Everyone has a reason and purpose for why they chose to do anything, let alone running. Running can be so hard and really mess with your head. It is just as much mental as it is physical. Your mind can really start playing games with you when you are out on the road. One of the biggest mind games is the mantra that plays over and over again in your head “Why am I doing this to myself?” “This is so hard and I can’t wait for it to be over!” So, what is your why?
I became serious about running in November 2015. I am going on almost 3 years that I can call myself a runner. At that time, my twins were two years old. Prior to having my twins, Jon and I used to work out together all the time, never really following a program for long enough to see true results. The first year of the twins’ life, life was all about survival. It is all such a blur now looking back. Jon and I were at the lowest point in our physical fitness. We were exhausted and just surviving. We didn’t work out, and we didn’t watch we ate. I joined the gym again after the boys turned one. I was never consistent though. I had thought about running but I always had an excuse. The excuses running through my head and out loud to other people were: Well I get really bad shin splints when I run. I can’t run because my knees hurt when I run. I don’t have time. I don’t like running. I had dabbled in running before, having run one 5k with my dad in 2011. I survived the 5k, but was still full of excuses, and quit running. What I did know is that I wanted to be an inspiration to my boys one day. I wanted them to look up to me. I wanted to be a role model for them. My dad was my inspiration. My dad used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and he quit on my 10th birthday. I used to tell myself that if my dad can run marathons, then surly I can run too.
The thoughts of wanting to do something that would positively influence my boys one day were overwhelming. I wanted to feel fit and be healthy for my boys. I wanted this for them. I thought if I did something that would make me feel good about myself then I would be a better parent to them. I wanted to be able to keep up with their boundless energy. I wanted to be around for them. I wanted to be healthy for them. I hoped to teach them that working hard for something will help them achieve their goals.
I still remember the day that I officially decided to start running. I was on my way back from a meeting at the end of the day and would have ordinarily just gone right home. Something came over me, and if I did not run on the treadmill it was going to ruin my day. I just had to run. The struggle was real. I set out to do 2 miles and hardly survived. I didn’t follow a program. I just went out and did it….slowly. I hurt. I couldn’t walk for a couple of days after, but I wasn’t going to give up this time. The following runs I took to the pavement. One of my neighbors recently commented about how far I have come as a runner. He remembers seeing me running outside and knew I was just beginning. I was struggling. I put one foot in front of the other between walking and running, which I later learned was called interval running.
In January of 2017, I started to run in road races on a regular basis. I have since run numerous 5Ks, several 10Ks, going to run my 5th half marathon this weekend, and am training to run the Disney Marathon with my dad! I have even inspired Jon and the twins to run. We have done a couple of short races as a family, and Jon may have been convinced to do a couple of 5Ks with me.
My why has evolved and changed over time. It is something that even changes from run to run. I still continue to run to be a positive role model for my boys, but it has turned into something so much more. I have met many running friends over the past several years. I look forward to those group runs, and road races that we support each other on. I have a running family now. We get our running family out there for road races and look forward to the after parties and beer of course! Well lets be real, the huge motivator for all these races is the swag and beer after. Running has become more of a community for me and it has me hooked. I run for me, my family, and my friends, to train harder, to de-stress, and to catch that high when you finish a race. Road races always leave me looking for which one I will register for next. My life is just better with running in it.
So, what is your why? Share your why with me! Add to my inspiration and drive to keep doing this. Sit and reflect upon all of your reasons why. When that negative self-talk starts to creep up on you, tell your mind to stop thinking and focus on your why. Remember, one foot in front of the other is all that it takes!
Keep on keeping on!