Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Do I Run?

Recently, a friend asked me, "Why do you run?" 

I found it virtually impossible to answer quickly. I told her, "I think I'm going to need to do a blog post about it.."

Just finished a 5 mile run. Obviously confused..
Reason #1: I Love a Challenge
There was a point in my life when I finally realized my accomplishments meant more if they were actually challenging.  Running is very challenging. The great thing about it is there is always going to be a challenge. If I get to the point where I can easily run a 10 minute mile, I can aim for a 9:30 mile. I really don't see a point in my future where I will *not* be challenged by running.

I find that I need a goal. I need a race to train for. I used to workout *just* for weight loss. Or fun. And those things have value as well. But, when I have a half marathon scheduled in 4 weeks, that sometimes is the only thing that gets me out the door on that run. 

Reason # 2: I Love Races!!
Frosty Fun Run 2009: Just finished a 4.4 mile race in VERY cold weather!

To me, there are few things that are more exciting that the moments leading up to the start of a race. And the sight of someone who's never met you cheering for you when things are a little tough. High fiving another runner....

And the feeling of crossing the finish line.

I love ALL of that.
Getting ready to run a 5K- 19 weeks pregnant.

 Reason #3: Overcoming the past

When I was in elementary school, I had asthma. I *DREADED* the day we had to run the mile. I knew in my mind I would be last, and I always was. To me, there was nothing worse than running. It was cruel and terrible. I think one of the reasons I hated it so much was because all the kids made fun of me. When I ran, my asthma acted up, and I coughed this horrible cough that sounded like a gigantic HONK. So, all the kids would "honk" just like me. They also called me "Slow Runner" (looking back, it's really not a very clever insult. I mean, it had the word "runner" in it, at least...) but for years, that's who I was. I was "Slow Runner".
Not only did this poor girl hate running, look at her hair!

Now I think of that, and I'm still not breaking any speed records... I'm pretty happy with where I am, actually. If someone called me "Slow Runner" today, I would say, "And? Your point is what?"

Part of why I run is to make it up to that poor little girl who didn't know it could be fun.

Reason #4: Yeah, I want to look good.

Duh. I want to lose weight, and be fit, and running is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. But honestly, if I were *just* doing it for vanity, I would have a hard time being motivated. There are other ways to lose weight. But, yeah, it's pretty cool to say, "I just ran 10 miles and burned about 1000 calories. Can I have a cupcake?"

Reason #5: I kind of just love it.

No, I don't love the first few steps. But, I love when I find my stride, and feel my pace speed up, and find the rhythm, and feel like I could keep going forever. I love telling myself I just have to go 5 more minutes, and then just for fun, going for 6 instead. I love pushing my limits and discovered I could go either farther or faster than I thought I could.

And, yes, there is a runner's high. I don't get it every time, but it's awesome enough to keep me coming back in search of it.

There are tons of reasons I continue to put myself through this. To run even when it's hot outside, or cold outside, or my feet hurt, or my knees hurt, or I'm tired... well, you get the picture. There are days when I finish a run and I think "I hate you running. Let's break up." There are days when I finish a run and think "I love running so much and want to run forever."

The important thing is that I keep coming back either way.

Do you run? Why?

What keeps you coming back? 

Let me leave you on this note...

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Cheeseboy said...

Yep, I am a runner. Started because I wanted to get in shape. Now if I miss more than one day, I totally miss it. Pretty much the exact same reasons as you.

Adelina Priddis said...

I love running! Never been very fast, but I still race, and enjoy it every time! The thrill of just finishing a race is enough to keep me always going back. I just wish I had more time, but kids take up my time now.

BabyWilt said...

I started to run, did a few races, then stopped. Not sure why I stopped but I'm trying to get started again and have entered a race in October as a goal. At primary school I was great at short distance but 800m+ would kill me!!! :-)

Pam said...

I started running when I was 40--before then, I'd never run so much as a city block. I love it for all the reasons you've listed, and I especially love the fact that I'm in much better shape now than I was when I was 18 years old. I'm getting older *and* better!