“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile
People ask me all the time what motivates me to train. There are so many reasons… to be a good role model for my kids, to be a healthy person, to live a long life, to feel strong, to compete. All these reasons are there, but at the heart of it, the basic truth is just that I love to run. It’s that simple. Even on days when I think I don’t… the blistering heat of the summer when your skin itches with sweat the moment you step outside, the first frost, and the brutal high winds that tear at your pace and push at your back and legs, the hills that stand defiantly outside challenging me, and the aching sore muscles that sometime make it hard to walk, let alone extend a stride… even on these days there is no question. The answer is always there: Because I love it. Because without it I am not myself and it’s my escape into a place that is completely my own.
I am a single mother to two beautiful girls, I work a full-time job, travel fairly regularly, and coach soccer year-round. That takes a toll. Being accountable to so many things and so many people, juggling what feels like 100 balls every day is part of what drives me to be successful, but if not checked it can run me down. Running gives me a chance to be free of all of that even if for a short time. For those precious moments, I can escape to a place that is mine. I have had so many people tell me that they don’t have time to work out…I say you don’t have time NOT to work out. It’s something that affords you time to retreat, heal, reflect, recharge, and push your own limitations on your own terms without someone dictating them to you. There is no greater freedom than that and the human spirit craves that freedom.
“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” -Jesse Owens
I seek out new places to run, new sights, new places to just experience and enjoy how it feels. I push for performance, but there are times when no pace is relevant, no finish time or distance is important. It’s up to me, it’s my run and my path. The heat, the cold, the hills, the aches and pains… it’s all part of it. It’s all beautiful because it’s mine and I own it all, bring it all with me back into my life and I’m stronger for it.
Not everyone begins their journey loving the running. If you are at a place where you hate every step, you dread every moment in the heat or wind or rain, still give it everything you have because it isn’t about the run – it’s about you. Take ownership of your training, whatever it might be and let it be a place of refuge, a place to escape, a safe place to come to when you need reminding of what you are capable of doing. Get comfortable being alone in the training, not needing outside motivation or encouragement so you can find your place and your comfort level and your passion for what you do. Trust and believe in each step, find the joy in the movement, the beauty in the intention, and the grace in the commitment… there the love will be…