Last Thursday I posted that I completed my last long run before the Chicago Rock & Roll Half Marathon. As usual, I received likes from friends, but my high school track coach commented and said "You amaze me.". I had to pause for a minute and reflect on that.
In high school, I played volleyball, I ran track and I was a cheerleader. If you had asked me my freshman year, I would said cheerleading meant the most to me By my senior year, volleyball meant the most. Track? It was just the thing I did in between. I was a fair runner. I ran middle distances, but I had no endurance...nor did I care to have any. I ran track because it was a social sport and I did fairly well for a small town Central Illinois athlete.
I tried my hand at running local races after high school, but I did not care about training plans and consistency. In one 5k, an 80 year old nun (at least she looked that old to me) beat me!
Fast forward to the true beginning of my adult running life. I was turning 40 and trying triathlon for the first time. I've always told everyone that I have exercise ADD. I get bored just running. Triathlon gave me the chance to mix it up and try three different sports.
After my first year of triathlon, I decided I wanted to train for a longer running distance. I was looking for a new challenge. I trained for my first half marathon, the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon in early May.
I quickly fell in love with running. Believe me, it still hurts. I still hate the first mile or two and there have been several runs where I have gotten one mile in and said ok that's all you are going to get today. I run because it is the only true ME time that I get. If I want to block out the world, I listen to a podcast. If I need to think about whatever is stressing me, I listen to music. It is my time to be alone with the world.
I didn't start racing in order to place in my age group. I am realistic enough to know I don't want to work THAT hard. I run because when I am done I feel like I accomplished my goal for my workout. I know that no matter what I am doing I am improving my health. I run for me. To make me happy and healthy.