Thursday, March 24, 2011
Why I Run
Why do I run?
In the 14 years that I have been running I feel like I have been asked this question about a billion times by practically every single person that I have ever come in contact with.
When I first started running, it was because I desperately wanted to be a part of something amazing. I wanted to belong to a team that challenged me on a daily basis in different aspects of my life teaching me to be a better student, athlete, friend, and to learn responsibility. I was not fast, and I most definitely was not the star athlete that I dreamed that I could be. But I had dedication and pride in my achievements earning some truly great honors in my high school running days. Here is where running became an important part of my life that taught me that all worthy accomplishments in life have to be earned by our hard works. Back then I ran because it was fun. The people I trudged through the mud with and spent warm summer mornings along side as sweat dripped into our eyes became my second family. I enjoyed every minute of my early running journey, and cherish every last memory.
Going off to college, running became something very different for me. I attended culinary school where the majority of my time was spent in a steaming hot kitchen for prolonged periods of time. Foods constantly surrounded me, and snacking and tasting became my best friends. Cooking has always been an enjoyable past time for me, but my relationship with food was tainted and awkward and made my culinary experience very difficult. My love for food and running begun to transform me into a person that I did not enjoy being.
My workouts became stale and routine and I was spending crazy amounts of time in the gym at odd hours with little results. I begun to live in fear of gaining weight from constantly being surrounded by food and was always stressed about the relation of my caloric intake to caloric burn. In those days my mind was messed up and running became less about having fun and more about weight control. For several years I struggled with this, and it always seemed like a losing battle. Instead of figuring out how to nourish my body correctly, I was waisting time disappearing during meal times and fearing the food I was putting into my body. My race times never progressed, I still managed to gain weight, I was hungry all the time and often difficult and short tempered. And the craziest part was that I was never overweight.
Running became an obsession and left me feeling like I was never in control of my life.
Several years later after marrying my high school sweetheart, several terribly incapacitating injuries, a pre-quarter life crisis, and a new found sense of self worth that was fueled by the desire to make the healthiest choices for myself and LIVE my life, running and I had become the best of friends again.
Now I run because of my desire for self achievement and a yearning to challenge myself on a daily basis. The moment that I stopped worrying about what I looked like in a pair of running shorts and more about the person inside those shorts was the moment I freed myself. These days it is more important to me to focus on how to be the healthiest runner I can be so that I will be kicking major booty well into my elderly years. The craziest part is as soon as I stopped worrying about the way I looked and begun to focus on feeling better about myself was when my times and fitness begun to improve. I begun to become the runner I always wanted to be physically and mentally, and have never felt more confidant and comfortable with who I am.
So there it is, the reason I run. It has been a rough and bumpy road for me, and running and I weren't always a compatible pair. The reasons for running has changed for me throughout the years, but I am now healthier then ever and have an extremely positive relationship with my body and my running. I am no where near perfect, but I am a work in progress that has more desire to learn and grow then ever which continues to fuel my dreams and goals. I am not embarrassed nor do I have regrets about the path that I have traveled along because everything has led me to this moment in time, and I am enjoying the ride more then ever.
As long as I have the desire to run and my body will allow for it, I will do so. We only have one life. Opening my eyes to the realization that there are no limitations and that we are all awesome in our own unique way was the best moment of my life ever.
I may have big ears and feet, be completely stubborn and never admit I'm wrong, be a freak about germs, and have an insane addiction to cherry chapstick but hey...thats me.