Friday, January 30, 2015

10 reasons why I run.

"now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible." -William Shakespeare 

1. because it's hard. Like really hard; and I'm not just talking about running 6 miles of hills in the deep, humid August heat. The hardest part was, and will always be, the first time I decided to run 10 years ago. You will fall. You will break. You will cry, because running is challenging, painful, and demanding...

2. but it's just as rewarding. There's not many things more rewarding than incinerating 700+ calories on a cool 8 mile run on a Tuesday morning before most people's first alarm has gone off. And then eating whatever you want for the rest of the day because you know you earned it.

3. it's free. I'm balling on a budget here, people.

4. it's natural. Just like eating, drinking and breathing, running is one of the most natural things your body can do. Our bodies were built so that we could outrun our predators and catch our prey. Running = survival.

5. and it makes me feel good about myself. This goes back to the whole reward thing. Pounding the pavement gives me a solid high, one that lasts all day. Is it that mythical "Runners' High"? Biologically, sure. Psychologically, without a doubt. After each run I know that I've pushed myself, and done something good for my body, and it keeps me floating high for hours on.

6. it's the best way to get some 'me time'. It can be hard for me to turn off my brain, and tune out all of the external stimuli. I've struggled with it for my whole life, but running has helped. All I have to do is throw on my trainers, put some headphones on, and then go until I run myself into a calm, still oblivion.

7. but that doesn't mean I always go it alone. Running is a really good team sport. The first half marathon I ran I trained for with my best friend/partner in crime (what up, Aconn), and it was probably one of my favorite things we've done together. It gave us time to train (and complain) together; we pushed each other, encouraged each other, and made sure neither one of us gave up on ourselves.

8. it has taught me discipline. After a while, running the same 5k loop in my hometown every day got boring. So I decided to commit myself to running a half marathon. The training is brutal, but worth it. I knew I had to stick with it because I wanted to cross the 13.1 finish line (and also, I'd be pissed if I had wasted $90 on a race I couldn't even complete). Running has taught me how to commit to something just for myself...

9. and what it truly means to be my own competition. Growing up, I always competed against others: softball, poms, volleyball (even chess club. Yeah, I said it). But I never really knew how to compete against, and beat, my own self. Tracking my progress motivated me to go farther, harder, and faster. Beating your own personal record > everything else.

10. most importantly, though, it has made me love my body and love myself. Just like a lot of people out there, I've struggled to accept all of the bits and pieces that make up my being. I have spent weeks, months, years hating this and that about myself; my legs are way too big, my boobs way to small, my arms too scrawny. Lacing up for runs over and over again though, has helped me to appreciate my body for what it is: strong, capable, and beautiful.

run on, my friends.