We can go on with a long list and often times they are very simple and small and other times they are big and heavy. Sometimes it really is just to log in the steps and get some activity because you know running is healthy and you enjoy it. However, it usually isn't that simple. Most people are drawn to running and stick with running or keep coming back to running for deeper reasons.
They are NOT running away from something. They are NOT running for an escape.
They are running to FIND something. Something deep inside them. Waiting...
Waiting to come out of them.
Or at least, I found out that this is why I run. I was introduced to running as a sport freshman year in high school. It came as a recommendation from my father knowing Fall was the season, I didn't have a sport. He told me it would keep me active and get me in shape for basketball and softball. I naively said OK thinking, I can run. I do it all the time. Truth is I had never run more than a mile and that was just for the Presidential Fitness test in PE. But still, how hard could it be?
I remember the morning after my first cross country practice more than I remember the actual practice. Coach P seemed cool. She was firm, but nice and had us do this walk - run thing around cones set up in our school parking lot (we did not have a track). It got a little challenging, but never to the point to where I wanted to quit. And then...
I stepped out of my bed the next morning and almost fell. Followed by almost falling going down the stairs to eat breakfast and feeling stuck on the toilet when it was time to stand up again. "Mom, Dad, My legs. Something is wrong. They hurt." Yes, this was followed by a chuckle and short explanation that I did not believe. How could running do this to my 14 year old body. Well, when I got to school and all of my teammates where cringing with each step up and down the stairs, I finally believed them and then thought, "Please tell me this will go away."
It did and I kept going back for more. Freshman year cross country is one of the best memories I have of high school. I felt a sense of belonging on this team and I felt like me. (If that makes sense?)
It was about a year later where I began the...
I am not a runner. I dislike running. I can't run. And this continued on and off for 20 years. Wow! That makes me feel old. That is a long time. Thank goodness I found my way back to health and fitness in a quicker time period then that!
Truth was, as I shared in, I Hate Running, I was plain old frustrated with injuries. Injuries that just wouldn't go away and I was not happy with my body for it. As long as the journey was, I know I needed to go through it. I believe this struggle actually lead me into fitness and learning other ways someone can stay fit and strong which, funny enough, lead me back into running. I learned how to keep my body strong, stable, injury free (well, as much as possible. This is always a work in progress for everyone.) and what exercises can help improve my running because my body wasn't built to run more than a couple times a week.
So what do I need to do to keep running?
Back to running. Yes! The past two years have been filled with figuring out all of the above and slowly starting to set personal running goals again. The most important one being, never lose the fun in it. If you have run with me before, although I stay aware of the distance and pacing, you know I really don't let it stress me out. Some days I just let it all go and just run for fun at any and every pace and other days I challenge it and try to push the limits either pace wise or distance wise. There is always a little give and take. This give and take keeps it fun and healthy for me.
But I realized something about myself during this process. While my main goal is health and inspiring others to find fun in their fitness, I tend to allow myself to get distracted helping others challenge themselves and keep myself in my personal comfort zone - slightly uncomfortable and challenging enough to maintain and improve fitness, but still within that known comfort spot. That spot where you set a goal you know you can achieve NOT that goal that you really want and you may have to work your ass off to get there and you may FAIL many times before you do get there and it is going to be hard and suck at times.
Back in August at a Shaklee global convention, we were challenged to 100 days of Amazing. Something happen at that conference that is hard to explain and maybe for another post. I was ready to hear what was being spoken and I was up for challenging myself, but I know something had to happen first.
I had to change my mindset.
My mindset about limitations and possibilities and I had to dig deep down inside and bring out the BRAVE and BOLD part of me. It was then when I clicked the button to sign up for my first marathon. Something I have been saying for years that I would NEVER.
Why? Why a marathon? I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was outside of my comfort zone. I knew that I didn't really know how my body would respond and what it would do. But I knew that this challenge was exactly what I needed to change my mindset.
This is where I learned and began to understand, that when you run, you are not running away from things. You are running for something. Something deep, hidden within you. It may take you a awhile to find it or you may find it and realize you want more of it. So you keep running. You keep running because it pushes away the negativity and the battles you fight inside yourself.
When you find that moment where you dig past those inner battles, past the fear, past the anger, you find a gift. A gift of love, courage, life, passion and living!
What do you run for?