Why I Run

Running has always been a bit of an uphill battle for me, even when I’m quite literally going downhill. But for some reason our love affair always seems to be rekindled.

I don’t remember exactly when this love affair began. I can tell you it was one that certainly wasn’t love at first sight, or first stride. I do have vivid memories of being in 7th or 8th grade and going for a run around the lake. I’m pretty sure I did this more for the bragging rights of saying ‘I ran 5 miles,’ rather than the actual joy of running. And for the record, I have absolutely no idea if it was even a 5 mile run.

I also remember being grossly hungover once in college, chugging lemonade to hydrate, and then attempting to go for a run. Let’s just say it’s the only run that’s ended with my hands on my knees and… well, you can probably guess the rest.

The only consistent thing about my relationship with running, is just how incredibly inconsistent I am at doing it. Sure we’ve had our good times, usually the 3 or 4 months leading up to a race, which seems to be the only motivation I have to lace up my shoes these days. But no sooner than I’ve crossed the finish line the spark that rekindled our romance seems to have run it’s course [pun not intended, but damn do I love a good pun].

Although I’m in the midst of an ‘on’ phase with running, it’s been hard for me to enjoy it as much as I have in the past. Long gone are the days when I finish my run with the infamous runners high. Hell I even have a hard time finding my stride at all, which leads to every step of the run feeling like a massive struggle.

I’m trying to figure out just when I fell out of love with running, and why the hell I still do it if I seem to hate it so much. I think it has something to do with my last PR. I pushed myself far beyond my limits and ended the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2017 with a bum knee, but one hell of a PR. And my running hasn’t been the same ever since.

Not only physically has it changed, although thankfully my knee no longer gives me problems, but mentally and emotionally as well. It’s definitely my ego that’s the biggest runners block for me. I just can’t help but feel so dissatisfied when looking at my time after my recent runs. Yes I’m getting older. Yes I’ve been running far less consistently. And YES I now live in Michigan where there are actual changes in elevation throughout my course [hills. those damn hills!]. All justifications I list for myself when I’m feeling less than thrilled with my mile time.

Yet, I still do it. I put one foot in front of the other and eventually it all adds up to whatever milage goal I had in mind. And sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s ok.

There’s just something about running that I can’t quit.

Regardless of my mile time or how much I struggle, I still feel great when I’m done with a run. It also feels like a moving meditation. I have more energy and I’m more inclined to make better food choices when I’m running consistently. And I’m also more inclined to not feel as guilty when I don’t make the best food choices, because what the hell am I running all these damn miles for anyway?

I guess I do it because it feels good. Ok, maybe not the entire time I’m actually running, and sometimes not ANY of the time I’m running. But as days turn in to weeks that turn in to months, I always feel better when I’m running. It shows me that I’m capable of things I never thought possible. That although I may not go faster, I can always go farther. The confidence I get from my running accomplishments lasts long after I undo my laces. And that, my friends, is why I run.