Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Things I Love About Running

I haven't written much of anything about running since my Thoughts of an Injured Runner rant a few weeks ago. Primarily because, duh, I haven't been able to run. I assure you it has remained on my mind and with all the buzz on Twitter today I feel like it would be wrong not to acknowledge the wonderful holiday that is National Running Day. Since I still can't run, I thought it would be appropriate to share 5 things I love about the sport.

1. The Challenge
I am not a natural runner. Yes, I played sports as a kid and through high school. That didn't exactly translate into being "good" at running.

Running takes discipline - mental and physical. It takes dragging yourself out the door for that 6 miler after a long day at work and pushing through even though you were ready to be done after half a mile. It takes not freaking out when you look at that 16 week marathon training schedule and choosing to take it a day at a time. It takes accepting your bad runs and still lacing up for your next run, ready to try again. It takes staying out of your own head and recognizing that when you set goals for yourself, hard work comes with the territory of accomplishing them.

I'm not the fastest runner, nor am I the strongest or smartest, but I love challenging myself to be better, setting goals and achieving them.

Wallis Sands, NH Half Marathon #3 - May 2012
Thanks to the nice lady in front of me for the thumbs up!

2. The Emotions
The inevitable frustration aside, I feel my best when I'm running. Never have I ever felt more confident in myself since I started running. The sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a hard training run or crossing a finish line is something everyone should experience.

3. The Adventure 
I am a naturally risk-averse and introverted person. Roller coasters? Umm, no. Sky diving? Are you out of your mind? Networking event or conference? Cringe. Yeah... you get the idea.

Running has pushed me to try new things, to put myself out there and to be confident in myself and my decisions. I love that I've been able to run a handful of different races in places I hadn't been before. I love that running has led me to relationships with new people, companies, and products. In a way, running even pushed me to start this blog.

4. Perspective
One of my favorite quotes about running interestingly enough came from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie - "It's like you're just in this place where nothing bad can happen, you know. Like if you just push a bit further, if you keep moving, nothing can touch you." ...Cheesy, I know, but true. 

Running has always allowed me some semblance of a grasp on my life, even when I felt like I had no control over anything else. It's given me a place to escape things, even if just for a little bit. The high I feel after a run, especially a long or hard one, is almost always replaced with a sense of calm. I've battled out and mulled over any number of problems during runs - from what to cook for dinner to wrapping my mind around losing a family member. Running has always left me feeling better than I did when I walked out the door.

Portland, ME Half Marathon #2 - October 2011
1st half for two of my friends. It also downpoured.

5. Community
I'm often reminded, whether through observation, social media or conversations, just how massive the running community is. Not just massive, but strong. Bart Yasso said it beautifully in one of his tweets today, "The acceptance of all abilities is what differentiates running from every other sport." How true is that? 

I can honestly say that I have never met a runner who judged another by their speed or capability. In fact, most of those I have encountered have been nothing but sincerely nice, supportive and extremely helpful - genuinely happy to share their love of the sport and see others succeed. Look around you next time you run or spectate a race. I guarantee you that you'll see, and probably feel, the huge amount love, support and acceptance that comes from this community.

Philadelphia, PA Marathon #1 - November, 2012

Not being able to run for the past couple of months has been extremely difficult, frustrating and disheartening. It has also forced me to appreciate all of these things that much more. 

Cheers to continuing to recover, getting stronger, and many, many more miles.

What do you love most about running?

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