The reason I run
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Over 700 miles in training
100+ miles per month average
Just under 11 minute miles on race day
The reason I run
I am a better person because I run. The more hours I spend running outside, the greater capacity I have for kindness and patience. The more winded I am and the more my legs ache, the more grateful I am for my health, for beautiful and capable bodies, and for the little bit of crazy in all of us that makes people dream up these big goals in the first place.
A marathon. I set out to achieve a goal… but what I found along the way was far more rewarding than the accomplishment.
I found discipline and routine during early winter mornings that I wanted to spend tucked into my cozy bed. 3 mornings a week I would rise and drink my coffee and eat my breakfast, and then bundle up for a run… all before the sun. Some mornings I ran for more than 3 hours in less than 20 degrees. It was an incredible challenge, and I will never deny that it was a test, and it truly built my character. It took me a while to get ready for those runs. I needed enough time for coffee and water and to make sure I could pee a few times before beginning my trek. I needed enough time to get my newly developed neuroma taken care of - carefully layering toe pads and socks, situating them comfortably in my shoes to minimize pain. I needed enough time to find the right combination of layers - at least one that had fleece lining, another that broke the wind, but not too many that I felt restricted. I needed enough time to gather my phone, watch, headphones, and running snacks before I could get out the door. And even when I had enough time to get this all accomplished, I was already running 20 minutes behind schedule. Every. Single. Time. Some things never change.
I found challenges where I anticipated ease. The first 6 miles I listened and felt and observed. How do my feet feel? My shins? Did I wear the right amount of layers? Does my head feel tired? How will this run be? The easiest miles were crucial to setting my mind for the hardest. It was during these miles that I held myself accountable to not give up when it got hard - everything else is prepared for this run… are you? It is hard to anticipate finishing something you’ve never done as you’re starting it. You have to finish mentally first.
I found freedom on the bitter cold roads of a Wisconsin winter. Somewhere during mile 6, after all the anticipation, I no longer felt anything. My clothes were fine, my feet were fine, my head was fine. Everything knew what to do, everything settled into a comfortable stride without my help. My 6 mile high. You know you’ve hit it when your chest opens up and you take the deepest breath you've ever felt and your face literally smiles without your control on the exhale. I’m smiling now, just thinking of this feeling. Legs ready, lungs ready, heart ready. After this breath, I’d look to the sky, pull my shoulders back, and I’d go. I’d just go and let everything do. And after a few hours my legs would let me know they’re tired, my lungs lets me know they’d like to breathe a little less often, and I would say ok.
I found humility, awe, and pride every single week. Every week, for 6 months straight, I conquered a new feat. Every week I accomplished something even bigger than the week before - brand new, never been done, completely unbelievable. Sometimes it wouldn’t sink in until I saw Anna’s jaw drop. Sometimes I was celebrating myself on the elevator ride up to the condo. Every week I was humbled by what I was capable of. I prayed, I thanked God so often for my healthy body. I was in awe of the challenge I was taking on and my surprisingly consistent success. And proud. Always always proud. 6 months of pride was life changing.
And finally, I found myself while I trained for a marathon. Came across myself really, because I never went out looking. But there she was, mile after mile. Me, me, me, me. So many hours alone with myself. So many hours willing myself to finish faster, better, stronger than last time. Sometimes just begging myself to finish. And I always did. I said “no” to others pretty often because I knew that I owed it to myself. I turned down a lot of drinks, late nights with friends, and lazy Saturday mornings. I ate better, slept better, lived better because there was a future me that needed me to.
I’m different now. I feel so inspired, so capable to do anything and everything. I feel less scared. I feel more liberated. I feel healthy, confident, big. I feel like I was born to be fricken spectacular. I am a better person because I run.