what am i running for?

When I first registered for this half marathon, I realized I’d made a major commitment.  I had a new goal, a new vision.  The training became serious.  When I was just learning to run, I was kind to myself.  I knew that it was going take time, patience, and perseverance.  I knew not to get discouraged.  As my distance slowly built, I set my sights on a series of 5km runs.  I discovered a few things.  I learned that I could run in almost any condition.  I ran in the heat, I ran in the rain, I ran in the dark, I ran in the snow.  Recently, I have even run with a cold.  Almost anything is possible!  But these were just 5kms.  If I missed a week of running due to a busy work week or fatigue, it wasn’t that big of a deal, I could just pick it up again the following week.

Now with this new deadline of June 7th marked on my calendar, I know the clock is ticking.  Finishing this distance of 21.1 km is my only option.  Each week, I try to add a few more kilometres to my long runs.  Some days, it’s not so bad, other days, it’s like pulling an anchor.  I often post my new mini milestones on my private facebook page.  I have a group of friends and fellow runners who are supporting me with words of encouragement.  I have another set of friends who send me text messages to check in on my progress.  Even my colleagues at work now regularly ask me, “How’s the running going??”

One day, I made a post about how much I still had to learn after trying to keep up with a group of seasoned runners in my weekly training clinic.  I was and am the slowest member of the group – it was and is quite a humbling experience.  One friend reminded me that it’s not about how fast or slow I go, it’s more about my reasons for running.  What is my purpose?  What am I running for??

I gave this some thought.  Of course, speed, pace and distance aren’t the be all and end all of this endeavour.  I’m simply trying to improve.  But when I really ask myself what I am running for, I realize I actually have an answer…

I am running because I know it is good for my physical well-being.  It keeps my slowing metabolism in check so that I can continue to eat what I like without much concern (although running has made me much more conscientious about how I fuel my body).  I run because it gives me something else to focus on besides work and the daily demands of life in general (ie. what house chore needs tackling next?).  It gets me outside.  I tend to be a curl-up-on-the-couch kinda girl, but I know how important that dose of fresh air is.  I run because it helps me clear my head and I have discovered that I can get some of my best problem-solving done while pounding the pavement.  I am running because I have a goal.  I am trying something new, something that scares me.  There are quotes and people out there that say, “Do something that scares you”.  Well, I am definitely doing that!!

This is why I made my goal public to my family, friends and colleagues.  It makes me accountable.  I started this.  Now I must finish, no matter what.  Everyone is watching and waiting to see how this will end.  Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am no athlete.  I was never on the sports teams.  My strengths lie more in the creative realm of life.  This is a personal goal.  I am doing this for me.  I am doing this for my health and because it’s something new.  Change is good.  Change brings growth.  I am learning and growing in an area that I never thought I would.

Why am I running?  Because I’m learning that I can…

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