Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lace up

I love running. I usually run 12+ miles a week, indoor or out (depending on the weather; I'm a self-proclaimed weather wimp and won't run outside if it's too hot or too cold). My running shoes are well-worn and have seen many a dirt path, road, and sidewalk since I began running when I was about 15 years old. Now, 11 years (and countless shoes) later, I've continued to run - with a few brief breaks in between - and it's become more than a hobby, it's part of my life.

A friend at work asked me recently why I love running. It's a valid question, most of us have bitter memories of P.E. back in middle school and high school when we were forced to run The Mile. In my memories, The Mile was always run first thing in the morning when it was freezing cold. I clearly remember hating every moment as I plodded around the track, lungs heaving from the cold and from being out of shape. I didn't always love running. In fact, I started running to lose some of my baby fat at the beginning of high school. Running and I have had a love/hate relationship because I abused it at the beginning and made it into a forced chore rather than appreciating it for the freeing activity it is (but, more on that at another time). Now though, I can't see myself not running.

So why do I love something that others see as a punishment? I'll tell you.

1. To stay in shape. The most obvious reason I suppose. Who doesn't feel better about themselves when they're in shape?

2. I feel closer to God. I love being outside in nature, whether it's outside in my neighborhood or on a trail among the trees and water. I feel God in nature. The wind in my hair, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sun shining off of a lake - they all whisper His glory. And in those moments, I feel like I'm being allowed to witness part of Him.

3. Running makes me feel strong and healthy. I remember what it was like when I first started running. I was out of shape and wheezing by the end. Now when I finish a run, I feel a sense of accomplishment because I did something that I couldn't before.

4. I can think clearly. After running for so many years, it is more than just exercise.Running is a time to clear my mind and think things through. All the stress and noise of everyday life stops and I forget that I'm running and become lost in thought. Somehow, everything becomes simple and quiet and I can think straight again.

5. I know who I am. Many times in my life, I feel out of place. Like a little girl playing dress up, I feel like I'm acting out a part - a small child in a grown-up's shoes going through the motions of being an adult. When I run, I know who I am. I know my body and what it can take because I've done this so many times before. I'm confident and sure, I know my place in the world.

Do I always feel like running? No. Do I have bad days when I count down the minutes until the run is over? Yes.

But why should I let that stop me?


  1. Jen,
    You made me want to run, and I hate running! Hmmm, maybe it could happen? Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Awesome!! You definitely should, stick to it 2-3 times for at least a month (2 would be better, it starts getting easy then) and don't try to make yourself do too much too fast, then you'll get burned out. The goal is to enjoy the experience :)


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