I’ve talked about my story with running before, but I’ll refresh your memory:
I’ve always been active, playing on different teams and in different clubs. But after high school sports ended and I had nothing on my plate, I felt all this pent up energy with no outlet. Up until then, I had never enjoyed running- it seemed pointless and boring and to be honest, I wasn’t really good at it. But with all my free time, I had nothing to lose. So one day, I went out and ran. I ran 5 miles and was so enamored with all of it that I came home, head held high, and announced to my mom “I am going to run a half marathon”.
I was hooked right away and did it, but after that first race, I kind of just, stopped running. I didn’t love it anymore. I went out and ran and gave it my all and then that was it. It took me a few months of not feeling great to decide to give running a shot again. I was going off to college for the first time and was stressed out of my mind about going to school half way across the country. I needed to remember what running was for me. Once I decided to start running again, it made everything a little better. I had something to do, a way to explore campus, and something to reduce my stress. The obsession was back. I felt like I had control over my something in my life when everything else felt so fragile. So I upped the ante and told myself I would run a marathon. (If you can’t tell, I’m very competitive, especially with myself)
While my story might seem a little unattainable for some people- (being able to run 5 miles right away was from years of high school sports and running a half marathon can be a lot to start with) the distance is not the important takeaway. Running gave me a sense of self-worth, it gave me an outlet for stress, and it connected me to the outdoors. I feel so at peace outside, by myself, focusing on my breathing, with time to mull over my thoughts.
Being a runner does not mean you go out and run 10 miles before breakfast. Being a runner means, well, you run. Doesn’t have to be ultramarathons, doesn’t have to be competitive mile times, just run. That’s the best part about running- I have yet to meet a runner who isn’t excited to meet someone who also runs and shares their passion. It is the most supportive community I have been a part of because we are all out there doing the same thing. Unless you’re running olympic times, (which you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you were), there’s no prize for races besides your well deserved medal. No one cares what your place is or if you finish 5 minutes before them because it’s all about your own goals.
People run for a lot of different reasons: fitness, disconnecting, experiencing nature, stress release, or creating a mind body connection. Take the time to figure out what you want to gain from running and start slow. Focus on that why to motivate yourself. Lace up your sneakers, get that great playlist going, and fall in love with running- the rest will follow.