Often times the question arises in conversation, either among runners or non runners, why do I run. The great thing about this question is the answers are endless. We run to be happy, we run to be fit, we run for the social aspect, or sometimes we run because it’s our “me” time. I have really been giving this question a lot of thought lately as I have been getting back in touch with my running after a short absence. The interesting thing is when looking for my answer I first looked back over my years of running and I have found the answer to this question has been quite dynamic over the years.
When I first started running about 10 years ago my main motivation was to stay in shape. I had just moved to Arizona and my dear sport of Lacrosse was an unknown phenomenon to that region of the country. Having been an athlete for so long, I knew the way we conditioned was to run- so that is exactly what I did. I put on my pair of running shoes, grabbed my Disc-man (yes this was right before the time of iEverything) and hit the road. I will admit it was a challenge for me at first. If you have ever run at a higher altitude, you will understand my struggles. If you haven’t-I would recommend trying it out. It definitely makes for a new experience! Finally after a good year of running, I felt like I finally found my happy place. I could go for a run and didn’t worry about my breathing or and running didn’t seem quite as hard.
Then a shift in my running mentality happened when I started going through a difficult time in my life. I just turned 17 and found out that my parents were going to be divorcing. All of a sudden running became more of an escape for me and less of a chore. At that point in my life running really became my savior-my time to get away from all of the happenings in the world around me and just sort my thoughts. I think this is when I really became a runner. It wasn’t for the mileage I put in, but for how it felt after a run, like all of the weight of my struggles were lifted off my shoulders.
For the next few years after that, running really became my happy place. Then another move came. I boarded a plane , leaving everything I ever owned behind, packed a suitcase of my closest possessions, and came to Florida. On my feet-my running shoes. They had carried me through so much up to this point, so why not carry me through the airport to my next journey.
Florida provided so many new and exciting adventures for my running shoes and I. We explored runs on the beaches together, many of the beautiful trails, my beach-side college campus, and all while making so many friends in the running world. At this point running and I were in a pretty serious relationship and it was growing strong! Running essentially became a part of me and I haven’t looked back since first lacing up.
In 2013, I was presented with a fantastic opportunity to join the Fleet Feet family and become even more immersed in the running community. Being with Fleet Feet has opened my eyes to so much in the running world and I will admit, I have become addicted. Not only have I been introduced to so many amazing runners, but I have really had the opportunity to grow as a runner myself. In turn, I have been blessed with being able to help so many other people get moving and fall in love with running like I have.
Recently, I feel that my love for running has been expanding yet again! Driving home from a group run the other night I really got to thinking-“Why do I run?” I realized that my answer to this was no longer personal, but it was for the people I run with. I used to be one of those people who solely ran alone. I didn’t want to be disturbed during my runs. I wanted to lace up, grab my music, and have my “me” time. Lately, I have left the music and antisocial mindset at home, and have traded it in for a great group of running friends. It used to be so easy to make excuses to skip a run, or do it later- but these people really have made a difference in my journey of getting back on my running grind. When I find that I want to skip a run I think of one of my dear runners who recently overcame a battle with cancer-losing part of his lung- yet still makes it out to run with us. I remind myself that if he can do it after losing part of a lung, then what is my excuse? Talk about inspiring!
So I want to hear from all of you! What moves you? What is your running story? What keeps you going when you want to give up. Feel free to comment here, or post to our facebook page.