Why I Run

One of my favorite bloggers over at Happy Fit Mama recently wrote a post about why she runs.  I absolutely love reading stories about why other runner’s run.  Sometimes their reasons are the same as mine, sometimes they are different.  But I can always relate, on some level, to the feelings they talk about when they’re running; to their “whys”.

And it got me thinking.  Why do I run?

I started running in high school.  I was a slightly chubby, decently talented soccer player who wanted to be better.  I ran as part of conditioning workouts, and once I got past the point of hating the runs (i.e. they finally got easier) I realized how fun it was to feel like you’re flying.  From there I joined my high school track team and competed throughout high school in the distance events (1600m, 3200m, and 4 x 800m relay team).  I did pretty well, and even competed at our conference championships my junior year.  My mile PR, which I will never come close to again, was 5:39!  Running gave me confidence.  Running gave me an identity, and a way to categorize myself, which was actually pretty important.

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(I have no idea why anyone thought this uniform was a good idea.  My favorite touch is the “scrunchy” in my hair).

I debated trying out for the cross country team in college. I went to a DIII school, so theoretically, it should have been possible.  But it turns out that my college happens to have a girls cross country team that wins National Championships just about every year.  I was more than a little intimidated, and did not try out for the team.  Still, I ran in college.  Not as often as I should have, but I ran.  Running helped me keep my sanity, to de-stress from all the papers and exams.  Running helped me maintain my weight, and not gain all of the freshman fifteen.  Running helped me meet a few friends, and I learned how quickly miles can fly with good company.

After college, I kept running  pretty consistently.  I started entering local 5K and 10K races.  I started to get faster, and I found myself craving times to run.  I would get up before work to run and I am not a morning runner.  But when it was a choice between that or not running, I made it happen.  I became more consistent, and I fell even more in love with the sport.  Running gave me the satisfaction of watching myself improve, of overcoming barriers and achieving new goals.  I ran my first marathon in 2006.  Running gave me an appreciation for what my body could really do.

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(After the Detroit Marathon in 2006.  All I remember is we finished on the 50 yard line of Ford Field and then had to climb several flights of stairs to get the heck out of there.  Fail!)

When I was pregnant with my daughters, running gave me a healthy way to exercise.  Running allowed me to keep moving and time to embrace the solitude while pondering what the coming months and years were going to look like.  I stopped running (waddling?) eight months into my first pregnancy, and I ran again for the first time at four weeks post-partum.  It was not pretty.  I was slow and every movement felt hard and labored, not carefree and natural.  But I remember almost every minute of that euphoric two mile (treadmill!) run.  I was so happy I cried!  To be fair, I was four weeks post-partum and cried about a lot of things.  Running gave me an emotional outlet, a way to let it all go.

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(After the completion of my first half marathon post-kid.  My oldest was eight months here).

And now?

I run because I can leave a hot mess and return a calm and happy mama.

I run because I love a challenge.

I run because it’s a healthy way to compete, to push myself to improve.

I run because sometimes it’s the only hour of my day that I get to do exactly what I want.

I run because it feels amazing.

I run because I can hear myself think better.

I run because of the feeling of accomplishment that comes after a challenging speed session or long run.

I run because there is no better feeling in the world than running on a “good day” where you feel like you could go forever.

I run because I want my girls to see that women can be strong and confident – and that these are good things.

I run because I am so thankful to God for my body, and I want to use it to His glory.

I run because I love it, because it still defines me, makes me happy, and de-stresses me.

I run because I am – and will always be – a runner.

What about you?  Why do you run?

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2 thoughts on “Why I Run

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