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!”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?