Happy Tuesday! Linking back up for Tuesday's on the Run.
Today's topic: Why do I run?
At first, I thought this would be an easy question to answer. But the more I started thinking about it, the more complicated it became. Why exactly do I run?
When I first started my weight loss journey over 10 years ago (!), I started running because it helped shed pounds fast. But trust me, I didn't enjoy it. I hated waking up at 5am to head to the gym with my mom before school. I remember watching this one guy slug it out on the treadmill for over an hour and wondering what the heck possessed him to do that? (funnily enough, I out run him now)
Once I graduated high school, running became one of the those necessary evils. I walked on to my college's softball team and part of the summer training plan included running. And lots of it. My mom actually PAID one of my former high school teammates to teach/train me to run (not even kidding!). I still didn't like it very much but over the course of that summer, I at least came to terms with it. I remember very clearly running a mile and being proud of it. And then two. And slowly by the end of summer, I was up to 3! It eventually just became a part of my routine. As soon as dinner was over, I'd digest for a few minutes and then head over to the track and run some laps. Never more than 3 miles at a time but to me, it was like running a marathon.
Once I got to college, I kept running on my weekly schedule but nothing too extreme. I eventually quit softball after my sophomore season however and being an athlete my entire life, it felt weird not competing in ANYTHING. My whole life I'd gone to practice everyday, trained everyday, won or lost everyday and all of the sudden, that was gone. And everything just felt off.
So, I decided that I'd take up running a little more seriously. It still wasn't exactly that I enjoyed it yet but I did start appreciating it more and more. I trained and ran my first 5k during the fall of my senior year of college and being slightly hungover, I managed to win my age group. My time was slow and there were only 3 others in my group but I felt a sense of accomplishment that day that I'd never felt before. See, with running, it's all you. There are no teammates to rely on, no one to help fix your mistakes. Everything that happens out there is a result of your training and the time you put into it. And I totally dug that. It was that day that everything started clicking.
As soon as the race was over, I was ready to sign up for another. I ran a few more 5k's that year and ended up winning my age group in several. Some by the pure luck of being the only one in my age group but still. My times were in the 27 & 28's and I was proud.
I continued running and continued improving and my love for the sport slowly became very real. I eventually got my 5k time down to 25 minutes... then 24 minutes... then 23... and now I hover between the high 21's and low 22's. It's been a long, long, LONG process. And I love it. Running doesn't come easy for me. I'm not a natural born runner. Many things have come easy to me in life in regards to sports but running isn't one of them.
And now my newest addiction is long distance--which totally blows my mind considering I once thought 3 miles was a lifetime. Long distance has taught me a lot about life--you have to be patient, have to trust the process, and you have to really, REALLY want it. I love the feeling of getting a 10 miler in and being completely and utterly exhausted. I love knowing that I gave it my all and left nothing out there. To me, that's pure gold.
So, funnily enough, after all of that, I guess I still haven't answered the question of why do I run? See, I told you it was complicated.
Here it goes.
I run because it's my time to think. I run because the feeling of working my body to it's max is one of the best in the world. I run because it's taught me the value of patience. I run because it's not easy. I run because I love the sense of accomplishment I get. I run because I love winning. I run because sometimes, it IS about the t-shirt. I run because it's my version of coffee every morning. I run because I love talking to other runners and sharing ridiculously awesome and gruesome stories. I run because it's FUN.
I run because most importantly, it makes me happy.
Have a great Tuesday!