Happy National Running Day!

nationalrunningdayHappy National Running Day!

You know what I did to celebrate? NOT RUN! During the week I usually take a day off between runs and I ran yesterday morning so no run today. Just some strength training and laundry (exciting, I know). I had intended to run this afternoon just for the sake of it but I just couldn’t ‘t muster the energy at the end of the day. I am 100% a morning runner now.

So anyway, I just thought I’d share a little bit about why I like to run. I started about two and a half years ago when my boyfriend talked me into it. I had been working out on the elliptical but I hadn’t really tried running. We signed up for a 5K to give me a goal but I didn’t really get on a treadmill until the night before the race. I still remember that clearly. I ran a mile in about 10 minutes and reasoned that if I could do that, then I could run a 5K. The race, my first ever running 5K, was a different story. There was a HUGE hill we had to climb and I had to stop to walk several times. I wouldn’t say I was proud at the end but at least it got some of the nerves about running out. I kept at it and three months later, I could run a 5K without stopping.

Since then, running and I have broken up and gotten back together a lot. I enjoyed having a treadmill in a climate controlled environment at my old apartment but I didn’t always love how it felt to run on it. I’d keep at it for a while but then I’d fall off the wagon and then get back on. My longest no-running streak came last winter when we moved to our new place in D.C. There’s no gym in our building and I didn’t want to run outside in the cold. By April, I was finally starting to get the itch again. I did a few races and was relieved to find that it didn’t really take long to get back into running shape. I was going to ease back into it but I’m not really a patient person so after a week of “easing” in, I went for broke and busted out three miles.

Lately I’ve been loving running more than ever. I’ve gotten faster and I’m better at pushing myself. Instead of getting on a treadmill and setting a pace, I’ve learned to run by feel. On the treadmill, there can be a mental block about how fast you can run. You get used to setting it at a certain level and just going with it. Now, I run at a comfortably hard pace. And guess what? I can, for the first time, maintain a sub-9 minute mile pace for three miles. That’s pretty damn exciting for me. And oh yeah, running outside beats running on a treadmill any day.

So why exactly do I like to run? Because no matter what, I feel happier at the end of it. I’ve found it a great way to start my day, to get my energy going. And those endorphins don’t hurt either. I love sharing the city with the other folks at 5 a.m. who make running a priority. I’m not going to lie, I sometimes want to run up and hug them because I feel like a part of the same family. I like being able to compete against myself. And others, because really, I’m a competitive person at heart. But the competition against yourself, against your old time and distance records, are the most important. I love the way my body feels when I find a good stride. I love being able to know exactly what I accomplished at the end of a run. And most of all, I love to run because of how strong it makes me feel. I may weigh more than I once did, but I’m in a hell of a lot better shape now. My 29-year-old self could kick my 23-year-old self’s ass.

So even though I’m not running today, I celebrate it. I’ve found the one hobby I love more than anything else. Well, aside from stuffing my face of course.

Why do you run?