Last Saturday night, I laced up my sneakers to go meet my friend, Sara, for a run. As I kissed the girls goodnight, my oldest daughter said, “You’ve been running all the time lately, Mama. Why are you always running?” I was already five minutes late, as I am always running five minutes late these days, so I gave her the short answer: “Because Mama is running a race in the fall, so she has to get ready for it.”
That’s a small part of it. The part that keeps me motivated to hit the treadmill at 7:30pm after a long day and a sleepless night, certainly. Side note- when people hear me say that little dude is a good baby, they automatically assume this means he is sleeping through the night. He is not.
Races are great at keeping you accountable. You have to respect the distance, as Chick Vic says, and that means logging those miles each week. But beyond that, why do I run?
I started running regularly because I like dessert and I like wine. Seriously. I’d run off and on since high school, and somewhat regularly after the birth of my first daughter (because the only time she would nap was in the jogging stroller), but once I stopped nursing my second and started gaining weight, I had to do something. I knew I enjoyed running, and you don’t have to join a gym, or buy any equipment*, or have any experience with it. You just lace up your sneakers and go. (*Note to my husband- I really need all that stuff from lululemon though.)
Once I decided to tackle a half-marathon, running became something more for me. I loved watching my pace improve. I craved the solitude on a long run. I liked challenging myself to be better, faster, to run longer. It’s awesome to see what your body and mind are capable of when you train for a race. And crossing the finish line at my first half-marathon was exhilarating. It took less than 24 hours for me to sign up for a second.
Taking a break to have a baby was hard. I was riding high after my first under-two-hours half, and thinking that it would be the perfect time to train for a marathon, if I wanted to run that distance (something I’m still not sure I want to do). But, my husband and I had planned to try to expand our family at that time, and I knew that there would be other races (and hopefully more PRs).
It wasn’t easy watching others race while my belly grew and my fitness shrunk. Even now, it’s difficult to see my pace and mileage. I’m improving, but I’m nowhere close to where I was. (I know, I know, I had a baby. He brings me so much joy, every day. All of my kids do. I just have a lot of feelings.)
Still, I run. I’m lucky to have wonderful friends who also run. And a husband who will watch the kids so I can go to the gym. I can’t wait until we can put little dude in the baby jogger and all run together.
I have goals to reach. Sara and I talked last week about our training plans for this fall and while I don’t think I’ll be setting any personal records this year, there’s always next year. And the year after that. The great thing about running, is there’s always another race to run. And hopefully some cool people to run with you.
Today is National Running Day! Why do you run? If you aren’t a runner, today is a great day to start!