November 6, 2015

Why I Run

Several weeks ago a friend posted something about why she runs. It got me thinking about why I run and that very day Finn ran upstairs to get his long sock to mimic the compression socks I was wearing from my run. He has wanted to race and the couple times he's participated in them he's loved them. So I really think that why I run does have a lot to do with the example I want to set for my kids, and it helps to keep me running, but it's definitely not how I started running. 

I ran cross country in high school, but on the JV team, and never was very good, nor did I care about being very good. I did it just to be involved in something. Then I went to West Point where you have to run and I was average, but not great and, again never really cared to run much. I liked doing the occasional race, but wasn't at all passionate about it. While I was a cadet, my close friend Dana and I decided we wanted to run a marathon. It was a bucket list thing for both of us and we figured we would do it, cross it off the list, and never do one again. So we sort of half assed trained and then very, very slowly we ran the Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2005. And I swore I would never run another marathon.

Dana and I ran the whole thing together, only stopping at water stations.
Our then boyfriends, now husbands, also ran - far, far ahead of us.
And yet tomorrow morning, ten years later, I'm running another one. And it's not because I really LOVE running. There are things I like about it, but for me the satisfaction of running comes from the appreciation it's giving me for my body. I'm so grateful and lucky to be in good health to even run and running definitely has taught me a lot about myself. As much as I hate to admit it, I do feel groggy and crabbier if I don't exercise and I love that running gives me an excuse to eat ice cream all day every day. And even though I'm not crazy about running itself, I do love races. Oddly I'm not super competitive - it's more the environment I love and I love seeing people of all shapes and backgrounds complete events they maybe never thought possible. I love seeing people overcome huge obstacles - I think that's what I love most about running; the confidence it gives someone. I really believe anyone can be a runner and I like something that is so inclusive and has such a variety of goals. Anyway, I decided I would run another marathon because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. I wanted to prove that after ten years and three babies I could still put myself through something that I didn't adequately train for in my early twenties. And baring any unforeseen circumstances I really am confident I will do far better than I did when I was a young college student. 

This has been a pretty big running year from me with the Run Across Georgia and a half marathon earlier in the year, some 5 and 10k's and the Army Ten Miler last month. And yet I still wouldn't claim that I love running. But something about it keeps bringing me back. And tomorrow I hope that I end the race proud of how I did, regardless of if I meet my goal or not (though I really, really hope to meet my goal).

If you are new to running and don't know where to start - google the couch to 5k program and sign up for a race. I think that signing up for something is such a great motivator to really force you to get out there and train. I'm signed up for three races in 2016 and hopefully another Run Across Georgia. I don't think I'll add any more marathons to my list, but I also thought that ten years ago I was done, so who knows.

What about you, why do you run?

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6 comments:

  1. Okay, you've convinced me. I am going to do a Colour Me Rad race. I will likely have a heart attack following it, but I'm in! You are super motivational. And I love the idea of being able to eat ice cream all the time. ;)

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  2. Can't chat long now, but I'll come back to this soon. I'm reading a book about running and I want to share it. Good luck tomorrow!

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  3. Good luck tomorrow! You'll do awesome!

    I really dislike running. I used to be a decent athlete and now it has been so long since I really exercised hard that it feels pretty overwhelming. But even when I was in shape, running has never been my jam.

    BUT I have for various reasons run several races and you are right, they are fun and at times so miserable but then still fun to have finished. The energy of the other runners carry you through the first part, then the crowd and music for awhile and then you dig deep when you are hurting and then the adrenaline of getting close to the end...

    I'll be thinking of you, mama of three, running hard and feeling good about yourself! xoxo

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  4. You're ridiculously inspirational. I need some of your determination. I'm so glad you made it through despite the conditions, I hope your next race is much easier on you!

    Oh, and I run because I have the threat of an APFT constantly hanging over my head. I think if I could run as slow as I wanted it would be much more enjoyable!

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  5. I agree with all that you said. I especially love the friendliness and community feeling amongst runners, especially at races. I like to smile and cheer others on and in real life that is sometimes seen as socially awkward but in a race it is always well received. :)

    I know you said no more marathons but what about we do one together when we're 40? That sounds fun!

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  6. Oh, and by together I obviously mean that you run all fast and stuff and chill at the finish line massage booth while you wait for me to come in an hour later and then we party and take pictures. :)

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