It’s no secret that running means something different to every person. Where it once meant pain, punishment and torture to me it now means something completely different. Even though it has only been a year since I started running, being a non-runner feels like a lifetime ago.
I started running simply as a way to lose weight faster. I set my New Year’s Resolution to complete one running event per month in order to keep myself motivated to run and stay active. I knew having a big goal that would be both obtainable and challenging was the key to sticking to it. I never imagined that I would not only grow to enjoy running, but that I would learn to love it and become addicted to it.
Even as I crossed the finish line of my first 5k race, I knew I’d continue running for at least another eleven months to meet my resolution, but I also knew that it was a moment in my life that I would never forget. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it sometimes. Something in me changed. Even though I’d always believed in myself and knew I was strong, it was as if I now knew I was capable of things that would astound even me.
My reasons for running have morphed throughout this past year. From being a means to weight loss, it changed into wanting to run a 5k race faster. I started to become focused on running faster so that I could run an “average” pace rather than a “slow jog” pace.
In June, I challenged myself to a longer distance. I did my first 10k distance and though I struggled, I knew I could do it. My reason for running was now to build endurance for longer distances. The thoughts of running faster weren’t nearly as strong.
By September, I started running to dispel a bad mood or feelings of restlessness. I ran to think where I wouldn’t be distracted. I ran to feel my body working. Thoughts of distance and time were no longer present, only the act of pounding the bad mood out of my body through my feet meeting the pavement was.
October rolled around and I started running weekly with a running group. Running suddenly became about socialization; it was no longer a solo endeavor. It’s currently December and I would rather run five miles with friends than one mile by myself now. I crave the company, whether we’re conversing or silent.
Along the way, I have been talked into registering for a half marathon, which brought distance and endurance back into my thoughts. Just last week, I was talked into registering for my second half marathon without even completing the first.
It’s now December and my reasons and motivations for running are focused on socialization, distance, endurance and feeling good. The whys behind my running may continue to change, but the fact that I run at all is the one important piece.
Running is such a personal thing, whether running solo or in a group. For me, running needs to be fun which is why I’ve come to the realization that I may never be a fast runner; mostly because I’m too lazy to put in the training required. If I were to focus on a specific training plan, I know I’d lose interest fast and start to view running as work and once that happens, I know I would quit.
Sure, I’ll log the miles required to train for a half marathon, but I’ll do it on my terms to ensure it remains fun. I plan on going at my own pace, chatting with friends and enjoying the scenery.
As engraved on my RoadID, “Enjoy the Journey!” and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.