My marathon training team head coach sent us out an email this week, asking us to really think about why we run, and hold onto it, because that is what's going to get you to the marathon.
So why do I run? And why did I decide to run a marathon?
I started running about 8 months ago, as a way to stay healthy. I needed some way of staying active, and I had friends who ran, so I thought why not? Then it became a social thing, I knew every Monday I could hear about my friend's dating lives, we could catch up and just have fun together. Then my friend talked me into training for a 10k race, then a different friend talked me into the marathon.
But somewhere along the way I realized that running has given me back a part of my life that had been missing for some time. I loved doing sports in high school. Swim team, gymnastics, cheering and running. I ran cross country and track and field. In all of these sports, you are competing against yourself, and by doing this you improve yourself. If you fall off the beam or swim a little slower you have no one to blame but yourself. But if you nail your landing and perform your routine perfectly you know it was all the hard work you put in, not just an inferior opponent. Running is the same way. A coach said your biggest obstacle in getting to the marathon is yourself, and it's so true.
I also love setting goals for myself. When I started training for a 10k, I honestly doubted myself. I remember thinking, I'm not going to make it to 6 miles by April. Then in early February I ran my first 10k. I was so proud of myself, the feeling of accomplishment on that day made me realize that I could do this and I was hooked.
Running is not always fun, it's not always pleasurable. But the finish always is. Whether it's just after a training run on a hot day, or like today, when I reached a new distance, 7 miles, that feeling of getting closer to your goal, or having just reached your goal, words can't describe it.
So, I run for the challenge. I run to reach a new goal. I run because I want to do something extraordinary. I run because something inside me loves it.