I’ve posted about this before and I’m crazy on Instagram about running- mainly because I’m proud. Some people ask me why I run. I even have people ask me if I’m crazy. I have people (ones who know me well) tell me that I need to start slowing down. What for? Why do people feel the need to have an opinion on someone else’s life? Yes I get that people love me and care and worry. Yes I’m a tired mom who works 40 hours a week, is a professional multitasker and runs. Spoiler alert- the running is what saves me, keeps me sane and gives me the energy without drinking an ounce of caffeine. Another spoiler alert- I take rest days and know how to properly rest my body. I’ve discovered that sometimes when you have such a passion for something that other people in your tribe don’t have, you start to lose them. Not entirely, but a little. This was HARD work and I earned to be proud. I earned this life badge.
I don’t run for any type of recognition. I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t run to compete against anyone else. But I’ll tell you it was a journey to get here. I never did track in high school. I never really was interested in running to be honest. I may have run from my college dorm to go eat and that’s about it! It actually scared me to think about running even a 5K. If you were to ask me even six or seven years ago if I would ever want to run a 5K for fun, I would have said yes, but not because I wanted to. It’s because I love a challenge. And never in a million years would I ever think about doing a half marathon. I would have laughed at you- inhaler and all haha!
Life experiences. They change you and shape you into the person you are today. We all go through them- good and bad. I’m not sure what prompted me to even start running, but I remember feeling depressed and sad. This was in college and everything was going against me. I felt like I was swimming against a current. Anxiety trapped me. I stopped cheerleading and was in grad school working in a group home. I would work 3rd shift and I remember they had a treadmill. I would jog and watch tv here and there. I ran a mile and didn’t even realize it. Then I started to go to the gym and run a little bit at a time at a slowwwww pace. I started to get better at it and I remember running my heart out at the gym- music blasting, no one else there, just full out run my heart out and set a goal to run 3 miles. This was about a year before my first baby. Setting that goal and crushing it by myself felt amazing. And holy crap I felt amazing. I felt like I could feel all that seratonin and Adrenalin just seep into my brain. I felt happy and I loved it.
I started to fall in love with running because of how it made me feel. I didn’t need to run 13 miles, but 3 was the magic number at that time. I wasn’t very good at it because my short legs didn’t take me far and my pace was lacking. I didn’t even understand pace or care about it when I started. It just made me feel free and happy and if you can feel those things at least once a day, then you’re winning.
I run because of how I feel. I run because I don’t have major anxiety. I’m talking about that heart beating out of your chest, close your eyes and literally envision your dog or kids getting hurt very vividly, crappy heart rate, live in sugar and caffeine, want to randomly cry and compare yourself to everyone else kind of anxiety. Don’t get me wrong. I’m freaking human and feel my feelings out of my chest and sometimes get some weird nervous energy, but holy mother of God I found a medication for me and it’s healthy. It’s not for everyone but that runners high is no joke.
Then when you get your tribe in on that feeling and high, you win again.
I run because you can’t cheat. You can’t cut corners. I run to compete against me. I run because every time I want to stop, my body that gave me 2 kids and my heart that bleeds a million feelings tells me to keep going. I run because I’m strong.
I run because I can. Because when I do, there’s always the chance to be extraordinary. A chance to overcome all obstacles, to fight through pain and suffering to test your emotional limits and boundaries, to experiment with the potential of the human body and discover just how far you can actually push yourself.
I’m a competitive person by nature. You should meet my dad. I always strive to do better. I used to compare myself to every single person and then social media bloomed and it’s torture for people like me.
I run for that girl inside me that doesn’t believe I’m capable of being, until I stand at the starting line at a race waiting to run my heart out. I start to run and everything changes. From that moment on, there’s only one conscious thought pounding in your mind for the entirety of the race. Finish. At that moment, life is about being the best version of yourself and nothing else matters.
Running is about the time during the race or even a run during your training when your mind wanders to your own special world where no one can reach you or touch you, where you’re able to break down the barriers you never even knew existed and feel the determination, the passion, the Adrenalin, and commitment to yourself. It’s about when the voice inside your head that kept yelling, “I can’t” stops, and a new voice, a stronger voice, takes its place and whispers, “I can.”
I love running a hard race because it challenges me. I recently ran a half marathon in Newport, Rhode Island and it was one of the hardest runs. I run about 2 to 2-3 half marathons a year. I’m not interested in doing a full marathon at the time because I’m afraid of what it might do to my body. I remember running all uphill for most of the race in torrential downpours and listening to my pace. I kept teetering between 7:24 to 8:27. I wanted to stop so many times. I wanted to see my family at the finish line, take a hot bath and eat a cheeseburger so bad. I had crazy rap music blasted because that keeps me going. I kept calling on my Gramps to get me through. He always said, “tough times don’t last. Tough people do. If it’s going to be it’s up to me.” My mind was going a million miles a minute and then I remember seeing mile 12. I had 1 more to go and the finish line was almost visible. When you hear the people scream that you have one lap to go, and you search within yourself to give it every last bit of energy you have left. And there it is. The finish line. Everything you worked and trained for. Trying to find a babysitter for your kids. Trying to coordinate a time with your husband to run. Trying to take turns running so that one person can be with the kids. Scheduling and planning all of the runs. Training in the middle of winter. Having to run 11 miles on the treadmill. Running in the snow, the rain, with a stroller, without headphones, etc.
Why do I do it? Because of how it makes me feel. The healthy part is just a side effect.
Running is not about winning or losing. It’s not about beating the person in front of you. It’s not about being number one. I never in a million years thought that I would run for pace. I don’t actually run to beat anyone’s pace but my own. I love looking back at all my races in seeing how much that improved because of me. Not because of anyone else. Because of me. I run because I love me.
I run for me. I don’t need to slow down. I am balanced and running allows me to feel in control.
Just breathe. Find that thing you love and fly. For me, it’s running. It’s not a chore to me. It’s not torture. Yes, it’s hard and yes it tests limits. I worked hard for this. I have taken every ounce of passion and determination and turned it into someone I am proud of. We are capable of doing anything we put our minds to. I love setting goals for each year because it gives me purpose and something to be excited about. So far, my goal is to run 2 half marathons a year. I’m still not professional and I don’t plan on doing any fulls as of now. I am currently pacing a 7:54 mile in half marathons, 7:37 mile in 10k, and 7:05 in one mile. I have never broken 6 minutes and I’m okay with that. My next goal is to beat 7:54 in a half marathon even if by a little because in Runner’s world, seconds count.
I don’t put that out there to brag. It was hard work and took me about 5 years and 2 kids to really become a runner. I run for me. I run for my kids. I run for my family.
Shout out to my husband to ran his first half marathon with me and paced at 8:34! We run together and it’s finally the one thing we have in common. Running with him has been my favorite thing. Next up is Juliana.
Running makes me a better mom, teacher, wife, daughter, friend, etc.
This is why I run.
Thank you to every single person who had supported me on this journey of self-love.