Running has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. This is where I’d share a profound, feel-good story of why I started running if I had one. But I don’t. To be honest, I wasn’t blessed with impeccable hand-eye coordination and running was the only sport I could do without that talent. That’s how it really started. And I just kept going (Yes, a Forrest Gump reference here). These are all the reasons why.
1. I love food and I love to eat. I can’t afford to continue pursuing this hobby without countering it with some form of physical activity. Running allows me to eat six times a day (or more) and be proud of it.
2. Too much of my time is spent in front of a screen. I work eight hours in an office in front of a desktop while being hyper-connected to the world that my smartphone is. Running is the only time I get to disconnect. It’s incredible how much of my thoughts I’m able to sort through during a long run.
3. I’ve never had severe body image issues but maintaining an active lifestyle helps me avoid developing insecurities. The stronger I become and the faster I run, the more confident I am in my body. My weight eventually becomes irrelevant since I’m too busy building muscles and stamina. Plus, I don’t have to think twice about looking good because that’s a given.
4. Running is the only way to train my mind to ignore limitations and overcome self-created barriers. I don’t know how else to profoundly change my psychology on approaching daunting problems in my life.
5. It’s my outlet. The anger and stress I shoulder don’t go away easily. I have a lot of personal baggage I need to let go of and running helps me take care of that. Running is therapy.
6. On days when I’m really struggling, running is the only way I feel competent and strong. If there’s at least one thing I could do during the day that makes me feel like a powerful woman, it’s to obliterate those miles.
7. The running community is badass. Over the years, I’ve connected with people in unexpected ways because we run. It’s a respect-worthy activity and those who do it are a special breed of humanity. It’s beautiful. You relate to people in ways that can’t be described with words.
8. I sleep better. I don’t particularly have sleeping issues but exhausting myself during the day with a long run guarantees an enriching night of sleep. And who doesn’t like to sleep?
9. There’s something fulfilling about suffering through every step of a race, not caring how hideous my face looks. It’s a constant battle with my mind to make sure I don’t slack off and start walking. I nearly vomit after crossing the finish line every single time but the thought of having pushed through those miles brings me a deep sense of satisfaction.
10. Living in New York City limits my exposure to the outdoors but running gives me that experience. Central Park is the closest thing to nature that I get.
11. I’m allowed to be introverted.
12. I got sick of saying “I’d like to run the marathon one day.” Changing that to “I’m training for the marathon” feels really good. Just wait until after November 5th and I’ll be saying “I ran the marathon” more times that you can imagine.
13. Running is a celebration of appreciation for having a strong body. I recently watched a close family member temporarily lose his everyday movements and is still struggling with it. I hope my body continues to take me further than I could have ever imagined.
14. Best of all, I do it because I can.
Now it’s your turn. Why do you run?