Monday, August 15, 2011

April on Why I Run

I had asked my friend April to write a post for me on why she runs. (She doesn't have a blog so I can't link to that.) Please enjoy April's story.

I have been running my whole life; not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I did not like it. Running was boring and took too long. As a gymnast and cheerleader, I had to run a mile before every practice. In high school I joined the track team as a sprinter to stay in shape during the cheerleading off season. I sprinted because it was short and quick. Two mile run? Those people were crazy! Why would anyone want to run that much?!

I cheered in college, but the physical activity requirements were up to me…and I chose not to do any. I bounced around with my weight in college. When I would get on a workout kick, I would run a mile every day; no more, no less. After college, I continued to struggle with my weight. I started a workout program and joined weight watchers in 2005. I lifted and I ran/walked. I even ran 6 miles one day!! Although, I was proud of myself, my main focus was weight loss. I had no actual fitness goals. Yes, I progressed in my lifting and running, but all that mattered was if I lost weight. Once the extra 40 pounds was gone, I struggled to find a reason to go to the gym. I had just started a new full time job with different hours than I was used to and was coaching high school cheerleading which consumed most of my evenings. I had lost the weight, so why did I need to go to the gym? Obviously, the weight started to creep back on.

 A very good friend asked me to run a half marathon with her. 13.1 miles?!?!?! I assumed she was off her rocker. Runners do half and full marathons. I was not a runner. I worked out to lose weight. I had never done any race that wasn’t a sprint. She told me to start with a 5k. It took almost a year before I got up the nerve to do my first one. I continued (and still continue) to run races all year. Preparing for a race gives me motivation to run on any given day. If I want to make it through the race and have a decent time (for me) I HAVE to get out there and do it.

 At this point in my life, I still did not consider myself a runner. Yes, I had been running my whole life, but I did it mostly for fitness, not because I really wanted to. People would comment all the time about me being a runner. I always said the same thing. “I’m not a runner, I just run.” I envisioned a runner as someone who was very passionate about and dedicated to running; someone who was actually good at it.

 In the last year, I have actually started to enjoy running. On a really bad day, I love to go out and work out in my head whatever it is that really got to me that day on my run. I leave all my fears, worries, regrets, anger and bad feelings in general on the pavement. Running has made me a stronger person inside and out. The feeling I get after any run, especially an intense one, where my chest is burning, my legs are tired, I feel like I’m going to vomit right on the road, is indescribable. I live for the runner’s high. I have also started to run with other people which I rarely did before. Those people challenge me and have made me a stronger person and better runner.

 Last year, I realized that prepping for a 5k and even a 10k wasn’t enough motivation for me. I could do minimal running and still be fine at a race; so I signed up, ran and completed my first half marathon this year, with my very good friend who asked me to do one 6 years before. Next stop…triathlon.

 I have been running my whole life; not because I wanted to, but because I had to…until very recently. About a month before the half marathon, I completed a 7 mile run, without batting an eye. I got home and took my shoes off and saw blood on the heels of my socks. It was then and there that I realized running is not just something I do anymore; I am now and will be forever, a “runner”.

Thanks April for writing this. If you like this, then refer to why others run. Why do you run? Want to write a similar feature here, just let me know.

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