When I tell people I run, I often hear responses like this:
“Running is so boring.” or “I hate running, I don’t know how you do it.”
Honestly, if you would have brought up running to me three years ago, I probably would have said similar things. A couple of years ago, though, something changed for me.
I had always been a pretty active person. My mom enrolled me in ballet classes when I was three, and I was hooked from there. All through elementary school, high school, and college, I had dance several nights a week for hours each night and all day on weekends. There definitely was not a lot of sitting around going on in my life. After I graduated college, I got my first teaching job. I threw myself into my work, which involved a lot of lesson planning, which meant sitting. After that first full year, I starting noticing that I would get out of breath pretty quickly. This had never been an issue for me. I decided I needed to do something about this.
I needed to start exercising more regularly. The problem was, how was I going to find the time? Then I realized, if something is important to you, you make time for it. No matter what. I had not put my health as a top priority, and it was catching up to me. Now, you might think this is all fine and dandy, but why in the world would I choose running?
I knew coworkers and friends who ran. My sister had even run a marathon a few years back. I had plenty of positive running role models. The main reasons I chose running were the convenience and the price. I could go on a run whenever it fit into my schedule. I did not have to wait until a workout class was scheduled. I could just pick up and go. Also, I did not have to buy a bunch of fancy equipment. Eventually I upgraded to much nicer running shoes, but in the beginning, I had a cheap pair from Target. I wore some old shorts and tank tops, and I was good to go. Fancy accessories and workout clothes can make the experience more enjoyable, but are by no means necessary.
I slowly eased into running using the Couch to 5k program. One of my coworkers was even inspired to begin the journey the week after me, so we kept each other accountable, which helped a lot. I slowly saw myself becoming a runner. Then, I ran my first 5k. The rush was amazing. I felt so accomplished. I had gone from not even being able to run one mile, to running 3.1! I did not have to stop once!
This is another reason I run – the feeling of accomplishment. With running, you set new goals, and when you meet those goals, you feel fantastic. You might set a distance goal, or a speed goal, whatever you want. That is the beauty of running. It is whatever you want.
After that first 5k, I knew I was hooked on running. I went on to run more 5ks. Then, I went on to run a 5 mile race. I remember being so nervous, but once again, relishing in the thrill of accomplishing another goal. After that, I decided to really challenge myself. I signed up for a 10k. At first, this task seemed monumental. I was about to double my running distance; me- someone who couldn’t even run one mile two years ago, was going to run 6.2 miles! I trained my little heart out, and low and behold, I ran a 10k without stopping; even without pain! I remember feeling like I was on top of the world.
I went on to run another 10k. Now, I am training for my first 10-miler. I am very excited about my training, and love going further each week than I ever have before. My self confidence is growing daily. After this race, I hope to run a half marathon. After that, well, we will just have to see!
So, why do I run, you ask? I run for me. I run to take care of myself, to be healthy, to be strong. I run to prove to myself that I can do anything. If I can make it through 10 miles, what can’t I accomplish? A difficult situation at work? If I ran 10 miles, I can surely handle that! In a busy world, where we often focus on taking care of others, it is important to remember to take time for yourself; to take care of yourself. For me, that is what running does. And it can do it for you too. If you let it.