Why do you run?

Running isn’t just about putting one foot in front of the other, it means so much more! Training and racing has helped to heal my relationship with food and put me on a path of recovery from my eating disorder (My Running Story). Which got me thinking, why do others run?  So I tossed the question out to fellow Oiselle VoleeRun Gum Squad, & NFP Explorer runners. Here are their amazing and inspiring stories…

Kate ~ I was nerdy. Nerdy like glasses + braces + a self described “boy hair cut” in second grade. I wasn’t particularly sporty, but I played soccer. At the start (and end) of soccer practice, we needed to run to the fence and back and whomever came in first or second didn’t have to run at the end of practice. Damn it was fun to be first or second and walk home with my NKOTB water bottle while everyone else was running. In high school, running gave me a team, post-college, it gave me a goal, and post-divorce it gave me an outlet. Running now gives me a community!
Kelly ~ I started running to cope with having my world utterly turned upside down. Six months before my wedding to my high school sweetheart, after we’d attended and graduated from college together and moved to a new city in a new state for grad school, he decided to call the whole thing off. Running helped me thrive. It gave me a sense of control when I needed it (sometimes, too much control) and it was a steady friend. I achieved in race after race, running farther and faster than before. Then I got hurt and I couldn’t run for a long time. Even then, running taught me to be more patient, to respect my body, to strive for good health and to be a more whole person. Today, running is my excuse to get outside, to notice changes in seasons and the migrations of animals, the cycles of plant life. It’s an outlet for stress, a celebration of excitement. It’s my own time, to think, to plan, to learn about the world (thanks to podcasts). It’s something I get to share with others. It’s freedom and purpose and health and connection like I don’t find anywhere else. And, it’s an excuse to travel and see new things and explore new places.

Jenny  ~ To prove to myself that I can and that I can keep getting better, faster and stronger!
Blake ~  Running really lets me slow down my brain and be present in the moment. I think for me it can become a moving meditation. That is only one small part. I love the feeling of pushing myself. It is a great teacher for other parts of my life. Set goals, put the work in, know that things don’t happen overnight. This sport just gives back more than I can give to it.

Janell  ~ When I run, little matters except putting one foot in front of the other. I feel like I can solve all the worlds’ problems and am at peace. My body is constantly at war with itself and it takes a mental toll. I’ve battled a series of chronic, painful diseases since 2000. I started running in 2011 and have kept it up, even with 5 surgeries in the last 2.5 years. In fact, I ran 4 marathons in 2017. Some days, I don’t function—but on the days that I do, I run to prove that my body can do amazing things, despite its disease.

Alyssa  ~ For me, running is MY thing. I find that as I get older, I have a lot less control over things or at least complete control. Work, community, relationships, etc all have someone else influencing the outcome. Whereas running is me and the elements. My success or failure is on me. I have really latched on to that feeling that this is my thing. It’s my time to myself to reflect, understand my body a bit more, enjoy nature and fresh air.

Jen ~ I started running as conditioning for my sport, gymnastics, and then I got into track… but jumping events and hurdles only. In grad school I decided I was going to run for an hour straight. It just about killed me. As and ‘adult’ I’ve run because it comes after the bike (#triathlete). But in just the past year I have really started to appreciate the simplicity of running. The solitude. The meditation. The time spent with my best girl .
Running is different for me depending on the day. Some days it is escape. Some days it is competition. Some days it is life.

Kelly ~ Running brings me peace in stability in a world that is not.  Running reminds me that I’m capable of being present and calm.

Lauren ~ I was a 3 sports athlete at a D3 college, those three sports (field hockey, basketball and softball) were my life. As I used up my my years of eligibility and graduated with a handful of degrees, I found myself without the competition that these sports gave me. I ran a 5k with some of my teammates a few months after graduation and holy competition! It was back! With myself and everyone else around me. Finding running gave me an excuse to train and keep my athlete mentality. I run because pushing myself is the only thing that keeps me sane, the only thing that makes me still feel like an athlete.
Mark ~ My running “why” is to prove to myself what I’m capable of and show that I’m not what I had to overcome in my 20s; I am not others doubts and insults, I am not a fuck-up, and I am not useless. I am me, and that feels pretty awesome.

Carrie ~ I ran in middle-high school but it never really ‘clicked’ for me. Then I re-discovered running when I met my now husband as a way to spend more time together, be alone but together in the quiet of nature, and have fun with the running community at events and races. But after I got pregnant and had a daughter…running became my meditation. A place to push myself and test my limits. A way to have my time and think. But it’s also a time to run with friends, to vent and laugh and sometimes cry. To celebrate other people’s triumphs as well as my own. Running is just an awesome feeling and I wish everyone had a chance to experience it.

Karissa ~ Fitness and camaraderie. Being an active part of my well-being and the well-being of others.
Nicki ~ I ran in high school pretty successfully as a freshman/sophomore and quit. I ran in college pretty successfully and once again, quit. I had an up and down, love/hate relationship with running because of outside pressure, bad role models and a slew of teammates who could make you feel like a complete outsider. I gave up running until I started teaching. I gained weight and wanted to lose it so I ran again. I started coaching as a way to help young athletes avoid what I went through and to demonstrate a healthy relationship with running I’ve kept at it. Now it’s a way for me to unwind, challenge myself to new limits and build relationships with my students/athletes.

Beth ~ I run for the runner’s high. I run because my feet over the earth brings me in tune with my animal self: the knowing that as humans we’re all just super smart mammals with all the same needs and drives as all the other animals. This feels real and true and inevitable. I run because the first mile is such a slow plod and that second mile I think I should quit but that third mile I find my groove and in mile four I want to push and go faster and feel the power and joy in that movement. I run because part of every run feels hard. When that happens, I start a prayer: “May all beings be well. May all beings receive love, support, and care. May all beings know joy.” I pray for friends and family. I rarely pray except for that time on the run.These are the things I experience just with running, not with walking or hiking or biking or swimming or even dancing. I love those other things, too, for different reasons.


Aysha ~ I run because I love it. I run because there is no other feeling quite like outracing the boys as you get better. I run because I can’t actually do anything else – I can’t catch, I can’t throw, I can’t kick, I can’t hit things with bats or golf clubs or hockey sticks, I definitely can’t swim (learning is on the menu), biking outdoors terrifies me (I failed gym, pretty much). I run because I wasn’t good enough & quit trying in college (really Aysha, you couldn’t just have pushed for a red shirt for missing the mile cut by 3 seconds indoors with no competition?!) and now it’s all about chasing PRs & #NeverGiveUp. I run because my coach used to tell me the others were faster than me & there’s no way you’ll beat her & reverse psychology FTW that senior XC season, kicking ass and taking names.  I run to prove that my bones are not ugly, but strong in their beauty. I run because I love that final death trap at the end of a goal race where you give it everything you’ve got, even if you can’t pass that girl in front of you, and die at the end, because that feeling is the best. I run for the freedom it gave me from a culture that kept telling me girls don’t do these things. I run to be the most authentic me & best version of me that I can be. And that me has always been & will always be pretty damned good enough.

Carolyn ~ To push myself to my limits and be the best me that I can be! And for the community.
Billy ~ I used to run for health, then I ran for therapy, now I run to celebrate life. Our time to enjoy this hobby is limited so I do my best to make the most of it!

Nancy ~ I grew up with parents and siblings who ran and I suppose I started running because I wanted them to be proud of me. As a teenager, I lived with depression and disordered eating and running became a positive outlet, my way to escape the pain and feel strong. As an adult I started to challenge myself to run farther and farther and grew to love the long runs when you begin to feel so tired but your legs just keep moving. As a mom, I have grown a deeper appreciation of running as it has now become my time for myself, to just be in the moment, be in control. When running, I know that I’m doing something good and all the chaos in my mind calms down. Running has always brought me peace.
Diane ~ To stay as healthy as possible as long as possible. To set an example for my daughter, nieces, nephews, and even my students. Enjoying time with similar-minded friends. Enjoying being outside!

Kelly G. ~ Fitness and connection, with others and myself.
Thank you to all the runners who shared their heartfelt stories. I laughed, cried, and most importantly I felt empowered to keep dreaming big and grinding hard.  It takes a village to raise a runner, I am proud and humbled to be part of this amazing community.

#BeHappy #BeKind #BeActive


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