Monday, November 24, 2014

Why I Run

There are two types of people. Those that run and those that ask why do you run? 

If you have to ask, you just don't get it yet.

And that's okay. Plenty of people have other things that they really love. Maybe you are into amazing craft projects like my sister or Atlanta Braves baseball like my husband. My friend Megan loooves The Little Mermaid and my mom could quite literally spend the entire day in her garden.

And while I love running, it's not always perfect.

There are days that I just don't feel like it before I even start. I have experienced shin splits, lead legs, sore calves, tight hamstrings, blistered feet, missing toenails, stiff quads, and a horrific spectrum of chafing. I've run through thunderstorms, snow, ice, 100+ degrees, and 100% humidity. I've run 20 miles on a treadmill. I've had grief punch me across the face mid-run, leaving my face soaked with tears and sweat. I've run to sort out my anger. I've run to calm myself down.

There is no way to describe how the euphoria of a great run counterbalances all the dull aches.

It is wildly freeing to get lost in a tempo run. My quads make a right angle with my torso. My breathing is steady, controlled, and comfortable. The best feeling is when I feel as though my legs are going faster than the rest of my body--it's as though they are bringing the rest of me along for an exhilarating adventure.

I love the lung-searing pain of speed work. My heart pounds hard after each repetition. Just when I think I cannot go for one more rep, one more minute, one more second, I find another gear and dig deeper. When I finally finish, I can taste the salty sweat dripping down my face.

And the long run is a category unto itself. Lost in my own thoughts for hours, it is always incredibly more mentally challenging than the physical prowess it requires. A good one will exhaust me for hours afterwards. A bad one will have me seeking redemption after I'm done licking my wounds.

I run because it's a habit. I run because it has and continues to change my life for the better. I run because I love the challenge. I run because it sheds light on so many other aspects of life. I run because I miss it when I'm not running. I run for those that can't.

I run because I can.

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