I know I’ve said it before, but never in a million, billion, googolplex years would I have ever imagined I would one day be a runner. But here I am, with eight races behind me, two more scheduled this summer and a half-marathon this fall (I start training in about a month, which both excites and freaks me the fuck out.) I willingly spend money on sports bras and running shoes. I wake up early to get in a few miles before work and on my days off. When I haven’t gone on a run in awhile, I start to get that itch.
Believe me, somewhere out there my twentysomething self is giving my thirtysomething self a blank Who the Fuck Have You Become? stare.
She would then follow that up with a roll of her eyes as today is National Running Day and of course I’m celebrating! (Already got in 2.2 miles this morning!)
That’s obviously a rather cheeky answer because as much as I would like The Doctor to show up in his TARDIS to whisk me away, I also know that it’s probably never ever going to happen. But a fangirl can always dream, right?
Truthfully, I run for so many reasons it was impossible for me to list them all in one single graphic. Besides, I love taking advantage of PicMonkey’s multiple font options whenever I can, so, with that, allons-y!
I run in snow. I run in heat. I run inside. I run outside. I wake up ridiculously early to compete in races. And let me tell ya, all that running makes you a fucking bad ass. But part of being a successful runner is doing more than just, well, running. Cross-training is an important part of the sport as exercising different muscles and parts of your body can enhance your running while also giving your legs a bit of rest. I do yoga and strength-training (thanks to Jillian Michaels) and all of that work put together makes my body a force to be reckoned with.
Unless you once weighed in the morbidly obese category and spent most of your day sitting on your ass, you can’t probably appreciate what it’s like to get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Or just walking across a parking lot. When I first started running a year and a half ago, I couldn’t even run a full mile without stopping. Hell, I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile without stopping. I had to work up to it (using the Couch-to-5K app). Likewise, when I signed up for my first 10K, the farthest distance I had ever run was four miles. Again, I had to train and work up to those 6.2 miles, just as I’m going to have to train and work up to the half. But just the idea that in less than two years I can go from not running at all to being able to run 13.1 miles is breathtaking (in a good way, not the I’m so out of shape I can’t breathe kind of way).
Let’s face it, we all want to look good naked, right? Running is an excellent way to burn calories and give yourself a pair of foxy legs. Pretty sure one of the reasons why I love wearing dresses now is because I got me some fierce and fabulous gams to show off. (Although I have huge calves now, although I’m not sure how much of that can be attributed to running. Regardless, calf high boots are not in my future but I’m kind of okay with that.)
This is one of my favorite parts of being a runner. We are a strange breed, runners. People don’t always understand why we do what we do. Why we’re willing to bundle up and dodge snow piles or wake up to get in a few miles before work when we could be sleeping. Lining up at the start of a race, it doesn’t matter that you are surrounded by strangers because you’re all in this together. The way everyone came together after Boston is proof of that and I feel confident in saying if that had happened at the Cleveland Marathon the response would have been exactly the same.
There is also, of course, the running blogging community! There are so many out there, but some of my personal favorites include Weight Off My Shoulders, No Meat Athlete, Pavement Runner, and Meals and Miles.
I may have sent in an audition video. True story.
The whole saying about running being cheaper than therapy? It’s not bullshit. Some people have a running partner while I’m more of a solo runner and this is the main reason why. Running is my time to work out the kinks in my brain. An opportunity to sort through issues and relieve stress. I’ve gone on runs that left me crying at the end because of what I was experiencing dealing with certain things in my head.
Be honest, this is one of your favorite parts about participating in races, too.
Ah, yes, the famous runner’s high. What people sometimes fail to mention is it doesn’t happen every time you lace up and head out. Any runner will tell you that some runs are fucking amazing and some are fucking awful. The kind you have to just keep pushing through and constantly coach yourself to finish. But that high, when it comes, is so worth putting up with the less-than-stellar runs. It leaves you feeling confident and accomplished, like you could take on the fucking world.
My favorite part of my body? My legs (and not just ’cause they look hot, as mentioned above). They used to carry around 311 pounds, now they carry me across finish lines. A year and a half ago, running was the furthest thing from my mind. Being a runner seemed impossible. Not just impossible, but not even something I wanted to be possible. I hated running as a kid and teenager and never really understood the point. But now, of course, I am a runner. So I run because I am able to. I run to show others that anything is possible. I run to show myself that I can do anything I want if I’m willing to put in the work and dedication.
But more than that, I know that running — like all sports — can have a shelf life. Over the weekend I was talking with a friend who used to run but is unable to anymore because of injuries. Nobody is immune to that, so I run because I know that one day I may no longer be able to. I run for those who no longer can.
Why do you run? Have any favorite running blogs to recommend?
Love from the ashes,