Monday, October 22, 2012

Running is addictive

Two years ago, I started running. Not seriously, just to run a couple of 5K races in the spring and summer. I did not train, I just ran. This past year, however, I decide to take it a little further, I decided to train.

Was I always a runner? No. Did I love running? No. Seriously, who actually loves running? Nobody I know.

Running, in my opinion, is not something you love, but something to which you become addicted.

How do you get addicted?

You get sucked in by the ‘me’ factor. The me time of training and racing. Whether you run in the morning or the evening after work, you throw on your favorite pair of running shoes, grab your iPod, or in my case, my Sony Wireless headphones that holds 4 GB of music and hit the road or treadmill. You do this all by yourself, for yourself. Me time!

During that training run, you focus on you, your breathing, your strides, and your music. With every step your mind clears of the day’s events and stress eeks out of your body little by little.

You don’t have to be the most fit person in the world to run. Heck, one of the benefits of running is that you gain a healthier body and mind.

You can wear whatever you want to run as long as you have a good pair of shoes and the right, moisture wicking socks. You can wear grubby T-shirts and cutoffs or sleek tights and colorful skin-fitting tops or anything in between. It just does not matter. What counts is comfort or silliness. (As evidenced by the photo of me in the Halfway to St. Paddy's Day 5K. Lovely kilt! Tell me that's not inspiring. HA!)

When you run a race, you’re not racing against anyone but yourself. Your goal isn’t to be the first person across the finish line, your goal is to beat your best time, to improve one race at a time.

It’s the races that keep you motivated to run more, better, faster. You against yourself, mother nature, and the flat or hilly course ahead of you.

It’s the spectators along the course that make you smile, laugh, and even run harder. Complete strangers cheering and shouting encouragement, clapping, clanging cow bells, and holding silly signs like “pain is temporary, bragging rights are forever” or “run now, beer later” will inspire you to new heights. When your feet hurt and you think you can’t take another step, other runners will egg you on, make you feel like you’re doing something special, and motivate you to jog that last little bit, to cross that finish line.

When you cross that finish line, it doesn’t matter whether you do it walking or jogging, sweat dripping down your face, bloody knees, or a grin so bright it could light up a midnight sky. All that matters is you did it! You accomplished something and you did it by yourself, for yourself. Sure you may hurt from head to heel, and you may lose a toenail or three, but who cares. You finished!

It’s addictive, that feeling of accomplishment, but it’s a good, healthy addiction. It’s physically and mentally good for you and all you can think about is that next race, that next rush of adrenalin and that next personal goal. Whether a 5K, a 10K, or a half marathon, etc., it all counts and it’s all worth the pain for the gain.

For those of you who think you have to love running. You don’t. Try it, try one race, and you will be addicted. Even if you can’t run it, walk it. It’s the same sense of accomplishment. Take it from me, a woman who can’t do a full out run, so I walk-run.

Here’s hoping you get addicted and I’ll see you on the road or at the next race. Happy addiction!


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