people run for so many different reasons. i would say a good many start running to lose weight. i know i did, and it worked. but then i caught the running bug or rather i got a taste of the running drug. sure i lost weight and got fitter, but i gained so much more. in my last few posts, i've acknowledged that i'm working with a coach. in my initial meetings, i filled out some paperwork and one of the questions was 'why do you run?' that was not a hard question for me to answer.
i started running with a friend probably 8 or 9 years ago. she wasn't athletic nor into exercise, but she wanted to 'tone up' for a beach trip. so, we started running. about 2 weeks later, she quit. i kept going. i finally was able to run a mile without stopping. then 2. then 3. then 6. and the next year, i ran a marathon. granted it wasn't a great marathon, and to this day stands as my worst time, but it was the start of a lifestyle of running. since then running has come to mean so many different things to me.
as i mentioned above, i started running to lose weight initially, but that's not why i kept running. there are very few things i have done that can compare to finishing a marathon. the physical and mental challenge is so great and the level of difficulty is so high, and once you finish, this wave of exhilaration washes over you and you realize you just ran 26 miles and 385 yards. it's an unbelievable feeling of pride in yourself that you overcame lots of tough moments to cross that finish line. i have yet to find a feeling that compares. the best part is it stays with you for a while. and it's not just with marathons. i can go out and have a kick butt tempo run, long run or speed session and have just about the same feelings. the feeling of accomplishment is like no other. you earn bragging rights!
running has changed me. not just my body, but also my mind. running brings out the good stuff. it brings out the tenacity you need to tackle an obstacle at work or at home or whatever. it brings out a healthy competitive spirit. it brings out a new level of confidence. it gets the endorphins moving. it creates a stronger mind. it helps alleviate stress. this is all stuff you need to handle life, and life is HARD! running does that for me. it makes me feel good. and it makes me feel good about myself.
the best part is running has given me great friends. i started out as a lone runner for the most part. i met a few runners in the early days, but i still didn't dive into the local running club. it wasn't until the running club president began working in my office that i became social in the running community. i started getting involved in the club, and there i met some of the most amazing people who are now my best friends. we always would joke about how different we all were, but we had one strong common bond. if you distance run, you spend lots of time with running partners, you get to know them very well and get very comfortable with them. i might not look forward to an 18 or 20 mile run, but i look forward to the camaraderie that will be shared on those runs. most of my best memories are with my running friends and have revolved around a run. i have lifelong friends, and they are some of my biggest fans and supports. runners love all runners and are a very accepting group.
so that's how i answered the question on the questionnaire. as long as i'm able, i will run. below is a picture of me in college, when i was close to my heaviest weight. i've come a long way!