The ever-relevant question. One that I’m often asked, but always struggle to answer. The question that grazes the ears of most runners just as much as the dreaded phrase “plantar fasciitis”.
Why do you run?
The short answer to this question, is that there is no short answer. Which makes it a perfectly fair question for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy running to ask of someone who spends their free time mapping out routes for upcoming long runs.
The beautiful thing about running is that every runner will answer this question differently. But for those of you who have asked me and received my usual half-hearted and deflected response, here’s your answer:
I run because…
1. It makes me strong
Yes, I’m absolutely going to binge on mimosas and my favorite eggs benedict in town after finishing my Saturday long run, but in general, running keeps me in line and keeps me focused on my health. It forces me to treat my body as a sanctuary, as much as any mid-twenties gal sanely can.
But running is actually much more to me than just physical fitness. Running also makes me strong mentally. I love running with company (just ask my roommate how often I beg her to join me), but running also provides me with the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. It gives me time, to reflect, meditate, and relax. Yes, my knees hurt and my muscles ache. And yes, I’m hungry because I didn’t eat breakfast. But I’m doing it to make myself stronger. And I live for these moments away from everything else, when my beat-up running shoes are all I really need.
It doesn’t stop there. The mental benefits of running extend beyond just its momentary therapeutic effects, and a few good runs actually will make my week better. It’s simple really — when I run, I feel good. I’m already a pretty positive and happy person, but the ongoing endorphins I get from running can’t be denied. Running makes me happy, keeps my mind sharp, tests my patience, and feeds my aspiration.
2. I’ll never be the best
I’m an ambitious and driven individual, but not inherently competitive. That’s what originally got me into running — no one gets cut from the cross country team 🙂 But as time has passed, I realize more and more that I actually enjoy being average. As a runner, I’m able to set my own limits, and push myself past them. I’ll never be an olympic class runner, but I just may run a sub 6 mile one day. All I have to do is keep pushing myself and keep achieving. There is no luck involved in finishing a marathon, and as runners, this defines us.
3. I can get places faster
I’m not kidding. If I could wear my running shoes and spandex out to bars, I would. Problem is, that’s only acceptable in San Francisco about 90% of the time.
4. It’s cheap
Ok I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for unnecessarily overpriced spandex and fresh new running shoes. That isn’t going to change. But as far as hobbies go, running isn’t going to break the bank. And so what if I splurge every once in a while on some cute new Lulus that will make my ass look good prancing around SF? It’s in the name of fitness!
Is an explanation really necessary for this one?
6. I’m crazy
But actually. Or at least according to non-runners. Apparently waking up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning to run 18 miles qualifies me as crazy. Whatever it is, I embrace it. Crazy is sexy.
7. It takes me to beautiful places
In 2 weeks, I’ll embark to Oakland. And then to Oslo, Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Prague. I’m going to be running in foreign places. I’m going to be eating awesome food. I’m going to be spending time exploring solo, and also spending time with my mother who loves me, and roommate who uses my running as an excuse to travel. And I’ll be posting. This trip is going to be a good one, and I want to share it with you. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Oslo, so keep an eye out for my posts. Peace out, San Francisco!