Why I Run

To be completely honest, not too many people are supportive of my running habit. My parents think I am bonkers; my husband, although supportive, bears the brunt of the time commitment on the weekends; strangers tell me to ‘rest my body’; my kids think every time I run I am gone for half the day; my joints here and there scream STOP; my quads are ginormous and horse-like; and my nerves pre-race / pre-long run bring insomnia and anxiety. But I can’t stop. I love it. There is something about running that brings me a sense of freedom, escape, meditation, nature, beauty, relaxation and peace. Every time I step outside to run and I look out at the sky, I just release a sigh of relief and think, “Thank goodness! Here I am again!”

 

Yesterday!

Yesterday during an 18m race in Central Park! I am the one with the crazy face in the middle. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see my family!

Call it a runner’s high or love of torture, but I love the feeling of running and accomplishing something that I put my mind to. To me, running is setting up a goal, and being the only person able to do it. If I want / need to run 20 miles, it’s all on me. I can’t hire someone to run it, I can’t NOT run it… I have the healthy body and mind to do it, and therefore, I, alone, must do it. So, I do it.

 

Man with the neon green shorts next to me is my new friend, Theo. Fun story of Theo...

Man with the neon green shorts next to me is my new friend, Theo. Fun story of Theo…we met in Central Park when we were running the same pace around the loop two weeks ago (he thinks I am hitting on him, most likely) and I ran 13 miles with him. I asked him for his email but he must have thought I wanted to date him (he is married, WELL HELLO, I AM MARRIED too!), so he ran off. Earlier in the run, Ken called me to say that he was joining me for 5 miles of the run, which I was excited about but had to tell him on the phone that I was running with a new friend and that he was awesome. Fast forward to yesterday, when I ran into him again on the 18 mile race! We ran 17 miles together. He is a super nice guy, from Greece, married, math / oil / finance job, and my new buddy (he gave me his email address). I now have the privilege of emailing him so we can prepare for our October marathon!

 

It is true that training for a marathon is hard work — you have to commit to months of training and scheduling, preparing and recovering, and thinking and fretting….a lot of work for a single day of running. But to me, it is more than the marathon itself, but the journey and path that leads me to that special day. I love pounding the pavement, breathing the fresh air, soaking up my surroundings, meeting new friends, and doing what I set my mind out to do.

 

Now I TOTALLY look crazy. But this was me with 2 miles left yesterday and I wanted to give my kids lots of hugs and kisses (but didn't want to stop. God no, that would slow down my time!!!)

Now I TOTALLY look crazy. But this was me with 2 miles left yesterday and I wanted to give my kids lots of hugs and kisses (but didn’t want to stop. God no, that would slow down my time!!!). Notice my Paris Marathon pride and of course, my beloved Ducks.

 

This past Sunday, I ran an 18 mile race in Central Park. The energy was palpable, electric, and buzzing. People were nervous, excited, pumped. I couldn’t sleep the night before, and I questioned why I was doing it. Instead of saying “I have to run” it is more that “I choose to run.” I don’t need to run 18 miles” in preparation for a marathon, but “I get to run” the mileage. It is shifting my frame of mind around it — it is a privilege, an opportunity, a blessing.

 

Central Park 18 mile tune up route. Three loops of the park! Three loops of the ups and downs of the g$d da*$%it hills.

Central Park 18 mile tune up route. Three loops of the park! Three loops of the ups and downs of the g$d da*$%it hills.

 

This past April, post-Paris-marathon, I told my friends and family that I was not going to run until Boston in 2016, but weeks later, I changed my mind and signed up for the Chicago Marathon. So here we are, less than 3 weeks away. I am so excited! I have no pressure on myself but acknowledge the hard work I put into my running over the summer and this Fall. And even better, I am staying at my Paris Marathon friend Michelle’s place (we met while we were running in Paris)! See how great the running community is! I can’t believe it! I am nervous but oh so happy!

 

Running does not give you a smaller tush.

Running does not give you a smaller tush. Helloooooo Polish tush!

 

So, this is a long winded way to say that running makes me happy. I don’t win races, I am not Super Woman, but I have found something that makes me a better mother, and a happier person. What makes you happy?

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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11 Comments

  1. Good luck on your next adventure. I used to be into running as well, but doing marathons was very time consuming and I discovered I enjoyed doing other things more (hiking, walking around town, and bike riding). Anyway, getting out in the great outdoors does lift a person’s mood and so that makes for a happy home.
    ENJOY

  2. Running is the best! I just finished c25k last week; my starting point for my sore post-chemo muscles in my knees. At 49 it’s going to take me a year, but I will get back out to 5k’s soon and hopefully more! When I’m running and I hit my stride, there’s no better feeling of strength and I smile big and broadly! I love that runner’s high and the way my body feels after. Nothing matches it, I get it!

  3. Playing trivia is my running. Except I drink beer during mine. So a little bit less healthy.

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