Running: An Integral Part of My Life

The folks over at #RunChat@iRunnerBlog and @RunningBecause – asked the community why we love running. Everyone has their reasons.

Here is my story.

It started from a challenge from my much more athletic brother and an insult hurled at me in the city park. It started from a desire to change myself.

It’s become something much more significant: a significant part of my livelihood, the friends I spend time with and so forth.

That “it” is my love of running.

I’ve always prided myself in constantly challenging myself and pushing myself in school, in career and even in sport. But after university, I was in the trenches, working ridiculous hours and no longer taking care of myself as I entered what would be a drudgery of endless work and night school shifts. I’m STILL in that massive hole and I’ll be there for another year and 3 months.

But it was in 2009, I saw the lack of energy and the lack of morale in me when I realised I couldn’t run even a city block. I started small. I decided I’d run a 5k as my intial aim was to lose weight.

Then I was invited by another friend I ran into to a group run. How in the hell was I going to keep up with the group?

And that’s when things really took off and running became more than just a temporary weight-loss solution.

I love running because I get to challenge myself in ways that are appropriate for my body. Although it’s easier said than done, to prevent injury, I run my own race, and set my own sustainable goals.

I love running because it brings me peace of mind when other things or people fail to do so. For the time that I train, all the problems I have in life – much of it family-related and the stresses of school – it just goes away when I run. I dream of what is to come, a quiet meditation, be it on the treadmill or letting part of my mind wander as I jog on the common roads (the other being aware of my surroundings of course!). No my life isn’t a fairy tale, but running also reminds me that I’m not alone in my struggles.

I love running because I have met like-minded people with similar fitness and lifestyle goals, not just with running but with life as well. There are people who look at my life and think I’m crazy. But there are people who look at me and understand and give me support when a lot of people are giving me flak. It goes from my longtime runner and colleague Sergio to the Tweeps I’ve come to know over the past 3 years of being involved with the running community. It means a lot after years of rejection from people of all walks of life, making me wonder where I’d find my place.

I love running because it has taken me places and it will continue to take me places near and far. I’ve never been to Virginia Beach prior to the Shamrock Marathon for one. You couldn’t pay me to run through Mantua on a normal day in Philadelphia as it is such a bad neighbourhood, but it feels awesome when I do run through it during the Philly Half. Future races include Miami, Chicago, and hopefully someday a race in Berlin or London. As someone who values travel greatly, this is priceless.

I love running because it also gives me a reason to go run in DC, my most favourite city to run in! (Though I’ve lived in Philly for many years, it doesn’t come close to DC!)

I love running because it reminds me of how far I’ve come and what I am capable when I put my mind to something. It has kept me in line with respect to diet and discipline both on and off the pavement. It has taught me the meaning of resilience on top of some of my life experiences. It has taught me the value of confidence and being assertive. It has also taught me the importance of giving back.

I love running because in the midst of a dreadful class schedule, the race dates give me something to look forward to and motivate me to push as hard through school as I do with my running. This semester I’m running the Nike Women’s Marathon in DC 28 April…and I’ve got to get through challenges in class as well if I’m to make it then!

Running has given me many opportunities, including career contacts even within the greater fitness community. And next week, I’m running a Valentine’s Day fun run with other local runners before a mixer with the runners. Who knows where it could take me next? It has changed my life for the better and has become an integral part of my life.

Here’s hoping my body keeps up well and for many more years to come with the awesome community that I’ve come to love.

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