I was scrolling through running pictures from this or that race, and came across this one – it’s from my first half marathon ever. I’m gearing up to do my first half marathon of the year.
I started running back in the summer of 2012 to prepare for suffering through Tough Mudder. I loved strength training, but that alone wasn’t going to get me to earning my orange finishers headband. Running was stints here and there with strength-training bursts mixed in. I was bad at it. I had no desire to continue running after Tough Mudder. However, I got suckered into this beginner’s running class and huffed and puffed my way through. The end goal for the class was doing this local 5k. I sucked it up and waltzed miserably through the race. I felt this huge sense of accomplishment finishing that race. I did it.
Running began with short little bursts; which eventually turned into doing 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, triathlons and eventually full marathons. I never planned on running long distances; it sort of just happened. I pushed myself with my first half marathon for two reasons: 1) to prove to myself I could run the distance and 2) use it is as preparation for my first ever half Ironman. I ran my first marathon to celebrate my one day, one month, and one year to the date of my preventative double mastectomy. I ran my second marathon to take back what I lost and take revenge on the course. You see, my first marathon was supposed to be Lakefront. However, I opted for surgery instead. I watched the race and cheered friends on. Yes – I teared up, too. I vowed there that I would come back and dominate the course.
I have gone for a run March 10th every year to reflect and think. March 10th, 2014 was the day my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was out for a run that day I got the text of her diagnosis. As I laced up and ran the other day, I reflected on my sister’s cancer journey and my own double mastectomy journey, I’m reminded of how much running was a HUGE part of those surgery celebratory markers, and still continues to be a huge part of my life. I hated running pre-surgery, as it was something I never was good at and struggled. Post-surgery, I had a different perspective and running was something I was allowed to do. It hurt badly. Pumping my arms with foreign objects in my chest..ugh!! The thought of it now makes me cringe. Running with cording issues became my normal. Figuring out how to run through fat grafting and nerve damage was its own little challenge. Running through a failed fat grafting attempt and another surgery a year later was hard physically, mentally and emotionally. My motto became one day, one week, one month, one year at a time.
Running got me through – it became my saving grace. My personal sanity when dealing with the emotions that comes from a double mastectomy. Something I hated, I’ve now grown to enjoy and love. I’ve been thinking about why I run and put my body through torture (literally and figuratively)…It’s an easy question with lots of answers.
Here’s my why:
- For the wheezing, burning, winded feeling in my chest. I love being so winded and out of breath – there’s pain but a sense of excitement pushing the body.
- I love sweat dripping down my face and burning my eyes.
- I love jumping in the hot shower to quickly realize what body parts are chaffed. OUCH!!!!
- I love hitting the wall (sarcasm)! It’s those times of hitting the wall that I’ve learned much about my mind, body, soul and digging deep!
- I love the runner’s high after a killer workout. I love the runner’s high in general – it’s really real! If you haven’t felt it, keep running. One day it will hit you and you’ll know!
- I love pushing past the unknown and proving to myself I can do it.
- I have heart. I’m not a talented, gifted runner, but my heart carries me through.
- I do it to clear my head; to think and meditate.
- I run because I can.
- So I can buy cute workout clothes, and have gobs of laundry at the end of the week. No, I won’t
- I run to overcome obstacles, fight through pain and suffering, to test my emotional and physical limits, and amaze myself at what the human body can do and rally to do.
- Because running for hours leading up to a race and being finished just like that… It doesn’t make sense, but it’s worth it. I may not win and get a shiny first place medals, but the countless hours training and finishing the race means the world to me.
- It’s about every ounce of strength and determination. The voice in my head (devil) says “I’m done. I can’t”, but the stronger voice (angel) inside whispers, “I can. Just. Keep. Going.”
- I used to run for the race bibs and medals. I would love hanging the bibs on the wall. It was a visual reminder of how far I’ve come and where I can go -there’s potential!! Now, I run a race because I want to. Priorities have changed.
- Because I want to explore the world and take in the views around me. It’s allowed me to see my town and surrounding towns in a whole new way. I enjoy viewing the world by foot and taking in the beauty around me.
- Because I love the way I feel afterwards.
- Because depleting the body and it being angry at me is how I roll.
- It can be easy…and yet so difficult.
- Because I enjoy making my body miserable and in pain. My mind only gets stronger after each run and hard workout.
- I run to overcome fears. I am capable of more than I ever imagined.
- I enjoy a delicious Blue Moon or Goose Island beer after a killer workout.
- I love waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to get out the door for a long run or to head to a race (**sarcasm**). There is some truth and excitement to waking up early and watching the sun rise, hearing the birds wake up, and seeing the world come alive.
- I do it to beat my odds and be healthy. Oh, I could say so much more about this.
- To meet people. Some that I’ve met at races or through training have become close friends of mine. I love the running community. Ah, the bond runners have!
- It’s voluntary – no one is forcing me or twisting my arm to do it. I get to do this.
- I run because I love it. I run because I need it.
- Running through my problems helps me face what I need to face. I get to turn everything else off and forces me to process what I’m dealing with. The pavement makes for a great listener.
- It’s my me time. I get to step away from the problems and people of the world and focus on me. I can tackle anything and everything while running.
- Running is real exercise and a metaphor – think about it!
- It makes me feel alive.
- It shows me I can always improve.
- I enjoy my dates with my running shoes and pavement. The pavement is a good listener!
- Because my race times are simply a number.
- Because losing toenails is sexy (extremely sexy), and having blistered feet is beautiful.
- Because I love shoes; tennis shoes that is. Don’t ask me how many pairs I have…ask my husband. He’ll gladly tell you how many pairs I have…
- I run to inspire others.
- I love the puking feeling after finishing a tough progression run or pushing through that crazy, intense race.
- It makes me happy. Running releases endorphins!
- Because appreciating the bad runs helps me see and appreciate the good ones.
- I enjoy having funny tan lines and explaining why they’re there.
- For the swagger and limp that happens after a crazy, intense race – like the marathon for example. I love pushing my body and feeling like an 80-year-old. I get a thrill out of not being able to get out of a chair the next day after a long race. I love feeling like a 2-ton elephant waddling around.
- Because running and racing teaches me again and again that I can do whatever I set my mind to.
- To meet a goal and continue improving myself. Goals take time and hard work. I’d be lying if I said it was easy!!
- Because sometimes I need to cry, laugh, vent or scream.
- I run so I can spit and farmers blow. Gosh, my brothers would be proud of me after all those failed attempts at teaching me when I was younger!
- Because it’s cheap! Ha – I need to own stock in Brooks running shoes and Skirt Sports.
- To keep this body healthy and looking GOOD (JK)! I love the definition in my legs from running. I’m proud of my thunder thighs and lack of butt! My legs are the engine!! I’ve loved watching my body transform.
- I run for me. My health and sanity. I run to show other’s who’ve gone through a major surgery that they, too, can push past their boundaries. I discovered so much about myself through my surgery and running post surgery. Running gave me my life back. It helped me come to terms with many things leading up to surgeries and to this day.
- If I did not run, I wouldn’t be me. Plain and simple.
Something I absolutely hated, I now love and enjoy. How funny, right?!As I’m prepping for this upcoming half marathon, I am anxious and scared. I’m not where I want to be or where I once was. When I have my moments, I’m going to remember my whys! I’m going to let my heart push me through those dark moments of pain and unknowns. I have no goals – just going out there to run.
Do share…Why do you run? I’d like to know. Maybe you can add things to the list!