We all know the questions and comments that we get on almost a daily basis that typically revolve around such themes as “you’ll mess up your knees” or “I don’t even drive that far”. Mostly I will brush these off, but occasionally I run across someone that is genuinely interested, typically because they are also interested in running. To these people, I try to explain that running is often deeply personal and that you could probably ask 100 runners the same question and not get the same answer. However, these instances do often cause me to reflect on my personal reasons for running.
- Peace and “Me Time”. While I do have my moments of social expression here and there, I am actually very much an introvert. If you have ever read “Quiet” by Susan Cain, you would know that social interactions and the constant hustle and bustle of today’s fast-paced life can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Running, especially on trails and away from the city, provides me an outlet to get in my own head, to unwind, and to embrace the quiet beauty around me. It is my natural medicine that never fails to recharge my batteries.
- Perspective. Trail running has changed me so much as a person, which is easy when running in the Wasatch Mountains. I embrace my beautiful surroundings. I am more aware of the natural beauty around me and have become more protective of it. My priorities in life have shifted so much (and continue to do so) since I started running. I value “things” less and “experiences” more in the grand scheme of things. I volunteer more. I stop and pick up trash when I see it on the ground. I care about the world that my children are going to inherit. Sure, I still love my toys and I don’t drive a hybrid (yet), but I also realize that things like my family, nature, memories, etc. are way more important and worth more than anything I could ever buy.
- Fitness. I would be remiss for leaving this out. In fact, this was the main reason that started it all. Running has helped me reach a level of fitness I never imagined before as a high school kid with asthma or a post-college overweight desk jockey. I love the doors that have been opened for me because I am healthy and fit. I can literally see the world around me from atop mountains and that is fantastic! I can be almost certain that when my kids get to high school, I will still be able to keep up with them. For me, this will always be a motivator.
So, in a nutshell, that’s why I run and why it was so easy for me to fall in love with it. While it is not the only part of my life or even the most important, it is very much a part of who I am…it is one of the pieces that make me whole. I understand that running is not for everyone, and that is ok. However, the next time you are reading one of my many Facebook posts or listening to me ramble on about my last run, just smile and remember that it is a huge part of what makes me me! 🙂