Why I Run

by Stephanie on March 26, 2012 · 6 comments

in Running

I had another post scheduled to go up today but I booted it.  This one needed to be done first because it was such a revelation for me.  I just needed to get it out there.

Earlier today I had a conversation with my friend and I made some comment about how I don’t like running.  I say it in jest, sort of, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had this conversation and it’s not a lie.  Yes, I’ve listed the reasons I love running and those are not a lie either.  I have a strong love/hate relationship with running.  The truth is that it has never come naturally to me, I’m slow, and I’m injury-prone.  Running is a constant mental and physical struggle for me.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I get at the end of a race or when I meet a goal but getting there is always a rough and rocky road.

So when I had this conversation today and my friend asked the obvious question, “so why do you do it?”, I didn’t know how to answer.  I never know how to answer.  I think I started because it was a new challenge and I wanted to prove I could do it.  But I’ve done that.  I ran 2 half marathons and I was able to say with absolute certainty that I am a runner.  It hasn’t gotten all that easier though.  I have a drive to be athletic and competitive but I could do that with biking, swimming, or a number of other athletic endeavors that are not running.

So why do I still run?

I found the answer today.

This afternoon was rough.  I read a book for a new book club I’m trying out and the topics hit too close to home on some major struggles I’ve been having lately.  I felt raw and miserable and sad when I was done and I cried.  Oh my gosh I cried, to the point that my chest hurt and my eyes felt swollen.  If you had asked me then I would have said that I didn’t want to go on, that it was too painful, too hard.  I was in bad shape.  I knew I needed to get in a 4 mile run though because if I don’t start running regularly I’ll never be ready for the Lakefront 10 Mile race in Chicago at the end of April.  So I laced up and headed out.

The first couple miles were tough and slow and my left knee hurt some.  I walked for a couple of minutes when I hit the 2 mile mark and then continued running.  I had run down the hill from my house to the Mississippi river and when I turned to head back up I had to stop for a train to cross the tracks.  That’s when it happened.  I was waiting for that train and I started singing Natasha Bedingfield’s Pocket Full of Sunshine.  Then I started dancing along with myself.  This went on for minutes.  People in the cars waiting for the train to pass probably thought I was a little crazy but I didn’t care.

I don’t know when it happened exactly but 2.71 miles into a 4 mile run I was singing and dancing when less than an hour earlier I was crying and miserable.  And that’s when it hit me.

This is why I run.

I don’t know why it happens but 90% of the time when I’m done with a run (or clearly, when I’m in the middle of a run) I find myself in a significantly better mood than when I started.  I find myself nearly giddy.  It has the ability (not always, but often) to lift my spirits in a way that other activities don’t.  Maybe it’s the pounding and impact.  Maybe it’s because every run is such an accomplishment for me. All I know is that it does and I don’t care to analyze it too much.  I don’t believe for a second that my mood wouldn’t have turned around that fast if I’d watched TV, or gone shopping, or even gone for a walk or a bike ride.  It happened because I went for a run.

That’s enough to keep me coming back.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen March 26, 2012 at 7:47 AM

This is EXACTLY the post I needed to read today since I’ve been avoiding running for so many reasons. But ultimately, I know I need to run because of runs like this one you just had.


Stephanie March 26, 2012 at 11:13 AM

So glad this post spoke to you! It’s hard to find motivation sometimes but remembering the good feeling you get from a run definitely helps!


Angie @ Losing It and Loving It March 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Good for you! So glad running makes you happy. I wish it did that for me but I just don’t see it happening. That’s OK because that is what boxing does for me.

And I love that song…pocket full of sunshine. So good!


Stephanie March 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM

I’m trying out a boxing class next week with a friend! I can’t wait because I know hitting things is another good stress reliever.

And I’ve had Pocket Full of Sunshine in my head for 3 days now. It’s so catchy!


BrookeNotOnADiet March 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I have the same love/hate relationship with running. I go through spurts where I am all about it and then when I’m not. I’m also injury prone too. So I get that.

I also get why you do it. It’s that way for me too. I was having a crappy morning when I went for my run on Saturday. And when I was done, I felt slightly less grumpy. Lol.


Stephanie March 26, 2012 at 1:31 PM

“Slightly less grumpy”… Love it!


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