by Jana Peale
This year I celebrate my 15 year anniversary with running. However, this is the first year running has been exclusively for me.
As I am turning 21 this year, I would say running has been a rather huge deal in my life. I joined a competitive track team when I was just 6 years old. I stayed on that team until I joined my high school team. I went directly from high school to Westminster College where I ran cross country and track for two years.
This past fall I decided to quit the team, which put me in a very interesting position.
For the first time in my running life I had no one to answer to. I was able to chose when I wanted to run, how far I wanted to run, and how hard I wanted to run.
Let me tell you the first couple months were fun: I took A LOT of days off, I cut my runs short, I ran slower than I ever have before. I also had some great runs. I explored new trails, ran with friends, not just teammates, and re-discovered running as something I love, rather than a job.
After a while the competitor in me wanted to start training for something.
After spending the majority of my life training for the 5K, I wanted a new distance. So, I decided to go for the longer events. In March I ran my first half marathon and this June I will run my first marathon.
Now that I am training for something and do not have a team constantly supporting me, I often question why do I run.
I know why I have to run. I know I got my body used to exercise from a young age, so I know I do have the same energy when I do not run. I get pretty grumpy if I do not run.
If it was just that simple, I could find another way to exercise. Somewhere along the way running became such a part of me that I do not know what to do without it.
Running is my therapy.
If its a beautiful day, I want to experience it with a run. If I see a cool trail, I want to run it. If need to cry, I go for a run (that usually makes for an ugly run – I try to avoid high-traffic areas those days).
Ultimately, why I run changes daily. I have that big, long list of reasons to go run, but for me it is more than just exercise.
Running is such a part of who I am, I could never imagine my life without it. We all run for our own reasons, but somewhere along the way we all become runners. Once that happens it is no longer a question of why we run, but why would we would ever stop.
“Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.”
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