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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Becoming a Runner

A few months ago I did a few posts on what works for me in regards to diet, exercise, and workout gear.  Recently, some of the blogs I follow are talking about 5ks and even training for half marathons and it sparked a desire in my heart to talk about running as well because it is something I do regularly to relieve stress, pray, and get my mind at peace about things.

I know a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with running and I totally get it.

It's similar to my relationship with food: I love to eat it, but hate to see my waist expand.

However, I think we need to stop thinking about running as a means to an end and start thinking about it as a form of *free* therapy.  Seriously.  Don't stress about how fast or how far you are going, instead, focus on how you feel afterwards.

I refuse to lie to you and say I always feel good during a run.

I can honestly say, however, that I always feel good after a run.  I rest easier at night.  I feel better about myself.  I am less tired throughout the day.  I have more energy.  Whether I run 2 or 13 miles, it doesn't really matter.  What matters is how I feel because I ran.

People ask me all the time how long I've been running and they are always slightly surprised that I didn't start running until after I graduated college.  My high school was small and didn't even have a cross country team.  I did play sports all through high school and college and there was running involved in those sports, just not long distance running.  So, technically I've been a runner for almost 7 years.  Honestly, I can't remember what life was like when I didn't just lace up my running shoes and hit the road each day.

I started running by attempting to do a mile on the treadmill before my regular workouts.  
To be real, it sucked.  For a long time it sucked.
At some point, I was able to do a mile easily and started going further.

I have come to peace with the fact that I'm never going to be the first one to cross the finish line in a race and I'm never going to be able to run a mile in under 6 minutes, but I'm okay with that.  I don't have to be the fastest or most agile to be a runner.  I've completed countless 5ks, 5milers, and several half marathons.  In not one, did I place, but I did finish all of them.  
That counts for something in my book.

Once I was able to start running further than a mile, I started setting goals for myself such as running a certain amount of times a week, participating in a race, running a faster mile, or breaking my current distance record.  I've learned a lot about running by reading, researching, attending classes, listening, and failing.  

I've learned the importance of being fitted and purchasing the right kind of shoes.
I've learned the importance of hydrating and supplying my body with appropriate fuel.
I've learned the impact workout attire can and cannot make on me while I work out.
I've learned that I can go a little further if I will myself to do it.
I've learned that running is more mental than physical.
I've learned that a run can make a bad day go away.
I've learned that a run can be a celebration of the positive things in my life.
I've learned that sometimes its best to take the headphones out and just listen to my feet hit the pavement.


Feel free to leave me some love. It makes my heart smile.