For years the extent of my “running” was chasing after soccer balls. One of my best friends [BFF Ultra Vera] is an ultramarathoner – and always tried to encourage me to run. I always brushed off her suggestions … running was something crazy people did. I spectated a couple times when she ran the Chicago Marathon (2005 and 2006, I think), and it never occurred to me to take up running, outside of a local 5K that I did just for funsies.
Finally, in January 2010, she convinced me to sign up for a half marathon. I was feeling very New Years Resolution-y at the time.
I didn’t do a very good job sticking to a training plan, but I finished. (And learned a lot.) And somehow, despite how much that race sucked, finishing felt great, and I was hooked.
Now I run for a variety of reasons.
I run because I can. I have two healthy legs (although a sometimes cranky knee), two healthy lungs, and a healthy heart. I never want to take that for granted, whether it’s through running or another form of exercise. Also, yes, a great side-effect of my dedication to running has been not just a 30-pound weight loss, but I honestly feel better than I have in a long time. I’d like to keep feeling good.
I also run because I’m curious. I want to see how far and how fast I can go. So, racing helps to satisfy that curiosity. To go from someone who struggled through her first half, to someone who ran a marathon and enjoyed every minute of it, is a huge accomplishment to me. And I want to find out what else I’m capable of. A sub-20 5K? A BQ? An ultramarathon? Who knows. But I’d like to keep trying and find out.
And, I’ve made a lot of awesome friends during my running journey. Now, running isn’t just about running … it’s about hanging out with my friends! It’s a win-win. Sometimes I go to a group run not because I have to run that night, but because I want to see my friends!
But at the heart of it … I just love running. I enjoy getting out there. Alone, with a group, at a race, short and fast, long and slow … I enjoy it. It’s fun for me. So, for the same reason some people take dance class or play an instrument (oh wait, I do those too sometimes), I run. For fun. True story.
And I like to race, so I did it a lot. I’m trying to get back into it.