Monday, March 11, 2013

Why I Run...

Last year (2012) I joined a gym after realizing I had put my health on the back-burner  I was not happy with myself or my body. With my membership I got a few free personal training sessions, I loved the sessions so much I decided to invest in bi-weekly sessions. After a few weeks, my personal trainer asked me what were my favorite ways to work out. I immediately said running and dancing. I let him know I did Zumba class every now and then to get my dance on, but that I didn't run anymore because of all of my former injury.

Running cross country and track from ages 12-18 did a number on my body. Shin splints are no joke. Senior year I decided I wasn't going to run but some peer pressure pushed me into joining cross country the second week of the season. I upped my mileage from 0 to 30+ in a week wearing old shoes. A few weeks later I had pretty bad shin splints. I ran through it a bit more, until I woke up one day and never felt worse pain in my life. I still remember crawling around for a few days since I couldn't walk. The X-rays didn't show stress fractures, but now that I am older and have a better understanding of my body I have absolutely no doubt that I had bilateral posterior stress fractures. I stopped running and every time I'd try and start up again, the pain would come back...

My trainer was blunt with me and asked why I didn't start running again? I realized I was using the memory of pain as a crutch. There was absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be running! At that time, I lived blocks away from the Mt Vernon Trail in Arlington, VA across from Washington, DC. It is a mixed-recreational trail that goes from downtown Arlington all the way out to George Washington's house in Mt Vernon. It follows the Potomac River and there you will see some of the most amazing views of the National Mall and all the monuments. After one run on that trail, I remembered why I loved running.

(image via:

So why do I love running? Running lets me relieve tension, emotion, and built up stress, it helps me to refocus and reenergize, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I reach mileage or time goals, I am the healthiest when I am actively running, it makes me feel calm, it boosts my confidence, and it makes me happy. It is one thing in my life that I do for me and me alone.

Runner's high is real. If you've experienced it you understand. On mile 7 of a run a few weeks ago, I started dancing to my music and was smiling like a crazy person. I forgot all about my ankle pain and how tired I was. I kept thinking to myself how much I loved life.

Unfortunately, my New Year's resolution didn't pan out. Between the stress of grad school and shin splints (yet again), I missed the half marathon I signed up for. I felt defeated. I don't like not following through, especially with personal goals. And then my life became so chaotic during the summer since I was packing up my life in DC and moving to Louisville, that I completely stopped running for a few months. It wasn't until August that I started back up again. Injury again plagued me (this time with my toes). I'm going to need surgery to correct the problem, but it isn't bad enough to stop me. My orthopedic surgeon said that I can keep on running and can schedule the surgery at my leisure. With proper toe protection, I can run without any problem.

So here we are in 2013. I have a new New Year's resolution to run my first half marathon. I will be running the Louisville Kentucky Derby Festival mini Marathon. The race is part of a week long festival leading up to the Kentucky Derby. The course will take us through Churchills Down (where the Derby takes place) where we will get to take a lap on the race track! Pretty darn cool. The marathon has three road races of varying length (5k, 10k, 10 miler) that lead up to it that I am also participating in, called the Louisville Triple Crown.

I'm running all four races with a close friend! We have been able to motivate each other throughout the training process. We run at very similar paces, so it is awesome to get that support and motivation! Be it finding the energy to get out of bed at 8am on a Saturday or coaxing the other to go running after a bad day. I don't think I could do it without her!

I may not be the fastest runner. I may not run the most miles weekly. Hell I may not even have the best running posture. But running is for me and it is part of who I am.

Do you run? Have you thought about starting? What is your favorite hobby or past-time?

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