There is literally nothing appealing about the act of running. It's what you do when you hear the footsteps of an axe murderer following closely behind you. It's an act reserved for those casual weekends when you get stranded on the African savanna, chased by a cackle of bloodthirsty hyenas.
I haven't always held this vitriol. I had actually spent some of my awkward middle school years running. Not because I was especially talented or driven enough to practice, but ONLY because I was one of the first in my school to hit puberty. That was the first and the last time I would ever be among the tall people in the room. Being a little more grown than the other kids worked hugely to my advantage, and I took this small window of opportunity to win my way through a few 100m and 200m races.
Then, once high school started, I felt the struggles of being one of those "early sprouting" kids - my height hasn't changed since those years. Oh, and as it turns out, I'm a slow sprinter compared to just about everyone else. So I switched over to the mid and long distance races.
But all that was in the past. A wicked case of shin splints pulled me off the track for a couple years. After that, running was never a part of my grown adult life.
...until the summer of 2014, when I got sucked into the black hole of running. It was actually a perfect storm; a series of circumstances that when mixed together, pulled me back into running.
The suppressive Chicago winters gave me a violent case of cabin fever, and the previous winter was one of the worst recorded in history: a total 67 inches of snowfall and the third coldest in the Second City's history. So naturally, when this summer rolled around, my shriveled-up body craved to soak up sunlight, while being surrounded by my fellow pale sun-deprived Midwesterners, all of whom ironically complained about how hot the summer is.
There is also that ever-present driving force, peer pressure. A couple of my dancer friends had started doing those cute little marathon things. I don't expect that I'm willing to train rigorously enough to earn that 26.2 bumper sticker anytime soon given my various knee issues, but just the fact that some people I know personally are able to run that absurd distance is inspiration enough for me to at least try running.
Maybe, if I practice a bunch and buy some fancy running shoes and socks, maybe I can run a tenth of that.
Although these two forces in combination are awfully persuasive, there was one final thing that pushed me over the brink: My well-known love of bacon.
Bacon Chase 2014 was a historical milestone in my life (or at least my Facebook timeline). The basic gist of it is to trick secretly-fat people like myself into running a whole bunch of kilometers. After navigating around hundreds and hundreds of other runners, you get rewarded with all-you-can-eat plates full of crispy bacon and a Bloody Mary to wash it down. Unsurprisingly, dehydration from running followed by animal-derived salt replacement and vodka is a great recipe for the most wicked 6 hour headache - BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT.
The best part of the Bacon Chase? You get to decide how far you feel like running: the full on, 5K experience - or the 0.05K.
In the end, the Bacon Chase raised $25,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and also raised my blood cholesterol levels the same amount. But all the running I've done since then has left me in better cardiovascular condition.
Knowing that just five thousand meters stood between me and all I could eat bacon, I figured I better learn how to run.
Pun incoming: Bacon set me down the path of running.