Well jeez, when you put it that way, it does sound pretty crazy, doesn't it?
I will certainly agree that running can be hard, frustrating, and painful. I definitely have my days, weeks, and even months where I wonder why I put myself through the effort. Sometimes the couch looks oh-so-inviting!
In the end, though, running has always been worth it. SO worth it.
I run because:
I love the euphoric feeling I get from a good run. Sometimes it feels good right away, sometimes it takes a few miles, sometimes the euphoria doesn't come until after I've finished (sometimes hours later). But running always makes me feel good.
I love the mental strength and clarity that running gives me. It has taught me how to keep persevering and pushing even when every fiber of my being is screaming at me to slow down or stop. I've learned so many times that my body is capable of much more than what I think. To me, this is a metaphor for life. It has translated into increased confidence across so many other facets of my life.
I love experiencing improvement. In the last three years, I have improved my half marathon time by more than 20 minutes. An 8-minute mile pace no longer feels like panicked sprinting to me. The 10-mile distance used to feel like an enormous effort, but now it's my favorite race distance! In my humble opinion, there is truly no better feeling than seeing your training efforts pay off.
Running is so versatile. It can be done solo, with pets, or with 50,000+ of your closest friends. It requires comparatively minimal equipment. Getting started requires almost no preparation or training. You can run at any time of day or night, for any length of time, at any speed, both indoors and out, in any season, and in nearly any weather conditions. It can be done almost anywhere in the world. What other sport or activity can boast that kind of flexibility?
I love the cameraderie. I've made the most incredible friends through a shared love of running. It provides an amazing, transcendent bond across otherwise perfect strangers. Runners are some of the most welcoming people I've ever met. It's not a coincidence that the runner that breaks the tape receives the same finisher's medal as the runner who finishes last.
OK! Before I close for the day, let's make sure we covered everything.
Have I have shown an artistic running picture? Check.
Have I been philosophical? Check.
And now. It is time to share one final, brutally honest answer on why I run:
I love the shoes!!!!!!!! =D
Linking up with April, Patty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.
Great post!! I do love how versatile running is and how I've been able to see new cities in a unique way thanks to running. It's awesome when you see how far you've come as you continue to run and grow.ReplyDelete
Thanks Janelle! YES - there is no better way to explore a new city than in your running shoes. Running really allows you to experience local neighborhoods and atmosphere is a way that a tour bus would never come close to, both literally and figuratively!Delete
Love it! Can we get an Amen? Amen.ReplyDelete
Amen to your fabulous post today on why you run, as well! It was so humorous!!!
Great reasons! I run b/c it's the only time I can fully clear my head and feel free.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sara! Amen also to the "me-time" that running allows. It is such a wonderful respite from all the craziness of all the to-do lists that are constantly in the back of my mind, too!Delete
Agree! You can never have too many running shoes. I've met so many great people thru running.ReplyDelete
All hail the running shoe collections! Blessed by thy running shoe collections, because they are good! =DDelete
Runners are without a doubt the most amazing people, ever. Everyone has their own stories to tell and they are all so inspirational!
I run so I can eat lots of cookies. Mmmm cookies!ReplyDelete
Yummmmm, cookies!!! What are your favorites? I have such a weakness for Thin Mints! There were some Girl Scouts in my office lobby a few weeks ago selling them. It was all I could to not clean out their entire inventory right then and there. =)Delete
Oh, I like homemade chocolate chip cookies the best, but would never say no to a Thin Mint! On a side note, I wish Nutter Butters were made in an unhydrogenated variety. They are one of the last hydrogenated oil cookies left and thus I won't eat them! Maybe someday...Delete
Homemade chocolate chip cookies... yum! Nutter Butters... yum...! Anything with both peanut butter and chocolate... yum!Delete
I actually didn't know the NBs were hydrogenated oil cookies. That is really disappointing!
I love your second point, about mental strength and confidence! It's amazing how accomplishing something you once thought impossible can spread to other areas of your life, and it's awesome that running did that for you! :)ReplyDelete
I remember the day I went to cancel my gym membership in the city last fall. The gym manager was sad that I was leaving (I was one of their first members!), but when I told him everything that was going on in my life, he said he was really happy to hear that I was making firm decisions and standing by them. He said his goal for everyone who works out there was to "come in, be awesome in here, and then go out into the world and keep being awesome." I don't run or work out like I used to, but I'll always have all the confidence and awesomeness that it gave me. And, like you, all of the friendships!
Likewise, I think that running and overall health/fitness have really resonated in a lot of areas of YOUR life, too! =) =) =)Delete
Oh wow, I didn't know you were one of the first members at your gym! I can imagine the gym manager must have been really sad to see the Anne era end. =( But I LOVE his words about being awesome in the gym and outside. Those are truly words to live by! And you really HAVE maintained that awesomeness out in the world!!!
YES for the amazing friendships, like you!!! Power to all of us. =D
Yes, definitely! It helped me feel empowered to change things that weren't making me happy. I wish more people felt like they could do that.Delete
And yes, I joined that gym right after they opened. Previously, Ravenswood was totally devoid of gyms, so I was eager :) I kind of knew that was their philosophy there anyway - the trainers always talked about training your mind as well as your body, so I definitely got a lot out of it.
I think I was a runner for the short period of time that I was just so I could connect with so many wonderful people, like you! All the friends I made through running came into my life right when I needed them.
Truly everything in life happens for a reason!!! Cheers to you and to our entire wonderful circle of friends! Everyone is going to miss you so much when you move to Portland - but we look forward to visiting you there. =)Delete
I wish more people felt empowered to change things in their lives, too. It seems that a lot of people are really scared to take risks. I get it - change can be terrifying. But I feel like if you don't want to make an attempt at changing things, then don't sit around and complain all day, you know? We only live once, and we are in charge of our own lives.
The trainers at that gym sound like they were amazing! What a fantastic philosophy to take with training. I am really glad that the Ravenswood neighborhood has more fitness options available now, too.
I am so excited to see what the next chapter of your life brings you!!! =) =) =)
Totally agree! The running community rocks! I think I've developed more mental strength and confidence from running than anywhere else in life. It's hard to explain to non-runners because often they expect it to be fabulous right out of the gate. It's hard! But rewarding.ReplyDelete
Oh my goodness! You bring up a really great point about new runners. I think that the initial hurdle of getting started is one of the biggest challenges to many folks. It seems that so many go for their first run (usually at too fast of a pace), hate it, and then decide never to do it again. Running is definitely something that takes time - a LOT of time - to develop and to enjoy!Delete
I like watching my wife kick arse on the course !!!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for always being so supportive of me and sacrificing time, sleep, and so many other things to come spectate my races!
I love the community as well! Hope you're having a great day!ReplyDelete
The community rocks! The Chicago Running Bloggers group is the bestest!!! I hope you are having a great day, too! (BTW, did you pick up some books on tape or some language tapes to listen to during your commute?)Delete
Pretty much all the reasons I run too! Meeting other runners is really icing on the cake for me!!!ReplyDelete
Woo hoo! I think meeting other runners is the icing on the cake plus the cherry on top of the sundae. =DDelete
Ha Ha on the shoes! :) Finding that inner strength to push forward when I want to quit is such an important part for me. Thanks for linking up with us today!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for co-hosting the link-up! As usual, I am loving reading all the shared posts. Can't wait for some of the upcoming topics, too!Delete
I totally run for the shoes. I've replaced my obsession for heels with an obsession with running shoes. It's all good. ;o)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for co-hosting the link-up! YES on replacing the focus on high heels with running shoes. It's much healthier for everyone, right? Except maybe my wallet - I actually think I spend a lot more money on running shoes than I ever did on heels. =DDelete
You're singing my song with this post! I think the camaraderie is the best part even though I got into the sport as a soloist. Little did I know that some of my best friends would end up being running friends.ReplyDelete
I also like what you said about the improvement. The great thing about it is that your progress is so measurable. It's fantastic to see how far I've come (ha!) in the years that I've been running.
Amy, I think you and I have SO MUCH in common. I started as a very solo runner, too, but have also made the most incredible connections through running. We really do understand each other at a level that nonrunners could never fathom!Delete
For folks that are analytical, running is a boon for measurement!!! It is SO easy to track your progress! But in another boon to how versatile running is, it's also amazing to experience the FEELING of improvement, as well, yes? Being able to run the same tempo or distance with less effort, etc.!