Also, if you're looking for something from me today - head over to DizRuns, where I'm sharing the answer to the question I get asked most frequently - how should I start running?
Why I Run
My journey to becoming a runner is anything but interesting.
From the time I can remember, up until a few years ago, running was something I did but never really enjoyed. Growing up, I did it to be in better shape for playing sports in high school. During my college years, I ran to try and keep my beer belly under control. And after graduating and getting married, I ran occasionally with my wife because she enjoyed it, and occasionally when I was trying to do something good for my health.
Throughout all of these phases of my life, if you ever asked me how a recently completed run went, the response was usually “Terrible!”, or something even more colorful than that.
I guess for me, running was one of those things that I did for awhile because it was good for me, and somewhere in the past couple of years it has actually become enjoyable. Similar experiences I have had include eating broccoli, the drinking beer, and getting up before 9 on a Saturday morning. Man, I’m getting old!
Honestly now, if I don’t run for a day or two, I start getting super antsy and going through withdrawals.
I guess you could say I’ve become a little addicted, even though I’ve never had an “Aha, I must start running!” moment.
Why I Enjoy Running
As I’ve become more and more immersed in the running community, both locally and on the internet, I’ve fallen more and more in love with my regular runs for a few reasons. Specifically:
• The Health Benefits--There is no doubt that exercise in any form is good for your health. Running is a fantastic way to lose weight, strengthen your heart and lungs, build muscular strength, improve endurance, and more. There have even been recent studies that suggest that cardiovascular training is incredibly important for brain health. Running may not be the magic bullet for curing all health issues, but it is a great way for improving health in general.
• The Camaraderie--Unless you are part of some relay team, running is a solo sport. But if you’ve ever run a race, you know that you’re anything but alone when you are running. Runners are some of the nicest people I know, and they are always encouraging other runners. My running friends that are faster than I am are always encouraging me to push harder to get faster, and that extra push has helped me increase my speed dramatically in the past year or so. And most towns have a local running club which allows you to always have a friend or two to run with.
• The Solace--While I get plenty of support from other runners and friends, sometimes I just want to have a chance to go somewhere by myself and enjoy some quiet time. Running affords me this opportunity anytime I want it. Just by tying my shoes and heading out the door, I have the opportunity to think, pray, let stuff go, or just be at peace with my environment.
• The Competitive Spirit--I’ve been involved in sports my entire life, and while I’ve never been a “Win at all costs” kind of person, I still like to compete. As I continue to get older, there become fewer and fewer opportunities to compete in sporting events in a team environment. But, I’m able to keep my competitive fires burning while running by both competing against myself (always striving to get faster or run farther), and by competing against other runners (I can’t let that old guy beat me AGAIN!).
I wish I had a great story about why I started running. Something inspiring like beating cancer, or being in some accident where doctors said I’d never walk again, or running in honor of a friend or family member that loved running but no longer could.
But I don’t, although I’m glad I haven’t had to endure any similar hardships on my way to becoming a runner.
For me, it truly has been a slow evolution from running because I had to, running because it was good for me, to running because I really like to.
And I can honestly say that I’m glad to be a runner.
Perhaps the best thing about being a member of the running community is that we are always looking for more teammates! No matter how many people are running, we always have room for another fellow runner, and If you’re considering it I hope you’ll join us.
The great thing about us runners is that we are all so unique in how we got to the point that we are right now, but we all go forward together one step at a time. It doesn’t matter if we are world class, Boston Qualifiers, mid-packers, or leisurely strollers, we are all runners. We all run for our own unique reasons. I may not have a great story of why I started running, but I’ve got a dozen reasons why I keep lacing up my shoes and heading out the door. And every runner I know does as well.
What About You? Why Did You Start Running? I'd love to hear your story in the comment section!