Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why I Run

I've been reflecting on why I run, why it matters to me, and why I've missed it while I've been out of commission for the past month and a half.

When it came time to explain it as part of a Christmas present, here is what came out:

Running has been a big part of my life (off and on). The very first time I chose to go running was in high school when I weighed 275 pounds and was suffering from depression. I needed to get my life together, so I took a step. Then another. And slowly, it became my way of life. When I felt lost, frustrated, angry, or scared, I would lace up my shoes and head to the road. The paved trails became the place where I would clear my head and reflect on my life. The wooded trails became my solace. At this point in my life, running was my way of finding myself.

Then, over the years, I lost touch with it. I was so inconsistent – two months on, six months off. Five months on, a year off. So on and so forth. My weight fluctuated, and although I lost a ton of weight in high school, I gained it all back. Until in grad school, I stood on a scale and the number that stared back at me scared me. 284. I went home and cried. And for the second time in my life, I turned to running to get my life back on track. One step at a time, I trudged my way to ½ mile, to ¾, to a mile, to 3, to 5+. Running has served two purposes during this phase of my life over the past year. First, to drop weight and become healthier. I have lost over 50 pounds, and still have a ways to go before I’m totally happy. I remember walking up a flight of stairs in Florida and being completely out of breath by the time I hit the top. I couldn’t live like that anymore. So I pushed myself to make that change. The second purpose came when I ran my first race last December. It struck something in me, and ended up changing my life. It hit my competitive spirit like few things ever have, and it became almost an addiction. Something that I will continue to do for a long time. The funny thing is, I don’t even call myself a runner... I just do it for two reasons: to find myself and push myself. The challenge of pushing yourself to run farther and faster is amazing, and with every race, I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment every time I cross the finish line.

Like nothing or nobody can stop me.

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