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Intel Perks: Do Oregonians Really Enjoy Running?

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Note from blog editor: As you may have gauged from my past blog posts, I am not a runner, but Intel and Oregon managed to bring out the “runner” in me. Looks like Sophia and I are cut from the same cloth! Sophia, a test program engineer in the microprocessor group, recently blogged about an event organized by Intel’s Race Directory team and sponsored by “Great Place to Work” for our Oregon employees!

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I mostly love to hate it. If you’re reading this, chances are you: A. Are one of the crazy people who insanely declare that you LOVE running B. Know someone of group A C. Often ponder the same question as the title - do people REALLY enjoy doing this?

Well, I definitely fit in group B, I know a lot of people who I find crazy. But, I’m a bit of A and C myself. I used to be purely in the C camp. As a kid, my elementary school had the Presidential fitness challenge. I’m fairly certain it was just a legal way to torture kids. Part of this fitness challenge was to run a mile. If you could do that in under 10 min and complete some other fitness tests, you got a nifty certificate. I used to have sleepless nights and then nightmares before the mile test. Needless to say, I never earned my certificate. I hated running so much that my classmates would finish, shower, then make it back out to the track to watch me stumble through. Sad, I know. I played sports as a kid, a lot of other activities, but I was never one to run just to run.

Flash forward to my move to Oregon after graduating college. Practically everyone I met out here was a runner. Since I’ve struggled with body image issues my entire life, I thought maybe I’d give running another shot. According to my mom, being chubby was a good thing in Chinese culture, it meant you were well off and fed well. She didn’t realize that little culture clash would cause me a lifetime of worrying. So I took up running. Then promptly realized I hated it and quit. Repeat evil cycle: take up running, feel discouraged, quit.

Then one year, a friend talked me into signing up for Race for the Cure! 5K… that’s like… over 3 miles?! So I trained. Suffered. Cursed myself for signing up. Then race day came. When I crossed the finish, I discovered how someone could say they LOVED running. It was amazing. Doing something while surrounded with thousands of others who are cheering you on and encouraging you is amazing. It makes the miles seemingly go by faster. That race was about 5 years ago. Since then, I’ve been running semi-regularly and have actually completed 2 half marathons (not bad for someone who hates running). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still often in the “Why do people DO this” camp, but every race I complete, I remember how much fun it can be! I still sometimes go out for an easy jog and find myself walking. But who cares, walking is still getting me somewhere.

So… that is my long winded way to talk about a fun race that Intel’s “Great Place to Work” team recently sponsored. It was a 5K/10K race open to all Oregon employees and their families. We had over 2500 people attend the event! Each participant received a race shirt (courtesy of adidas), barbecue lunch, and a beer. For some reason, barbecue and beer tastes better when you’ve already burned off some of the calories. Guilt-free! Don’t things always seem better when you worked hard and earned it?

Like I mentioned, the race was open to employees and immediate family, so there were quite a few kids and teens involved. It is amazing to see the kids crossing the same finish line as their parents. Some of them were encouraging their parents to go faster! What a great way to spend time with your kids while showing them a fun way to stay active.

There were definitely all levels of runners and walkers out there. Some have never done a race, some were seasoned veterans. But they all crossed the finish with smiles on their faces and a sense of accomplishment knowing they just did something really good for themselves. And Intel helped make it all happen! Intel loves promoting health and wellness; this was just one of the great events!

Check out the sea of yellow shirts in the pic below! This was definitely a fun way to give us a mental break from sitting in front of our computers!