Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Words To Run By

I like to run. As do a lot of you, but I realize that not everyone shares that same passion. I didn't use to love it. I can remember when it was time for the mile run for our fitness tests in elementary school I used to dread it. I don't know what changed in me, or why I suddenly decided that I actually liked running, but I'm so glad that I did.

I was talking to a friend of mine today about running. He is just starting to get into it, and he isn't loving it so much right now. Running is really hard at first. Your lungs burn. Your muscles scream. Pretty much every force inside your body is saying, "STOP!!!" It takes working through that initial painful first few times, to start to feel comfortable with it, and even then building up running endurance can be downright painful. Shin splints; check. Charlie horses; check. Side aches; check. Sore legs; check. Somewhere in your head you may even be thinking, "now why am I doing this again?" But, then it happens. That one great run. The time that it feels almost effortless, like you could run for miles and miles.

I remember one time in particular that this happened for me. It was a PERFECT day outside. The temperature was amazing, the kind where you can't feel the air around you. The sun was out and it was beautiful. I was training for my first marathon...(I trained all the way up to my 20 miler and hurt my back really bad, so i didn't get to run it.) I was on the last half mile of my run, and my favorite song came on. I was running on a bit of a downhill so my speed picked up, and instantly I felt like I was flying. It was the best feeling in the world. I was mouthing the words to my music, I had a huge smile on my face and tears running down my cheeks. I'm sure everyone who saw me thought I was pure crazy, but who the heck cares? It was AWESOME. Such a runners high.

(I'm sorry...I had to...)
I remember when I ran the Salt Lake Marathon two years ago and I ran across the finish line. It's hard to explain or to duplicate the feeling of crossing the finish line. My family was all lined up cheering me on, as were the hundreds of other strangers that felt like family at the time. It's pure inspiration. You can't not feel good and proud of yourself at that moment. My speed picked up, and I was gliding. I did it!! After all of that training. The blood, sweat, and tears...The hours on the treadmill...the brutally cold outside runs...the early mornings. I'd finished. A lifelong goal checked off my list. There came the tears again...am I a basket case? Probably. It was incredible.

Trying to explain to my friend today why I love to run evoked all of these emotions again. Maybe it's because I haven't been able to run for the past few months, and I'm SO dang glad to be back. Who knows? Running isn't always sunshine and roses. It's true...some days my runs feel awful, like I have cement blocks encasing my shoes. Like every mile is actually double the distance, and I'm never going to finish, but even on those days I am always so incredibly happy once I finish. The feeling after a good run is pretty awesome. Other times I feel like I could run for days, like I'm in my own little untouchable world. Plus it burns TONS of calories...bonus. Yep.

For those of you who are still in the beginning, "I hate this," stage. Don't give up. It gets better. It's so worth it. I realize running isn't for everyone, but give it a chance. It is my therapy. It is my release. It doesn't matter how fast you go or what your goals are. We're all different, and that is the greatest part about life. 

So am I crazy? Do you like to run? Do you absolutely hate it? Have you had those runner's highs? Why do you keep running? Do we have any other criers out there? Please say yes...

oh and enter my giveaway if you haven't... :)
oh...and you're awesome. Don't forget it. Now go strap on your running shoes and do work.


Rochelle said...

I am just starting to love running and am definitely a crier. I teared up just thinking about how awesome it would feel to cross the finish line while reading your post. Running really is great!

marathonmaiden said...

i LOVE to run. i think i always have but bc it was punishment for my other sports i hated it. now that i'm doing it for me i love it again

Katefreak said...

I love this post! It made my night.

Now if only my leg would heal faster! :)

Jenn said...

A few tears here and there....or buckets of tears after crossing the finish line in Boston and also about 45 hugs to complete stranger volunteers.

Runners high is why you keep running. It just can't be matched:) Love the paragraph about how it isn't always sunshine and roses....Well said!

Slomohusky said...

nice post! thanks for sharing.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

That guy running was definitely a "party in the back"!

It is that runner's high or effortless floating feeling that bring us back again and again!

Nicole said...

You know I love to run! Sometimes it's the favorite part of my day, and while not all runs are great, it's usually so nice to be outside and being active! I'm not sure if I've ever experienced an actual runner's high, but I'm definitely a crier.
There are a million reasons that I keep running- because I love it, because I want to get faster, to stay in shape, because it makes me a better person, etc. And the calorie burning is a major plus.
Yay for running and 1:45 half marathons (or less) in 2011!

Kate said...

I was JUST talking about this like 2 days ago. I also used to dread the mile run in gym class. I always had a side stitch and felt like I was going to die by the end. (What was wrong with me!?)

Then I started running in college and still hated it. But it was a challenge so I kept it up. Suddenly, one day, I guess I just began to love it. I can't remember when it happened but running started to bring me joy.

A group of people at work are doing a Biggest Loser challenge and they want me to lead a run group once a week. Their goal is to complete a 5k. I am SO nervous that they'll give up when they realize how hard it is at first. It's never fun in the beginning so how do I keep them going?

I might just have to pass along this post so they know it does get better.

Why do I find the need to write a novel for each of my comments? Oh yeah, 'cause we're BFFs, that's why!

melissadishes said...

i love to run most of the time. this has only been in the last 5 years. I HATED running growing up and I only played sports that had little to no running

i really thought I would be a crier at my first big race, but I never did. everything else makes me cry though.

Eleanor@eatinglikeahorse said...

Wow what a great post! I love cycling but hate running... but this has maybe planted a little seed of inspiration... :-)

Jen said...

So well put. It only takes a few good runs to get you through the rest! I am a crier too and so I understand having those emotions spill over!

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