Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why I Love to Run

If you're a runner, you'll understand what I'm talking about. If you're a want-to-be runner, you will, too.

I hate to run. 

Have you ever heard those words or said them before? It's no secret that I love to run. I think it's puzzling for people who don't run though. 

Why would anyone want to spend time everyday pounding the pavement or treadmill, getting sweaty and hot and training for something that could be months away and will more than likely result in just a little medal?

To some, this is insane, but to runners, it's a part of life.

I really do love to run. I'm not kidding. I really love it.

I've run for over fifteen years on a pretty consistent basis. I've raced for about two years. It's addictive.

Before I discovered racing, I ran three or four times a week and I would run anywhere from two to four miles each time I ran. I didn't run anywhere near as fast as I run now (we're talking a 28 minute 5K from an old exercise log I have that dates back six or so years ago), but I still loved to run. 

I grew up in the country, so running for me was mostly on dirt roads and around fields. I think that's why I love trail races today. I didn't run for time necessarily, but I loved the freeing feeling of running outside in the beautiful countryside. 

A little over two years ago, I ran my first race. It was a local 5K. I ran it in 23:58. I was first in my age group and third female overall. After that race, I was hooked.

I really started training after that race. I wanted to be faster and felt like I could be. My 5K PR today is 19:48. That's four minutes and ten seconds faster than my first race. 

For me, running is part of my life. It's not something I do occasionally, on a whim or after I've eaten one too many cups of froyo. It's as natural as taking a shower each morning.

I love to run because it makes me feel good. I love the way I feel after a run whether it's a fast one-miler because that's all I have time to squeeze in on a hectic morning or after I've run seven or eight miles just because it's nice outside.

I love to run because it's good for me. Exercise is good for us, we all know that. I like treating my body well and running is one way I can do that.

I love to run because it makes me look better. There. I said it. Allow me to be vain for a minute: I think the effects of running are good for the way my body looks. I think we all want to look good for our significant other and while chocolate sure does taste good, it doesn't quite have the same effects as running does.

I love to run because it sets a good example for my kids. My husband and I are both active and feel that it's important that the boys see us participating in sports and staying active. I don't want them to have a sedentary lifestyle, so why should I model that for them? (The same goes with the things we eat and do in our free time in front of them. There's always time to veg out and catch up on shows after bedtime!). Thankfully, they both love playing sports and our oldest even ran a 2K with me last year (one of the proudest moments of my life!).

I love to run because it's my stress relief. There's nothing that relieves stress like pounding the pavement. I'm fortunate in that I don't get stressed too easily, but running does keep me sane. We all have little (or big) stressors in our lives and this is a great way to forget about them. Often, if something is bothering me, I'll have a totally different (and usually better) perspective on it after a run.

I love to run because it's great me time and gives me relaxation. I don't require a lot of me time, but I do need some. In my job, I interact with people all-day long and I constantly have people in and out of my office. And I have to think and plan and analyze all day. While I adore this, I also need some time away where I don't have to think. Running gives me that me time and allows my brain to turn off for a few miles. I don't like being away from my husband and kids (who does?), so I'm not one of these women who has a regular night out. When I'm running, I feel like I'm taking care of myself and getting some me time in, so it's really a great combination.

I love to run because it makes me a better wife and mom. I know that may sound crazy, but taking care of yourself is important. My husband and our boys are my world and naturally, I want to be my best for them. Being my best for them means taking care of myself. I am a pro (I think) when it comes to not letting running interfere with our lives. Yes, I do run when everyone is awake sometimes and obviously when I race, they're there, but for the most part, I plan my running around what we're doing. Most days, that means I'm running on our treadmill while the boys are sleeping soundly, I run at lunch or I run while they're playing a video game with my husband. Life/running balance is really important to me. I don't want my kids to remember me running out the door first thing in the morning or when I get home at night. I want them to remember me running in the door to play.

Those are just a few of the reasons I love to run. I can certainly see why people may think running is boring and may hate it - there are days when I don't want to run - but as we all know, you can always start to love something. Many runners have a love/hate relationship with the sport and I get that. But those days when you lace up your shoes and go out the door not really wanting to run sometimes turn into the best runs ever and it's in those moments that I totally and completely can't imagine not loving to run.

Do you love to run or do you have a love/hate relationship with it?

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