With Spring quickly approaching (wishful thinking?) I find myself getting more and more excited for my upcoming races. When I tell my family, friends and colleagues about all of the races I plan to run this year, they often come back at me with the question, “But why?” Why do you run? Of course they encourage me, but they just don’t understand why I actually enjoy running.
Truth be told, I wasn’t always a runner. Sure I was athletic, I played tennis 5x a week! I enjoyed running to hit the tennis ball, but running just to run? Eh, I could take it or leave it.
Fast forward a few years and I still LOVE to play tennis, but don’t get out there as much as I used to. Now I am all about running. Of course I do other forms of exercise too, Barrework, Zumba etc. But for whatever reason, there’s just nothing that can compare to a run.
Whenever people ask me why I run, I usually just tell them the first thing that comes to my mind. Because I can, because I like it, because it makes me feel good. However, after much consideration and pondering over this question, I’ve realized that there is really much more to why I run and here is why.
Why I Run
I run because it makes me feel strong. Not only physically strong, but mentally strong as well. When I finish a run, I feel invincible. I feel accomplished. When I complete a long run, I prove to myself that I can overcome physical obstacles that I once thought were impossible. Running makes me feel like nothing is impossible.
I enjoy running because it is challenging. Running is NOT easy for me. I repeat, I am NOT a natural-born runner. Every single time I finish a run, I am hit with an amazing sense of satisfaction that I cannot seem to get from any other workout. It allows me to test my personal limits, to get past the feeling of being uncomfortable and to see just how far I can push myself.
When I run, I feel at peace. Running definitely helps me de-stress. I let my legs do the running, I fall into a groove and I just go. During some of my long runs, I have been able to solve some of my biggest problems and think up some of my most clever blog posts.
Sometimes when I run, I go back in time. I recall memories from my childhood, past vacations and times with now deceased family members. Depending on my mood, on some runs I pray, I think up to do-lists, I study or sometimes I just simply zone out and get lost in the music.
Running has taught me to be patient and disciplined. No one can run 5, 10, 13 or 26 miles overnight, but with proper training and the will to succeed, anything can happen. Great things don’t usually happen in a short period of time, they happen when you put the the hard work and effort into them.
Running allows me to break down barriers I didn’t even know existed. When I run I am determined, I am committed and I am positive. The little voice in my head that sometimes says “I can’t do this”, “I’m getting tired” or “stop”, is overcome by a stronger voice that says “Yes I can. I can and I will”.
I run because it is fun! That may sound strange to non-runners, but running makes me feel like I am a little kid again. There is nothing quite like crossing a finish line, or breaking through a new distance. Of course not every run is a good one, but the ability to push through the heavy legs, sore calves and painful lungs is a victory in itself.
I run because it helps me give back. Almost every race that I do supports a great cause. That $60 race fee is going to people that need it more than I do.
Running helps me strengthen relationships, and also start new ones. It is a way for me to stay close to my friends. It provides a common bond between us, and allows us to do something we love, as well as accomplish goals together.
I run because it makes me feel thankful. Thankful that I am able to run, thankful for my life, my health, the time it takes to train and so much more. Nothing makes me appreciate what I have, and allows me to reflect on it more than running.
And that is why I run.
Do you run? Why?