This thought hit me when I was in my car, going someplace I can't remember. I thought, "I would run even if I didn't need to lose weight. I run because I love to run." It's impossible to exaggerate how incredible and completely unbelievable this realization feels.
Back in my DC days, I had the determination to climb on the elliptical every day after work for eight months straight but there never came a time when I thought, "I LOVE this! I don't care how many calories I'm burning!" Not a chance. I spent more time on that machine only because I knew there was a direct correlation to weight loss/maintenance. And I got through the time only by distracting myself with music, TV shows, and celebrity gossip magazines (which I don't even like).
In high school, I went through an aerobics video phase. I sweated to the oldies and worked out with Kathy Lee Gifford and did a Latin dance/aerobics hybrid like the clutzy white girl I am. There was never a moment that I just loved these activities; they were always a gateway to weight loss, a hot body and, hopefully, a boyfriend - the crowning achievement of any high school experience (amiright?!).
But, this running thing, I love it, because it gets me out the door, connects me with friends (new and old), gives me goals to reach for, makes me feel like a rock star, energizes my mind so I can think more clearly, and exhausts my body so I sleep like a baby. AND these bits of amazing only represent a portion of the awesome that has come into my life since I started running.
When I'm out on the road, I think about pushing myself to run my fastest mile ever or keeping a consistent pace over many miles or getting up a hill without any walk breaks. When I got my Garmin Forerunner 10 and one of the display options was "calories burned," it didn't even occur to me that I'd want to know that information while running. I want to know how far and how fast. Immolating calories is a terrific bonus of the run but not my primary or secondary or even tertiary reason for squeezing into my spandex and lacing up my Brooks. (Yes, that sentence was partly an excuse to use the word "tertiary." Deal with it.)
Don't get me wrong - I still think about losing weight, since I have 30-40 pounds yet to go, but it's not a thought that plagues me. I'm doing something that makes me feel alive. And, BONUS, that thing will help me achieve lots of other goals, including, but not limited to, losing the extra weight I carry, literally and figuratively.