Tuesday, March 03, 2009

For the Love of Running

I am a runner. That statement has defined me for the past decade. Running has made me joyfully happy, and woefully upset. I have made some of my best friends through running. It has hurt me, but also made me healthy. To say that I have a love affair with running would be an understatement.

I started running the summer I turned fourteen, or the summer before my freshman year of high school. My childhood friend and I both joined the cross-country summer camp for one reason, to stay in shape for the swim team. We hated it. After each exhausting practice we would count how many days were left until we could quit. Besides, we were swimmers…not runners. That summer was sheer torture, but we made the best of it. We needed to cross-train? Then, we would ride our bikes down to Ruby's for a huge, calorie-packed cinnamon roll and washed it down with a milkshake. After, we would walk our bikes the two miles home. The last week before the official season started, the coach convinced us that we needed to stay part of the team – just for the cross-country season. We would be in great shape for swim season in the spring. That was the beginning of the end. After the first September race, I was hooked.

I ran through high school and college. I did marathons, half-marathons, track meets and road races. I did Tuesday/Thursday track workout and races on Saturdays. Nerves kept me up almost all Friday nights. I hated races. The fear, the deep-down-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach-nerves, the starting line all caused me LOTS of anxiety. But, I love the pureness of the sport. It’s just shoes and your physical and mental strength. I love the quietness of a crisp morning – when the streets are silent, the air is cool, and the only sound is my breath. Running gives me time to think, time to distress, time for just me. I like running with friends. It gives us a chance to talk about trivial matters or deeper dreams. I like running alone, give me a chance to visit with, well, frankly…me.

Lately, I’ve been in a funk about running. Not actually about the running, but having to go out running. Even with great running partners or a perfect play-list on my iPod, I have been dreading my run. Honestly, I think it’s because I’m out of running shape. This is where you come in, dear Internet. I want you to help me be accountable. I hope to post my trials and triumphs, so that I can remember my love of running.

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