Every runner has a unique story. We all have varying reasons as to why we choose this crazy, beautiful, maddening, awe-inspiring way of life. Some of us have used weight loss or making a healthy lifestyle change as a reason. Some of us were positively peer pressured by family and/or friends to start running. Despite these different modes of motivation, runners all have one thing in common: we love to run. We love the feeling of lacing on a pair of new shoes and logging on that first run. We love being in the ‘zone’ and entering runner’s high. While we might not love the feeling of getting runner’s trots or feeling the sun beating down on us as we do mile repeats, NOTHING beats the feeling of absolute accomplishment when we beat a record and set a new PR. It may be a struggle times, but this love-hate relationship I have with running has taught me so much about myself and about other people. Running has been a big part of my life for seven years (and counting). Here’s my story:
Growing up, I’ve always been athletically inclined; I’ve been exposed to dance and sports. This was the strategy that my parents used to keep me and my two brothers off of the couch and outside. Through my local YMCA, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in softball, soccer, and basketball. Even though I had experiences in different sports, I’ve never really stuck with one. It wasn’t until 8th grade that I had a sudden inclination towards running. The many mile tests and running exercises that happened during my P.E class helped me discover that I was a decent runner. It was also around this time that my father had started running seriously. My father was a former couch potato that ate McDonald’s BigMacs. When I was in middle school, my father signed up for a local mile run. At the end of his run, he was so disappointed in himself and his inability to complete that run without walking. This realization motivated him to go on runs around our neighborhood after he came home from work. As he became stronger, my father signed up for 5K races. Eventually these races turned into 10Ks and soon after, half marathons.
When I entered high school, I decided to join my high school cross country team. it was also around this time that my father desired to run his first marathon, in the hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Although this first marathon did not qualify him for Boston, it was this raw hunger that motivated him to accomplish his dream. In short, my father has raced in places like Lake Tahoe and the Grand Canyon. His running streak would eventually allow him to run the Boston Marathon in 2012 and 2013.
My high school experience was mostly centered around cross country. Being apart of a cross country team (or any sport) allows you to interact and become friends with people from diverse backgrounds. I went through everything with my teammates; from venting during long runs, complaining together during speed workouts, and occasionally hiding to skip a workout (sorry Coach Lease!). As runners, there is literally nothing that phases us. One of my fondest memories of high school XC was either talking about our bowel movements or making it a competition of how much sweat our bodies would produce after a particularly hard workout (sorry Mom, I know this isn’t very ladylike). Cross country has also given me some great badass moments. My most badass running moment had to be when my teammates and I chased down a guy that mugged a student and stole the guy’s iPod. Everything was fine; the police came and the guy got his iPod back. Chasing down one of our rival school’s runners in the last 100m AND beating her in her home course during a championship meet comes in as a close second in badassery.
When I entered college, I made a the hard decision to not run collegiate level, at the time I was experiencing burnout and just wanted to rest my body. As classes started, I started to miss running and the camaraderie it brings. So at my father’s suggestion, I signed up for a local half marathon to motivate myself back into running. This race happened to be hosted at my college and 18 days before my 18th birthday. I took this as a sign from the universe and started training on my own. Soon after, my whole family signed up for the event; my father, brother and I would be running the half marathon and my mother and my youngest brother would run the 5K. During my training I decided to make two bucket list goals: the first was to run a half-marathon before I turn 18 and the second was to run the half marathon in under 2 hours. I did finish my first half marathon before I turned 18 however, I did not finish it in under 2 hours. At the time I blamed it on not training hard enough, this may still be the case, but now I think it was just a mental thing. Mile 10 is what got in my head and told me to stop and walk because my body was so exhausted. Nonetheless, I am still proud of myself because I finished with a strong kick and I got a finisher’s medal!
It has been almost 2 years since my first half marathon. This little thing called life got in the way and I drifted from running; I still did the Turkey Trot but running hasn’t been a serious priority. I have started to run consistently lately and am contemplating on whether to register to the same half marathon and actually finish it in under 2 hours…
So that’s my running story so far. I would like to end my story with a Bonnie Pfiester quote I recently found on Pinterest, “I don’t run because I love the feeling of running. I run because it makes me love the feeling of living.” I hope I didn’t bore you with my running spiel! For my readers that run, why do you run? Have you ever experienced burnout? What continues to motivate you to run? Please feel free to let me know in the comments!