I’m sure if you have read any running blogs, instagram, twitter, etc. you have heard by now that today is National Running Day! This holiday has put me in such a good mood today. I started out my day with 4 miles, followed by body pump and cx works classes.
I don’t think that people who don’t run can really understand my excitement for this holiday. It just makes me happy to know that this sport that I love is being recognized and shared in such a positive way.
The days leading up to National Running Day have lead me to reflect on why I run. There are a million reasons, so its hard to really pinpoint one. I started by thinking about why I started running.
It’s hard to remember an exact point when things changed from running because I “had to” to because I “wanted to”. Since the age of 5 I was active in dance and sports, and once I entered middle school I joined the field hockey team. This was probably my first taste of running and I felt like I had to do it if I wanted to be on the team. When I reached high school the running part of field hockey became more intense. We had to run a mile loop every day before practice even stared. During preseason we had to run 3 miles in under 24 minutes or we had to try again every day until we were successful. This was really challenging for most of us. The coaches let those of us who were not successful stop after 5 days of attempts, but I managed to do it on the second try. I remember my friend had a stop watch and she paced us around the track at an 8 min/mile pace. That was my first taste of how good it feels to achieve a running goal. (Even though I didn’t really know it at the time. Back then I was only focused at being good at field hockey).
As I continued through high school I began running “voluntarily” a little more. I joined the spring track team so I didn’t lose all my fitness when I wasn’t playing field hockey. I occasionally went running with friends over the summer to prepare for field hockey season. This was also the time when I began to be aware of my body image, so I occasionally ran to burn calories.
Then college came and for the first time I had access to a real gym. I went through phases where I would work out a few days a week but then I would get lazy and stop going to the gym for awhile. This continued through most of college until senior year.
When I was in my spring semester of junior year, I studied abroad in London. I was drinking heavy beer almost every day and eating terrible food. I knew that I was gaining weight and was not feeling good about myself, but I didn’t like alot of the food there and I wanted to make the most of my time there by traveling alot and going out all the time. When the weather got warm I would go for runs in Kensington Park occasionally, and I really enjoyed that. But it was not nearly enough to counteract all the eating and drinking I was doing.
I returned home and ran a little bit that summer, lost a few pounds but still wasn’t feeling great. I got to college my senior year and it was party time every day again. I remember the Monday after my 21st birthday I got motivated to make changes. I said to myself, “I am going to do some sort of workout every day”. Even though it’s said that this approach will set you up for failure, it worked for me. Even with a busy schedule I managed to carve out at least 20 minutes of my day to get moving. I began eating “better” (at the time I thought I was healthy, but now I know SO much more…”) It quickly became a routine and then I started giving myself a rest day every 1-2 weeks.
Even though I was still drinking quite often (and eating the occasional late-night pizza) I was able to lose enough weight to feel good about myself. I continued to exercise and watch what I ate after graduation and moving home. I realized that I liked many different types of exercise, and started taking some classes and lifting weights. In 2007 I was living in Baltimore and heard about the Baltimore Running Festival. I decided to sign up for the half marathon. I think that finishing that race was the point at which I considered myself a “runner”.
Since then there have been many ups and downs and too many injuries than I would like to admit. I have run 27 races from 5k to marathons. Some races were awesome and some made me want to swear off running forever. But running has been there for me on the best days and the worst days. And when I need some time away it is always waiting for me when I am ready to come back. Lately running has become something even more to me, as I have become a part of this amazing online running community and prepare to train to be a running coach. I have learned it should never be taken for granted and it is something I need to be a part of my life for many, many more years.
You can read more about my running story here.
Why do you run?
How are you celebrating today?
Also, if you have been thinking about running a Rock N Roll Race, check out the discounts they have going on today! (I signed up for the Rock n Roll USA half-marathon in March!)
Be sure to check out the National Running Day link up at Olivetorun.com!
Since I did 15k Sunday and was silly enough to do 10k Monday … My shins have been bothering me all of Tuesday so today instead of doing a training run I “took it easy” for national running day by spinning and lifting 😉 I still logged miles so it must count right?! Haha. Hope the rest of your National Running Day goes well!
Of course it counts! You don’t have to actually run to celebrate National Running Day…I think its more about showing appreciation for the sport in whatever way works best for you.
Happy National Running Day, my friend! I love your reason and it was so cool to learn more about YOU in this post! The Baltimore Half is so dear to my heart. <3 🙂 I'm so glad that we met through blogging and that you are local too! (And also that you are going to become a coach…I might need to talk to you about that.)
Thanks! The BRF will always be such a special race to me, too. Even though I didn’t grow up here I consider it my hometown race. I am so glad we met too…and that hopefully we will meet for real soon!
Megan (The Lyons' Share) says
I love hearing more about your story, Lisa! I think it’s so funny how so many of us thought of running as a “have to” thing and now consider it part of our sanity. And it seems like my “falling in love” with running was somewhat similar to yours … it wasn’t one day that I just started running and loved it and never looked back, but it grew over time.
OK, on a less sentimental note … I have to ask why your time is whited out in your picture? I wondered on Instagram too but held my tongue, and now I can’t 🙂
Haha its probably not a big deal, but I just thought about how if I’m always posting pictures of my watch its probably not good to show the exact times that I am always out running. Even though I leave at slightly different times every day I just thought for safety purposes it better not to have that. (Many of the other garmins dont show the start time on their summary- I wish mine didn’t!)
Isn’t it amazing how running used to feel like a chore and now we can’t live without it?:)
Raluca T says
Excellent point about safety with covering the time! That is why I never post maps of my runs… I live in an extremely safe area and I’ve never felt like I needed to protect myself from a specific threat or person, but it doesn’t hurt to keep any “dangerous strangers” guessing 🙂
Cori @ olivetorun.com says
Running was a “have to” for me in the beginning because of sports too. Thankfully it didn’t ruin me for good 😉
I’m excited you’re going to go into coaching- you’ll be great!
Thanks, Cori! Its so weird to remember how I used to not even like to run, and now I don’t like to go a day without it!
Glad to hear that you found running as a great motivator. I ran track in high school and never ran in college. I recently have been running marathons and love it! It is truly my “happy hour”
Isn’t it interesting how things can change? Glad you found something that makes you so happy!
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
Our stories are quite similar, in the active youth to chunkier than we would like to running for weight control to running just because. Like many of the best relationships, running doesn’t just occur to many of us (though it does, to be certain, for some). I hated running for the sake of running as a kid–I rode horses, and I liked sprints so that they would be over. Now I hate sprints, and love the long run. I think it has to do with my love of consistent rhythm, like from my horseback days.
It sounds like you can definitely relate to my running progression! But I used to hate sprints and now I don’t mind them so much:) Long runs are my favorite though. Its interesting how some things from our childhood carry over into our lives as adults!
Jim Connely says
For me I had to run for sports in high school in college. I tore my ACL and Achilles in the same leg and learned to run again. i raise money for charities and really enjoy it! Thanks for a great blog!
That’s great that you raise money for charities! Amazing story of coming back from such challenging injuries. Keep up the great work!
Cori @ She's Going the Distance says
love the post. I run because it clears my mind 🙂
Thanks! That is another reason why I love to run, too.