Hi everyone! Did you know that today is a national holiday? Yep, it’s National Running Day! Wooo! For more details about what today means for runners all over the US, go here! If you’re kind of on the fence about running today, that website should definitely motivate you! Don’t we get off work for this?
Olive to Run is having an awesome linkup in honor of the event! Definitely check out her blog as well as the other that are participating! She’s challenged us to share why we run. It’s such an awesome idea because seriously, why do so many of us run? Why do we lace up, wearing tons of layers in the winter and sweating to death in the summer, just to run until we’re exhausted? Why do we spend tons of money on race registrations and set crazy PR goals? Why do we foam roll, spend hundreds of dollars on shoes, and deal with crazy stomach issues while fueling for our long runs? It all kind of sounds terrible when you think about it. And yet so many of us do it and truly love it to the point where we couldn’t imagine living without it. And somehow I became one of those people.
When I was in high school and college, running seemed like a horrible torture invented by gym teachers. I once threw up running sprints during field hockey practice, and was so traumatized (I threw up in front of the whole boy’s soccer team!) that I never pushed myself hard in sports again. During college my weight crept up until I was 30 pounds heavier than I’d been in high school. I started to hate myself and resent all the skinny girls I saw running around campus. I used to think, “Why do skinny people run? It’s not like they need to lose weight”. I didn’t get it, and I was pretty miserable. Until senior year, when I decided to start eating healthy and hitting the gym. My exercise of choice back then was the stationary bike, and I also made myself walk to and from class (1 mile each way). I lost 30 pounds, but I was still not interested in running because whenever I tried I had to give up so fast. Running hurts! But there was a tiny part of me that kind of wanted to run a race some day…
Fast forward through grad school and after college. I was walking around Ridley Creek State Park with Andrew almost every night after work, which was our exercise of choice. I noticed that so many people were running there every day, and I started to wonder what it felt like to be a runner. Running hurt, but so many people seemed to love it. And then I started wondering if I could run a mile, something I hadn’t attempted since high school. The next day I tried it and actually did it! I was so happy but wondered if it was a fluke, so a few days later I tried again. And then a few days later I tried for 1.1 miles. This pattern continued until I was able to run 3 miles consistently. At that point I decided to try running a 5k. I ran my first 5k in September 2012 in Ridley Creek State Park, and immediately went home and registered for my next race!
I was hooked! I finally started feeling that runner’s high that everyone always talked about. I started PRing and setting goals. I ran 5 milers, then 10ks. And in February 2014, I ran my very first half marathon – the Disney Princess Half, which had been on my bucket list for years!
So why do I run? I run for lots of reasons (most of them involving food) but seriously, I run for one main reason:
- I run to be stronger…physically. Running has made me healthier and has given me more stamina when I’m doing other activities. It’s also motivated me to be more active and try new things!
- I run to be stronger…mentally. Running has taught me how to push through difficult moments and mentally block out my crazy inner voices that tell me I can’t do things. Because seriously, that happens in every run I do.
- I run to be stronger…on my toughest days. There have been so many days where I’ve been so frustrated, angry, or sad that I just gave up and went out for a run. Those runs were always so hard and usually ended up with me sprinting and crying, but I always felt so much better at the end. It really is the best therapy.
- I run to be stronger…when I already feel invincible. Sometimes you just feel awesome and then you go out for a run and it’s so epic that you feel totally amazing. Those kind of runs give me so much confidence and courage in life.
- I run to be stronger…at the grocery store. Runners can totally eat a few bad things here and there, but most of the time we have to eat properly in order to run well. I’ve turned down a few donuts because I knew I had a long run the next day. Just a few.
- I run to be stronger…when I’m not feeling strong at all. Running races constantly puts me in an awkward, nerve-wracking situation where I need to get over my fears in order to succeed. It’s sort of like public speaking – you’re so nervous and then it’s happening and it feels so surreal and afterwards you feel all light and shaky but STRONG. Racing and PRing is like that for me.
- I run to be stronger…when I’m alone. Running is a solo sport for me and I love how it feels to run alone through the woods. It helps me recharge and refocus on myself.
- I run to be stronger…in groups. Now that I have something in common with so many people, it’s helped me meet people and create new friendships. Especially online with my other bloggers!
I run to be stronger. And since I started running, I truly have become a stronger person. I love running and I can’t imagine my life without it!
Why do you run? What is your favorite thing about running? And are you going to be celebrating National Running Day by going out for a run? Use the hashtag #runhappyholiday to share your pictures with all the other runners out there!