Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Running Day: 20 Things Running Has Given Me

Most of you probably don't know the significance of this day. 
Then again, some of you probably do. 

It's National Running Day.

I spent my morning with my running friend, Dara - and we did our normal 3 miler. It was great. The weather was perfect, and I'm always down to have lengthy conversations with her. She hears all the good stuff - ha.

But really, I'd like to stop and take a minute to recognize the sport, the pastime, the hobby that is running - and why it's so important to me. Inspired by my favorite running blogger the Hungry Runner Girl, here are 20 Things Running Has Given Me!

1// It's given me hours upon hours with my Dad. My father and mother are the people I most love in this world (followed closely by my brother, sister, sister in law and the kids!), and it's always my favorite time of the week when my dad and I get to do "long runs". He's the reason I even started running in the first place, and I'm so thankful that we can keep doing "our thing" forever. Love him. 

2// It's been a blessing for my anxiety. I have a constant weight on my chest all day, every day because of this crappy thing called anxiety, but when I'm's gone. It's replaced with all of the good things - sweat, joy and "runners high". 

3// Body confidence. I still have my days where I don't like myself (we all do!), but it's shown me that this body is bad ass. This body has carried me through 2 marathons, 5 half marathons, multiple 10k's, countless 5k's, and many, many training miles. It does more than it's fair share, and I love it for that.

4// A reason to eat all the things and nap for hours on Saturdays. Saturdays are my favorite day. Working through a long run and coming home, taking a shower, eating a hamburger and then napping? That's the best day.

Also, donuts. And ice cream.

5// Passion for something. It's this huge part of my life and so I'll probably try and convince you to do it once in our friendship. Sorry I'm not sorry.

6// A way to get out my anger, sadness, aggression. Nothing feels as good as tiring yourself out - pounding on the pavement instead of someone - and then being done. You're free from all of the crap because you left it somewhere else.

7// It's a way to be mindful of what I'm putting into my body and how I should be taking care of it. I joked about burgers, donuts and ice cream earlier (and I'll never give them up!) - but running has given me the chance to explore the notion that "food is fuel". Whatever you put into your body, that's what you'll get out of it. If you feed yourself crap, you'll feel like crap. All day. If you feed yourself good things, you'll definitely feel good.

8// It's made me into a shoe snob. Same thing with food, but with shoes - if you have the right sneaks, all the good things happen and your body will love you long time!

9// A constant. When life hands you everything all at once, there's really not much you can do about it. But I have running. I have my shoes, my time and fresh air. 

10// New friends! I used to be opposed to anyone and everyone running with me, except for my dad. I was nervous about everyone seeing me and how slow I run (p.s. I may be slower than you, but I will go farther..ha!). But running has made me all kinds of new pals! Dara especially! But, when you're out on the trails, people talk to you. We discuss the next phase in training, the shoes we have one, how many miles we have left - it's a family. A big, weird family that likes to get up early and run - but I like them.

11// It's a way to honor those that I have loved and lost. Neither my uncle or my grandfather did a lot of running in their lives, but each time I get up to run, I'm reminded of them. Reminded that I need to take care of myself, and be there for the rest of my family when they no longer can. I run for them.

12// A healthy way to channel my competitive nature. It's a way that I can be competitive, but still reminds me that the only person that I'm racing - the only person I'm bettering, is me. No one else. 

13// It's given me cool experiences. Running through colored dust? Done. Getting high fived my a man in a gorilla suit when it's 95 degrees outside? Done. Being handed a beer at mile 4 of 6? Done. And seeing my best running friend finish her first marathon? DONE.

14// It's a way to figure out new music and podcasts! What songs work with running 4 hours and what songs totally don't. Will "Serial" end before my 5 hour run? Possibly. 

P.s. I'm still not finished with "Serial". Oops.

15// It's made me fall in love with my city. Cowtown officially gave me a reason to see everything and discover how stinkin' COOL this place is! It makes me excited to live here.

16// It's given me bragging rights. Oh, you just got up? Yeah, I've already ran 15 miles. I mean, who really doesn't love to brag a little? :)

17// It's given me a chance to visualize something that I want and to train hard to get it. With life and running, you can have big dreams and work hard to complete them! And then from there you can figure out new dreams - it's endless!

18// It's shown me a new side of my little momma. She comes to each and every race, makes sure she's at certain miles, and is the ultimate cheer squad. Whenever I'm in a funk during the race, I know that if I just get to where mom is, I'll have a jolt of new energy.
It's also given us time away from running - just the two of us - which I always look forward to. I love her.

19// It just gives me a reason to be more thankful for the things outside of running. It points me towards them even more.

20// It's made me better. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I honestly don't know where I'd be right now if I hadn't started running. I started originally because my dad was doing it, but more importantly because I was depressed. I don't think I was ever clinically depressed, and I'm not saying I'm on the same level as someone who is - but the deep hole was there. I had just been broken up with and couldn't shake it for a while. It was easier to stay inside, but I think my dad knew I needed something. Anything. 

At first I could barely run a minute without stopping. Most people say they could barely do a mile, but I was out of shape. But slowly, week after week, workout after workout it got easier. I still had a lot of fear over the next few years (about whether or not the run would go well/if I could do it, etc), and that eventually went away as well. 

I wear an identification bracelet on my wrist every run. It has my parents information on it, and it says that I have no previous medical anything. But it also has "you are strong. You are loved" printed on it. My mom said (and still says) that to me when I first started running. It was her way of scooting me out the door because she knew it to be true. And now I know it to be true - and you should too.

You are strong.
You are loved,

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