often with limited training. Every year I say "I'm going to take it seriously this year" and for whatever reason, I never do. By long distances, I mean the NYC Marathon. Every year for the last 4 years (minus the covid year). I'm already signed up for next year's marathon, and am also running the first ever Jersey City marathon in April. I get slower every year, don't particularly love running, and again, have never really put in the work (is that actually more impressive? Showing up without training?).

So why in hell do I do this?

Because I can. And because a good amount of people can't. Which means I have to.

I grew up severely asthmatic. From infancy til almost 12 years old, I took daily medication, could barely run 1 mile, and spent hours on a nebulizer. I remember many sleepless nights, propped up on my mom's lap, struggling to breathe. I remember being unable to take sports seriously despite wanting to play them. And to this day, because of the meds, my joints and flexibility are abysmal.

I'm lucky though. Around 12/13, I started to outgrow it. I started playing tennis seriously, training upwards of 30 hours per week. With the meds, training, and simply growing, I was able to get off of daily medication by high school. I no longer take any asthma medication and don't even have a rescue inhaler (probably not the smartest idea).

That's not the case for all people. A lot of people don't really outgrow their asthma. Many end up hospitalized for it at some point, and while mine was severe, I never got to that point. I was fortunate enough to get past that point build the lungs, and get decently fit.

Separately, I've struggled with my weight most of my life. Not getting into that and the excuses that come with it right now, but it's another complicating factor. So all told, I've been overweight and with undercapacity lungs much of my life, but still say I need to run long distances because I can.

Because I can. I've done it. 4 times already. And every year I run the marathon, I see people alongside me that have it harder than me. My pacer this year was easily 70 years old if not older. I've run alongside firefighters in full gear, people on crutches, and people with various disabilities. I should be careful here as I don't want to be insensitive. None of the things I mentioned mean that you can't be a great runner or are even expected to be less of a runner. But let's be real and admit that a 26 year old guy of "normal" ability is expected to have it easier than a 70+ year old person, especially in the nearly 80 degree weather we had at this year's NYC Marathon.

So seeing as though people of all abilities run it, and that I grew up not being able to come close to 26.2 miles, now that I can handle the distance - I need to. And I want to get as good as possible.

I'm going to clean this post up sometime soon and write it a little more actionably. Or at the least, with a little more thought.

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