For The Love of Running

I've experienced life-changing, senseless tragedies beginning at the young age of 14. I thought I'd become immune to feeling such devastation again. But then Newtown happened last Winter and it affected me more than I expected. I didn't think anything could make me feel so troubled or saddened as that, but what happened in Boston this week did. I have never had aspirations to run Boston. I would need to be an 80-year old male to qualify for it. But since I have taken up this running thing I have enjoyed watching the broadcast of it each Spring, and have been so happy and in awe of friends who have run it.

This past Monday was no different. I watched the Internet stream of the pro race "with" my cousin. She being a marathoner in New York, and I being at home in the Bay. We instant messaged with each other throughout the race commiserating on the DNA we were dealt (just kidding family...).

After the winners crossed the Finish Line we went back to work. As I was making my lunch my cousin pinged me to tell me about the bombing. I ran to my TV to turn on CNN and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was in shock! Then as the details emerged I couldn't stop crying.

I still tear up just thinking about it.

Tragedies like this really make you think about your own mortality and examine the current state of your life. It gives you perspective of what is important, and what just isn't.

In my last post I wrote about rediscovering gratitude on my long run. What I didn't elaborate on was how I have been struggling so much with running. Going into the second, and sometimes third hours of my long, lone runs I wondered why I run.

...I wondered why I put myself through such grueling workouts week after week.

...I wondered if I still loved it.

...I wondered if every walk break I took made me less of a runner.

...I wondered if it was time to find another hobby.

But then Monday happened. And over the course of the past four days I have grown to rediscover my love for running.

I made a list of just a few of the things that I love about running...

+ the discipline and structure of being on a training plan + the feeling of accomplishment after a tough workout + the cute running clothes (total disclosure here...) + the excitement I feel whenever I get a new pair of running shoes (serious high over here) + being able to say "I did it" to those who doubted that I could + the selfless people I've met and the life-long friendships I've made through running + a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people of all capabilities

Next Thursday, April 25th will mark my three-year marathon-versary, aka the day I shocked the hell out of my body.

{To illustrate how excited I was about it, here's my 5-part race recap - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5...talk about overkill.}

I recently pulled out the various training logs I've kept over the years. My intent was to look over data but instead what I recalled as I read through my spreadsheets were the feelings of excitement and nervousness with anticipation of almost every long weekend run leading up to that first marathon.

I had forgotten what that felt like.

A few weeks ago I told a friend I was heading out for a run and she said, "You're sooo lucky!" I didn't tell her this but those words struck a chord with me because I hadn't felt that way in a long time. I had reached a place where I had lost almost all enthusiasm for running, to the point where I dreaded going for a run.

But ironically, this week those enthusiastic feelings have started to come back. I've pushed myself a little harder during my workouts and felt giddy with excitement for each of the three runs I've gone on since Monday.

Running to the sun
Running to the sun
Wearing the race shirt of my favorite marathon that I've run (so far!).
Wearing the race shirt of my favorite marathon that I've run (so far!).
Renewing my love for running around my neighborhood
Renewing my love for running around my neighborhood

I'm sure it was not the perpetrators intentions to inspire and renew, but that's exactly what their heinous actions have done. It caused an outburst of love and support for and from the running community and it has renewed my love for running.

Credit: Viral postings on Facebook
Credit: Viral postings on Facebook