Why I Run

30 Oct

I realize that many, maybe even thousands, of women have written blogs on why they run.  After 2.5 years of blogging this topic is finally making its way into this blog, and its somewhat about time.  I run for so many different reasons.

Growing-up I was one of those kids that truly struggled to run one mile in gym class.  I remember having to walk part of the 1 mile fitness test in school several years in a row.  I was so NOT born to run.  I remember hardly being able to do one pull up.  I thought it was allergies, asthma, and so many other things.  Reality is, I wasn’t in good physically shape.  But I wasn’t fat or even chubby either.  I just didn’t do anything that required endurance.  Then middle school came around and I traded in my roller skates (that is not a typo – lol) for my new found my love for field sports in soccer, and later in high school field hockey.  And I did Outward Bound somewhere in there too. It was also a recipe for get-in-shape fast!

Then the summer after my freshman year of college I packed-up my bright green ford escort and hit the road solo to move to Boulder Colorado.  I was determined to grow even farther outside of my comfort zone.  It was there, a mile above sea level, that I really began to run.  It started with daily hikes in the flat iron hills in Boulder, then hiking the continental divide, Estes Park, Zion National Park, and so on.  As ski season approached I realized I needed to kick it up a notch and the best way to get there was by running.  I just really wanted to live up that 5 mountain ski pass.  And so my love for distance running began.  I’ll be honest I really disliked running at first, REALLY disliked it.  I’d focus on how tired and heavy my legs felt, and I’d have to stop after a bit.

The next summer I spent living and working in Connecticut, (and for several summers thereafter) which was not my “chosen” place to be.  And I needed to find ways to make the best of it.  Off I went to find a dose of nature.  This led me to spending the evenings after work heading straight out to Talcott Mountain and the various Reservoir trails – to RUN.  It was on these trails through the forests that I found my stride.  I can still remember the accomplishment I felt after running 3 miles without stopping.  I grew stronger, physically and mentally, with every run.  I see myself and life differently when I run. I am healthier inside and out.  And 13+ years later and I am still doing it.  I’ve run in pretty much every country and culture I’ve visited.  It is a part of how I experience the world.

I run because I can.  One mile became two, two became three, and next time I look I find that I can run 13 miles without stopping.  When I run I feel like I am feeding my body life.  With every mile I am proving to myself that I am even more capable and powerful than I ever thought I could be.  I feel strong when I run, I feel unstoppable.  Running builds my confidence and courage to make the impossible possible everyday.  It keeps at bay the professional self-doubt that so many women are plagued with.

My mind and body become one when I run as  my mind becomes placid and drifts away.  Running puts me in balance and at ease.  It tames my restless soul and brings me into living for today.  Its the only chance I get to sort through my thoughts without interruption, to make sense of life and keep it in perspective.  Running has come to be my form of zen meditation.  I am a better person when I run.  A better mother.  A better wife, daughter, friend, boss, and co-worker.

I run because its hard.  And when I think I can’t keep going, I know  deep down that I can, and I keep going.  Nothing feels better.  It hurts at times.  Beads of sweat pour down my face, mile after mile of relentless forward progress.  There is a lump in my chest from breathing in the dry crisp air of winter, yet I feel refreshed.  I conscientiously smile to the world as I hit a new person record.  I run because I strive to be better than myself.

I run because it makes me happy.

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