Kudos Ms. Belle - I was a dedicated (spelled a-d-d-i-c-t-e-d) runner for about 20 years, until I settled into a lifestyle that made running somewhat superfluous for me. At 39, my only child was born. Soon after his mom and I split up (he was 8 then) a great local guy and Kenyan immigrant began offering running workshops. My son expressed interest, to my delight, so each Sunday morning for a couple of months we would be the only ones to take Raymond up on his offer for the workshop. I had been having some puzzling issues with one leg for a while before, and thought something like, "I've been working my body too hard at work without attending to a more "balanced" exercise regimen. And of course I had to provide a positive example for my son, right? So I went for it, with a measure of gusto. In retrospect, it seems somewhat ironic that this undoubtedly hastened the disappearance of the last vestiges of cartilage in my hip, leading to eventual hip replacement surgery. Raymond's coming of age stories of having to kill a lion to achieve official manhood status in his home village made any discomfort I felt at the time seem trivial indeed. Radio lab (http://www.radiolab.org/story/runners/) aired an absolute must hear story for anyone interested in running, and/or the juxtaposition of genetics and culture, and/or the marvel of what the human body and spirit is capable of.
And many years earlier, I worked on a "hotshot" wildfire crew for the feds. Every day we weren't on a fire they paid us to run at least 3 miles before beginning our day of project work. I was in my prime then and running regularly on my own, but living on the coast at low elevation. We began the season at the Grand Canyon, at 7000' with desert air to gasp at. I didn't barf that first week but not for lack of wishing to for the relief it would have brought. After a while I got acclimated and started thinking I was approaching immortality. Then we shifted bases to Yellowstone. Now it's 8000'. What's a lousy thousand feet at that point, right? Kicked my butt like I didn't imagine possible. Got used to that, and then we moved to Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park at 9000'. Guess what? But then we ended the season at Crater Lake and it was only 4500'. And try as I might, I was incapable of getting out of breath. It was like I had an extra lung or two. Felt like (no, I was) Superman. One of the standard jokes in the fire community is "Why does a hotshot hike downhill? So (s)he can hike back up again."
I firmly believe these experiences were profoundly inherent in achieving the satisfactions I've had and still share with my sexual partners. My son is about to turn 21 now. He was a kick ass soccer player in high school but hitting the books hard in college now with a heavy schedule. I've been encouraging him to take up regular running...
And please don't let my personal experience dissuade you from running. I blame something else for the dissolution of my cartilage. Just keep feeding your soul.