How many times have you encountered a running friend who, perhaps in the middle of a slump or dealing with an injury, has said they “HAVE to do X miles today?” I readily admit I used to be one of those runners.

To clarify, I use the past tense in describing myself as such not because I never experience the desire to sit on the couch and do nothing some days. Quite the contrary. As much as I love exercise and feeling the wind whipping around me, I unabashedly can state that if liposuction was free, I would probably run less. There are days I just do not have the intense desire to go for a run. I will simply bide my time, dressed in my shoes and shorts, just hoping to get another spam email telling me that I need a better mortgage or, apparently, a larger male member, so I can delete it and delay my run.

But I know one thing for certain, and that is I do not HAVE to run.  No, dear sir or madam as the case may be, I GET to run.

The distinct difference between “have to” and “get to” comes from the fact that all around us there are people who would run any chance they could, but because of serious injuries or other circumstances, have been robbed of that blessing. My own father is one of them. Crippled in a hunting accident before I was born, running is not an option for him. I have no doubt, as much as he jokingly states that my running feats are quite outlandish, he would gladly join me for one of those jaunts rather than continue to not have the choice to do so.

I am in no way saying we cannot have bad days and that our own sufferings and troubles need to always be compared to others who have it worse. We are welcome to have our own down moments and lulls of appreciation as to the gifts we have. However, the next time you think about what workout you “have” to do, take just one second to realize how lucky you are that you “get” to do it.

Then go do it.