I've had several people say to me recently, "Wow, you're really into this running thing huh?" or something like that. And instead of having a negative or defensive reaction, I get to have a positive one. "Yes, I am. I love it. It makes me feel good, it..." Wait, there I go getting ahead of myself again.
So it kind of got me thinking and doing a little introspection. Why do I like running so much?
Initially I got into running as a budget friendly way to try to get over my
Spending money on myself is tough and finding time and money to pay for a gym is hard, so I tried running. The day after my first run, my abs first so nice (under my shirt of course). Tight and lean. I felt great. I kept getting similar returns. I started getting over my weight loss plateau and started trimming up - more in inches off than pounds, but it was started to pay off.
The other thing I found when I ran was that it helped clear my mind. For that momentary time I could forget all the work, life, and other things on my mind and look ahead and set mini goals. Remember, I like giving myself little gold stars, even imaginary ones are okay. Run to that rock Amber. Yay, you did it. Gold star.
So feeling better about my body, having less stress. I was feeling good. Others who know me well were noticing. People were asking me what I was doing, telling me I looked great. You know what? It was true. I felt great, I looked great. Hearing it from someone else though - that gives you wings and makes you soar.
One of my favorite reasons for running is control. If you know me, I'm sort of a control freak. Not over the top, but I do like my things in order and in control. For a while I felt like several things in my life I couldn't control. Work was crazy (In a good way of course, but the unknown kind of intimidates me so it was scary for me for a while), life felt like it was in a strange place, and well for those of you with kids - despite thinking pre-kids you can control them I was quickly realizing that no, I cannot. I can try - in vain - and get stressed about it. Which was what I was doing for a while. Running helped de-stress me enough that I was a better mommy when I was around verses being stressed all the time.
Finally, and most recently probably the most important reason I run is the sense of community. I've played other sports and they can be competitive and occasionally you have a support system. But runners, runners are just plain awesome. People who race and are at the top of their game - running the Boston marathon - happy to run with you and celebrate your seemingly small accomplishments.
I ran the last mile of a really tough run of mine with my boss (we met up on a path) and despite him being a serious sub-6 minute mile Boston marathon runner, he ran the last mile with me encouraging the whole way. I have another coworker who is a marathoner who I ask all of my "silly running questions" to. I emailed her the other day about finally hitting my 4 mile mark (separate post coming...but yay!) and she immediately emailed me back truly excited for me with lots of encouragement. Another coworker ran one of my early unofficial 5Ks with me. Fast for me, slow for him. But still, encouraging, complimentary. Every runner I've met is happy to encourage others and run at whatever pace - just to be running and helping someone else. They may go run more afterwards, but they still run with you, smile on their face. Its really great - especially in your early days when you lack confidence and/or have lots of questions.
(This is one of my favorite news articles of the year in general - the fact that its running related makes it that much more awesome)
After reading this fantastic article, "Sole Sisters" in Real Simple Magazine, I started a local running club near me. Up to five runners. We've done three runs together I think. I also just as of this week signed up to be a Moms Run This Town Group Leader after reading about the group on one of my favorite blogs - Auto Pilot Legs. I'm excited to share the support and encouragement. I'd love for everyone to start running - and I'm happy to go with you - as long as I can keep up.
If you want to check out my group, you can find it here.
Because of all those reasons - running is fun for me.
So that's why I run.