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You Don't Have To Race To Be A Runner

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Ok.... just gonna toss this out there... if you aren't currently running races / participating in organized events, it does NOT make you any less of a runner or athlete. This past year has definitely been a whirlwind of a year with injuries and health related issues for me. But because of my experiences, it's also changed my perspective on a lot of things.

I used to think that

Running, Why Do You Do It?

Ask any runner why they run and chances are each one will tell you a different reason. Honestly, I sometimes run each run for a different reason. So when someone asks me why I run, well, it's not an easy question for me to answer. Personally for me, it's a complicated one. And the longer I run, the more running defines me, and the more I define my running, the more the two become intertwined. 

I will never run Boston. I don't really have a desire too. Do I want to break a 5 hour marathon? (Yes, very bad). Do I want to break the 2 hour mark for a Half? (So bad that I can taste it). Why? I mean I won't ever 'win' the race. The chances of me ever even placing in my age group are very slim. So why do I push myself so hard to try to reach a 'timed goal'. Because.... whether it's good or bad, I am very competitive. For this reason, I have always pushed myself hard in group classes at the gym verses working out solo. "Hmmm, she thinks she's going to out rep me, well I don't think so skinny girl in the corner". This is how my mind works. 

I remember my first run. It was when I lived in the South and this very fit girl was always running. I mean always. So I thought "hmmm.. if she can do it so can I". And I put on some gym workout gear and off I went. I knew that she ran a fairly long distance so I said I could too. Let's just say it was an out and back route. And I kept going 'out' way past the point of where I needed to turn around. By the time I turned to come back, I thought I was going to die.. this was it.. how I was going to go... beside a busy street... 

Way too far from home, I jogged/walked/shuffled my way back to my apartment. First I was mad because she made it look so easy. And then I was even more angry that I couldn't do it. So I went out again, and again and again until I was able to run farther and a little faster. Oh, don't get me wrong.. I never caught up to the girl's abilities. To this day I am not the runner that she is, but my competitive nature pushed me to push myself. 

There is a downside though (to being so competitive). I often get discouraged that so and so is faster than me. So and so can easily run X distance and X pace, and I'm still where I am. So there is a balance to being competitive. 

But I set goals for myself to push myself, to improve, and to become a better me. That's one cool thing about running is that you have the ability to set your own personal goals and milestones. 

So I ask you, Why do you do it? Why did you start running? Why do you continue? It's helpful sometimes to stop and ask ourselves these questions. Search our inner soul. Re-group, re-charge, re-fresh and re-define we who are in our running. 




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Comments

  1. For freedom of the every day chains that can drag us down if we aren't on our toes (no pun intended).

    Because I can.

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  2. I love this post! I run because it has taught me that my limits exist only in my head.

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    1. And I too often doubt myself when there isn't any reason to :)

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  3. I run for fitness (was weight loss until now since I am finally "done" losing weight!), endurance, health, and sanity!

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    1. I've run for fitness, weight loss, sanity and repeat ha. Congrats on being 'done' with losing weight. That is awesome!

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  4. I sometimes still ask myself "why" do I run? I am not an avid runner, but more a fair weather runner {and I live in California so that is a no brainer} but when I am out running and start to get out of breath and want to push further, I think "really" why do I like doing this? Then it hits me, I am running in a most beautiful area {wine country} and once I get passed the first 20 mins or so I start to feel pretty good :)

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    1. I imagine it is beautiful there! It's currently snowy/ice and super cold here. I've been utilizing my treadmill ;)

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  5. I think that is the beautiful thing about each individual runner, everyone is different, has different motivations for why they do, different levels, different goals. Its part of what makes runners so inspirational!
    (when I can run - injury right now) I run because for those minutes/hours I can go out and be free, sort through my problems, write novels in my head, feel better about myself. I also run because I can, many can't and that is something I am grateful and never want to take for granted!!

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    1. I know being injured isn't fun.. and I hope you are back to running soon! Are you able to cross train while you aren't able to run?

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    2. Unfortunately no, at least no cardio and nothing on my feet. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am starting to see specks of it in the distance now, finally:)

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  7. I wrote a whole blog on this last year but I will say mainly because it makes me feel free and strong. I am out of running for now due to an overuse injury. I cannot wait to get back!

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  8. What a great post. I started running to deal with my Dad's terminal cancer, I continue to run for so many reasons that, like you, I can't easily pinpoint them. I have different answers on different days and depending on if I am training for something at the time or not.

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