I was going through articles I had written for magazines and websites through the years yesterday when I stumbled across this post I wrote two years ago for Run Vermont. It was right before my first marathon, Vermont City Marathon. They wanted to know Why I Run and the story behind my running. A patient of mine, recently asked me the same question, “Why do you run?” Of course, he followed that with, “Why would you do that to your body?” At the time, all I said was “Because I love it.” And really, I think that more than explains it. Do what you love, right?
As I’m thick in training for Boston right now and the early morning runs are getting earlier and harder in intensity, I sometimes need a reminder of Why I Run.
Here’s my story of Why I Run from the beginning.
Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed movement. I dabbled in running throughout my teens and early 20s just for the calorie burn. I was more of a gym rat hitting the cardio machines, classes and the weight room. In the back of my mind, I always secretly had a goal of running a half marathon or a marathon. One day, in the summer of 2007, I decided it was time to go after that goal. What was I waiting for? That year I did my first half marathon. I didn’t know anything about pace, tempo or Fartlek’s. I just ran! As I was running that race, I knew I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the next one.
Life had a different course for me to follow. In 2008, my husband, Ron and I decided to try for our first baby. We were beyond thrilled when we found out we were pregnant. When I was 10 weeks pregnant, I miscarried. I had gone running that same morning. Even though my doctor reassured me the miscarriage was not from running, I stopped running on that day. I knew that the two were not related but I associated the two events together. I didn’t want to have anything to do with my running shoes.
After 2 years of trying and not even thinking about running, we finally became parents in June 2010. Not just to one baby but twins! While I was pregnant with the twins a friend of mine was as well. We made a plan to run a local half marathon in November as a way to get back into shape post baby. She was unable to do it but as soon as I was cleared to run at 6 weeks postpartum, I laced up my sneakers. That first run in more than 2 years and after delivering twins was NOT pretty. Everything hurt. It felt like my brain was loose, just floating around in my skull. My internal organs felt the same. See? Not pretty.
But the more I ran, the more I remembered the love I had for training. The love of having my body move through space and time. The way my mind could just BE. Even though I wanted to spend every single moment with my babies, I forced myself to take time for myself. Sure napping sounded wonderful, but running was just as relaxing. In November, I crossed the finish line of my second half marathon, 4 ½ months after my twins were born. When I saw Ron and the kids, I burst into tears sobbing. I was overwhelmed with emotion and exhaustion. My time was actually slower than 2007 but I felt such a sense of accomplishment for sticking to my intention.
Since 2010, I’ve run many races – 5k’s to marathons. I’ve often thought, what would my life be like if I never found running? Would I be just as comfortable in my skin? Would I be just as confident? Running is not just physical exercise to me. It’s an emotional exercise in patience, persistence and overcoming negativity. It’s made me a stronger person, no doubt about it.
So why do I run?
Early morning runs seeing the sunrise and knowing I accomplished more before most people wake up.
The endorphins and the sweat. Every physical activity has it’s own endorphin high but running is my favorite way to get it.
The music my footfalls make with each step.
The chance to sort out my thoughts with no interruptions.
The running community – there’s never a shortage of conversation amongst runners even if you have nothing in common other than running.
It makes me thankful for the ability to move.
The sweetest sweat I’ve ever known.
The places it takes me mentally and physically.
I can do it anywhere at any time. I can walk out my front door and just go.
It makes me happy.
It makes me ME.
Why do you run?
What does your running story look like?