Happy Global Running Day!
Over one million people from 185 countries have pledged to run today in celebration of Global Running Day. There is also a goal to have one million kids pledge to run as a way to make fitness fun for kids and to promote physical activity. If you have kiddos at home, make it a family affair today! 🙂
Last year I wrote a letter to running about our 15-year relationship and all of its ups and downs. This year I find myself sitting with an even deeper appreciation for running after how much it helped me move through my grief last fall. It was the strongest running season of my 16 year running career. I ran five races as part of my ambassadorship with the Charlotte Marathon that varied in distance from a 5K to 10K to 15K to half marathon. I also trained for my first marathon in six years, working up to 18 miles for the first time in a very long time. Although I ultimately never ended up running the marathon due to family obligations, the training and the long runs were exactly what I needed in that time of my life.
Today I wanted to share 10 of my favorite things about running to honor Global Running Day.
(Newton Fate IIs…my current shoe of choice.)
1) I can do it anywhere at anytime and all I need is a pair of shoes!
My favorite thing about running is how relatively easy it is. Sure, the actual running can be challenging but I LOVE that all you need is 30 minutes and a pair of shoes to get in a quick 3-miler. There’s no driving to the gym or signing up for a class ahead of time. You just decide to go and go!
(Sullie and me after a run circa 2012.)
2) It’s a fun way to exercise my pups.
One of my main motivations for originally getting a bigger dog was to have a running partner. Sullie was a wonderful running partner to me for many, many years. We ran lots of miles together. These days she much prefers walking but my Zoey girl is always up for a run. The only hard part is leaving Sullie behind…it breaks my heart!
3) It truly is “run-therapy.”
I’ve said this before but running is one of the most effective outlets for me when it comes to overwhelming emotions. Whether it’s sadness, anger, anxiety, confusion or whatever else, I ALWAYS find that I feel better after a run. I talk to my yoga students all the time about how much power moving your physical body has over the state of the emotional body. I can honestly say that finding a love for running and exercise all those years ago has been a godsend in giving me a positive way to deal with the tough times in life. Sometimes when I need “run therapy” I listen to loud music and run fast and hard. Sometimes I listen to uplifting/positive messaging from my favorite authors to fill my head with different thoughts. Sometimes I repeat a mantra. Sometimes I just let the tears run down my face and just focus on the breath and putting one foot in front of the other.
4) Run dates with friends.
9 times out of 10 I will choose to run solo but I have a few girlfriends that I absolutely love to run with. Sometimes our runs are just casual catch ups but I can’t tell you how many of them have morphed into really deep conversations. There’s just something about running that helps you open up and connect to how you’re feeling.
(Running in Central Park.)
5) Running is a great way to explore new places when traveling.
I always pack my running shoes when I travel because going back to my #1 love for running, it’s easy to do anywhere, but it’s also a great way to site see.
6) I love the way I feel after a run.
I can’t say that I always love every second while I’m on the run but that feeling after is so good. The runners high is real! I especially love how I feel after long runs. My favorite post-run ritual is a hot shower and healthy food.
(The starting line of the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon)
7) The energy of race day.
I love the buzz of race day and I think it’s incredible how running feels so much easier when you’re racing (most of the time!) than it does on daily training runs. I think it’s so cool to see so many people come together to share something that is so positive and healthy. I almost always feel so emotional (in a good way!) at the start of races.
8) The running community is so awesome and inclusive.
In my years of running various races, visiting running stores, participating in run groups and being out on the road, I have found runners to be the nicest and most genuine people. The community feels SO inclusive no matter your pace, age or body type.
9) Crossing the finish line.
I don’t race a ton but I love the journey of races on both a physical and emotional level. I love the tough miles just as much as the easy miles and there is nothing like getting to that last quarter mile and seeing the finish line ahead. The sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing it never gets old, especially when it comes to longer distances for me.
10) The lessons it’s taught me about strength and perseverance as well as being humble and checking my ego.
Gosh, running has just taught me so much about myself and my body. Running in my 20s was so different than running in my 30s. In my 20s I put all of these expectations on my body and blamed running when things went wrong. In my 30s I’ve come to understand how I’m responsible for taking care of my body in order to run the way that I want to. I can honestly say that running has never come “easy” to me. I’ve had to work extremely hard to be able to run faster and longer but the work has been worth it, especially when it came to learning how to wave the white flag and admit that the way I was doing it wasn’t working and to be personally accountable for fixing it. I’ve navigated my way through everything from achilles tendonitis to hip pain to anemia to a hamstring pull and more but I have arrived on the other side stronger and much more aware of my body.
Cheers to another 16 years! I am certainly hopeful that running is something that I can take with me long into life, especially if I continue the practice of listening to and taking care of my body. I am certainly encouraged by fellow Charlottean Harriette Thompson who just set the half marathon record at Rock n’ Roll San Diego last Sunday by crossing the finish line at 94 years old. INCREDIBLE!
What is your favorite thing about running?
Are you celebrating Global Running Day?