Happy Global Running day! I figured I would take this fantastic holiday that is dedicated to US- ALL of us that run (whether you walk, run, jog, spring, very occasionally take a few running steps a day) and list some of the most valuable lessons that running has taught me!
- It has increased my appreciation of the outdoors. I have always loved being outside (besides those few years in College where I tried to "fit-in" and claim that I "hated" camping/hiking/bugs etc. I think that there is almost nothing that comes close to the refreshing feeling you get when the weather is beautiful and temperatures are perfect. The air feels fantastic, you're able to explore nature when you run outside, and sometimes you can even enjoy the time outside with your furry friend!
- It has provided me an outlet to work through anything. I originally took up running to get into shape during college and really only ran on the treadmill (because I was convinced running outside was just too hard for me). I used running/working out (sometimes to an extreme at times through college) as a way to cope with my parents divorce, grandfathers attempted suicide, hardships with friends, dealing with homesickness, getting rejected from medical school, loneliness, heartbreak. BUT I also used it as a way to celebrate all the positives in my life: getting accepted to graduate school and the peace corps, securing my first 'real world' job, falling in love, making new friends, meeting a new goal in my personal life, finishing a great book, the first day of spring, Thanksgiving, etc. Running really has been there for me. It may not have solved all my problems or fixed anything, but it provided me a clear mind to think through things and oftentimes brought about a new perspective that I didn't see earlier. If there ever comes a day when I cannot run, I think I will still utilize walking/just being outdoors as a way to celebrate both the good and bad things in life.
- It has given me so much confidence. Do I need to be running all the time to have confidence? No. But has it helped rebuild my confidence after tough times? Absolutely. Even when I was injured with Achilles Tendinitis and in a boot for 3 weeks, I didn't lose my confidence completely (it was a little hurt because I was unable to run, but I utilized that to push me more once I became healthy and actually came out stronger on the other side) because I knew I was still considered a 'runner' even if I wasn't running right at this very small period in my life. I had such strong confidence in High School, then College and the few years post-college slightly damaged me. I never completely lost all confidence, but I did kind-of lose yourself. It's funny because many will exclaim that they 'found themselves' in College, but I found it did the complete opposite for me. I had a lot going on in my personal life and it destroyed me. It was until several years after graduating college that I found myself and my confidence again (although sometimes I will still go through shaky 'unknown' times). Running played a major role in that. Running my first marathon was a HUGE confidence booster, then running my second marathon and completing it (while not feeling completely destroyed) changed me. It was one of those pillar moments where I finally believed that I was actually a runner (sure my race times still weren't considered 'great' by any standard), but crossing that finish line twice was special. I was no longer ashamed to tell people that I ran or boast about my race times because you know what? Only 0.5% of Americans have run a marathon and I was one of that VERY small statistic (found here). It didn't even matter what my time was.
- It's helped me grow up and mature. There's nothing like an early morning run (or maybe late run for you night owls) and getting up early every morning forces you to grow up really quickly. You know what else makes you grow up? Those early Saturday or Sunday morning long runs. Going out drinking and partying before a long run the next morning for a half-marathon goal race does not mix well (trust me, I did it in college and definitely do NOT recommend). Running has forced me to become (and appreciate) the magical time of day that is the early AM. Even when I'm not planning to run, I love to get up early and just enjoy my cup of coffee on the deck. Especially when training for marathons, you have to become a good planner and mature quickly. There's no way you're able to fit in training runs and a full-time career (and/or other responsibilities) if you are scattered and not have a pretty set schedule (with some flexibility obviously).
There you have it! A few things that running has given me. I am continuing to grow, mature, learn more, and experience new places because of running. Now, go out for a run! Unless you're in the same boat as me and are tapering and today is a scheduled rest day- I'll be running with you in spirit!
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What are some lessons that running has brought to you or your loved one?
Are you running today?
Do you do anything special on Global Running Day?