I have been running for 10 years. 10 years is a long time to do anything. I have had many adventures, laughter, crying while running. Some years were more focused on speed, some were for enjoyment, some were for stress relief. The first few years were social, the last few I couldn’t care less if running was social or not.
I remember when I first started running, the motivation there was I hated sitting all day at work, it was a way to move my body and be social. I didn’t love it. The next year it was also social and way to exert my energy in a healthy way. It took a couple more years (alot warmer weather, and some good trails) for me to really enjoy it. I didn’t start to love running until I ran in places with good views, and a bit of nature. When I enjoyed it I was my fastest. When I did it for fun, and to get outside and have me time, was when I really excelled and I had my fastest half marathon time.
Gradually after running for a few years I really loved running, it was my space. The same with piano, I spent years before I really enjoyed playing. Now I can sit down and play the piano for my enjoyment, and hopefully the people that hear me play don’t mind it. After doing something for so many years you get know that hobby quite well. Its almost as if running is a person. You know them quite well, and they know you.
For a few years I used to run to clear my head, create a space in there for the information I needed to remember in college. It worked. That time I spent in nature cleared my head of all those thoughts and worries bouncing around, running organized those thoughts into neat little files.
When running was social, my running buddies and I were close, we talked alot running. I actually went running with someone new one time and they brought headphones and popped them in their ears the whole run. I didn’t anticipate this so I had to run that entire 6 miles with no music or someone to talked other than the thoughts inside my head. When I had running buddies who chatted the whole time with me, its amazing how fast 6 or 14 miles can go when you are chatting. You help others work through problems, or questions and they in return help you, essentially free counseling.
The first run after I had my baby, I would say I still had muscle memory, but I was seriously lacking the cardio, speed, agility, and recovery. My legs remembered what they were doing and my mind thought I go could go forever. But my body disagreed, it was tired, and was spending most of its energy doing other things. I had to take some time off of running, during this time I saw runners everywhere and wanted that breeze to go through my hair, sweat to drip down my face, my thoughts cleared, and enjoy that lovely sunny weather.
I think for me whats key to progress with running is not to pay attention to my time during training runs, or how fast I’m going. But to feel my body and maybe push it a little bit harder, enjoy a breath of fresh air and then I can do what my body is made to do.
Here’s to the next ten years of running, may it be enjoyable, may it be a breath of fresh air and some pretty sites, and may it be perfect stress reliever to clear my mind.