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Why I Run

Happy National Running Day! What better way to celebrate than with a friend-filled post work run and a blog post expressing my love for running?
Morning Run in Costa Rica

I have been trying to play catch up this week with running and trying to get back into runner-shape. During our honeymoon, I only ran about 1.5 miles along the beach 3 times that week. That's not to say we weren't active. Costa Rica is an adventurer's paradise and our vacation was filled with hiking, kayaking, touring the country, and swimming. Not to mention, we finished off the vacay with a trip Disney World. So when we got home I told JT I couldn't wait to exercise to which he stated- "we exercised all week"! It's true, but it wasn't the same. My heart yearned to beat out of my chest and my feet wanted to feel the pavement swiftly beneath them.

As a side note-after 10 active days with little running and no weight training, I came home to find my reflection changed a bit. Albeit, likely due to the strawberry daiquiris as well, the abs I had were somehow more hidden, and my somewhat defined arms that I work towards were not defined at all. It made me realize how much effort it takes to be in shape and how quickly it can change.

But it's more than just the physical changes.

When we first left for vacation, I was anxious to leave my fitbit at home and know that all my "friends" would pass me in rankings. I was nervous to not run for 10 consecutive days knowing how when I miss a workout I feel like somethings missing in my day. All my runner friends can totally relate. Then, somewhere along day 5 I didn't care. Like, genuinely lost all desire to run or be more active than I had to be. If I'm being honest, walking to the beach with a drink in my hand was exercise to me. That's when I realized a truth I'd already known, had become a reality.

Motivation doesn't come before you get started...Motivation comes once you start and see what good can come from it! Consistency breeds motivation. 

So, instead of motivating myself to get out and run, I committed to running with my friends after work. I did not want to. Motivation was seriously lacking. It was the first full run I completed in almost 2 weeks and it was so hard. I felt weak, dehydrated and tired. I actually quit after 3 miles and let my friends finish without me while I drug my little discouraged self home fighting with my mind telling me I could do it and my body saying "no chance".

Have you realized how fast a habit can die? Two weeks is all it took for me to be a much worse runner and care less about my overall diet and exercise routine. Which made me sad because I worked hard to be a runner...I had hours and hours, miles upon miles of practice. I did not put all that work in to struggle at mile 3! Something had to be done, but the only thing to do is to run. Lack of motivation and extremely heavy legs in tow- I'm still running.

I understand that I sound totally normal to my running readers but absolutely crazy to any non-runners out there so (in honor of National Running Day) let me explain why I run:

1) Mental Clarity- I have never been a truly depressed person, but I have a family history of mental disorders and (most of us could say this of our own families) we have our share of craziness. When I don't run, I can get so anxious. To the point where I was rushing JT one day on our vacation and he said "why don't you go run"? I am a naturally energetic, fidgety person and running helps me tone that down a notch and be able to focus my attention better and think things through. (I said helps, I still have some work to do).

2) Time with God- I started running in college, a mile or two here and there. As most beginning runners do, I had my routine--gum, earphones, good playlist, and 2 sports bras (not sure why). I couldn't run if the stars didn't align just right. Then, one day, I forgot the earphones but decided to run anyway. I spent the entire 45 minutes talking to God. It started as praying, thanking him for the sun, the weather, ability to run, etc...but evolved into a conversation as if we were sitting down to drink coffee together... Time I have come to cherish now. Sometimes I listen to old Church of the Highlands sermons, sometimes I just chat with God, but I rarely listen to music anymore.

3) Friendship- One of the best parts of my day is when Kathleen, Virginia, and I set out on our after work runs. I would not run as often if it weren't for them. Friends make it fun! We talk about life, work, running, food, and everything in between. It is the best social hour I could imagine. I always leave drenched in sweat yet with more energy for the afternoon.

4) To be a Planner- I was never a planner growing up. I failed a class my first semester of sophomore year in college and realized I needed to change. I got a planner and the rest is history. If you don't schedule exercise it will never fit in. So, being a runner means my day needs to be planned the night before so I know when I will have a small window of time to get a run in. If we are meeting friends at 6:30, Kathleen and I run after work, change back into clothes in the bathroom, freshen up, and head out to meet up. We use every minute in the day.  (Which is why #5 can be so hard)

5) Relaxing- As stated in numero uno above, I am naturally fidgety. It is very hard for me to sit still and relax. Until recently, I didn't even know what relaxing meant and I'm only just beginning to work on it. I started blogging to fill spare time between college, exercise, friends, and work <--see! However, running helps me use some energy that would otherwise build up and leave me anxious. We ran on the morning of my wedding because we knew we would be sitting around all day getting ready. Before long trips, I'll run so that it's easier for me to chill in cars or planes. Which is why I prefer morning exercise so that I can relax more after work.

6) Keeps me in Shape- this is last in the list for a reason...All of the benefits listed are important to me but if I had to rank them this would be last. Of course, I love being in shape, feeling strong, and like I can take on anything (I also like knowing I can occasionally indulge in Kathleen's brownies), but what good will being in shape get you if no one likes being around you?  Running makes me a better person---mentally and physically. No exercise I have tried has ever compared to running--I only wish I'd found it sooner.

To sum it all up, I'll leave you with a key phrase: Run and Pray to Keep Crazy at Bay!
These bridesmaids make great running buddies!

Tell us: Why do you run?

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