Yesterday was National Running Day. In order to extend the celebration today, I decided to post an essay that I have been composing, in one way or another, for nearly 20 years.
Whenever I am running, my thoughts run wild. Sometimes I find that my best thinking comes during my runs. I actually wish there was a way to write and run at the same time since I find myself, oddly, much more eloquent while running. Throughout the years, I have composed countless blog posts, essays, and letters in my head while running. Sadly, however, I rarely take the next step and actually put my thoughts to paper. So here is my attempt…
I should start by mentioning that I LOVE to run. Some might even call it an obsession. One of my best friends and marathon training partners and I used to say that we couldn’t wait for “I’m sorry…I can’t…I have to run…” season to begin. I should also mention that running is really challenging for me. Whenever I start training for a race, I am always surprised at how slow I am—how long it takes to get back into the kind of shape where 10 miles is a “short” run.
No matter what, though, running is there for me. Ever since I can remember, running has been a time for me to decompress and figure things out.
Stressed out at school? Go for a run.
Having friend/relationship issues? Go for a run.
Big decision looming? Go for a run.
In fact, I highly doubt that I would have made it through my Sophomore year of college—living with 8 of my closest friends (2 others in the same room) in a “quaint” dorm room—without running. It is my “me” time that I believe everybody needs. I often joke that it is my therapy, but it really is a time to be alone with my thoughts and figure stuff out.
Running is also, as I mentioned, a huge physical and emotional challenge. It does not necessarily come naturally to me (see here) but I can literally see my progress as I continue to train. Some runs are better than others but I always feel better after a run, even if the pace was much slower than intended or I did not reach the distance I set out to cover. But it keeps me humble. And grounded.
To me, running is also about family. My parents walk/run. My sisters run. My brother runs. My husband runs. My friends run. We might all run at different paces and distances, but it is a thread that joins us all. Although running is usually a solo act for me, it is also a great way to catch up with friends or family and explore new (or old) areas.
Basically, I know that no matter where I go or what I do, running will always be a part of my life. So I guess, why I run is because I cannot imagine not running.