I've known a number of women who enjoy running. They do it not only for exercise, but as a hobby. I've never enjoyed this activity, even when I was fit and younger.
We had to run in middle school. In the seventh and eighth grade it was part of the PE curriculum and was a large part of our grade. Girls had to run 1.2 miles and the boys 1.4. We ran the same path every time. I had my run all planned out. There were places that I would run to, then walk a certain distance before running again. I think I had three periods of walking and running. I never was the first one in, but my time was good enough to give me a good grade. Twice a week we ran. I hated it. It made my face red and it would stay red for an hour after PE was over. It was embarrassing to attend classes or go to lunch with a beet red face. When you are in the seventh grade, and so much of your security and self-esteem is based on how you look in front of your peers, the red face was traumatic. Perhaps that is one more reason I never liked running.
I played soccer a few times. Not the best sport for someone who doesn't like to run. I had lots of fun, but I wasn't good at it. My first season was an all girls team in a girls league. I'm not sure what made me want to try soccer. I didn't like practices, but I did like the games. I always played defense. I didn't have to run as much. When I was fourteen I tried my hand (or foot) at soccer again. This time is was a co-ed team in a co-ed league. The thing was, our team had the only girls in the league. The four of us girls weren't very good, but it was to much of a good thing to pass up playing soccer with a bunch of cute guys. Even if I did have to run a lot.
As I got older and had more control over my classes, I never ran again for exercise. I never even took PE in high school. There are much more interesting and funner ways to exercise. I actually spent two years marching in a band. That wasn't bad. I spent many hours each day on a hot parking lot for months, marching in formation, but it was better than running.
As an adult, I never run if I can help it. Sure, I've chased a few kids down in games of tag and such, but I avoid running when possible.
Strangely, though, I have known quite a few mothers who love running. I never understood why, until one particularly bad day with my kids. At this time I only had two kids, two boys. The boys were driving me nuts. I was getting very upset and felt like running away from all motherly responsibility. Yes, I just wanted to open the door and run away. It got me thinking about running. Maybe that is why so many women run. When they run, for a few minutes or hours, they are running from their kids (or other life problems). All their energy is focused on running away. Of course, they all return after their run. When they have done their miles or minutes, they head home. This end of the run is called the cool down. You run a bit slower and try to get your breathing and heart beat back to normal. Or that is what the exercise experts tell us is the reason for having a cool down. I think it is just because the thought of returning home might just be to depressing. After a good run from the kids and you have to head home, knowing full well what lies in store for you, I think that you would just slow down anyway.
If I started running would I even come home? I guess most days I would. It is nice to shower and have a cool drink of water. But there might be one really bad day where I would just not return home. I might just keep right on running. After a day of dealing with a screaming baby, a fussy toddler, and a tired kindergardener, I might head out for my daily run and never come back. Perhaps it is best that I never start running as a form of exercise. I don't know if I trust myself to come home.