Why do you run?

It's a question I get often. "Why do you run?". Most of the time followed up with "I hate running", "running is too hard", or my favorite, "running is bad for you".

Many people think I choose to run to "get in shape" or to simply get my daily exercise in. Those things follow. But it's not my "why".

I have trained for marathons, but because I love running. Not because it was a chore. I didn't just pick up running to accomplish a goal and then let the hobby rust in the corner. Running can potentially make you "lean out", but not always. In fact, running makes you so hungry, so unless you're fueling correctly, don't expect to be reducing calories or seek body composition changes while in a caloric deficit while increasing your mileage because trust me... It won't happen.

I run because I love it. It makes me happy. I love taking this time away from my phone and computer to listen to music and search the inner workings of my mind to see why am I feeling the emotions I am feeling today. What is distracting me today from the things I need to get done? Or what are the things I keep putting off and why? Usually at the end of a run, no matter how long, I have some kind of solution or answer.

Running fixes things- Am I mad? Go for a run. Am I frustrated? Go for a run. Am I needing to release energy or move my body? Go for a run. Do I need some alone time? Go for a run. Do I need to go do something fun with friends? Go for a run.

On the contrary... Am I happy? Go for a run. Is it nice outside? Go for a run. At the end of every run, I feel as though even if there was one little thing bothering me or making me anxious when I started, it was left in the dust and nowhere to be seen by the finish.

For a long time now, I have been told that I am getting "too old" to continue running. This idea, this limitation set upon me by these thoughts is/was seriously so soul-crushing, it forced me into therapy. I am 33 years old, but mentally, feel like I am inching towards 74. I never used to seek therapy because when I had doubts or limiting beliefs, I would.... go for a run. However, I will admit that my mind was lost to the persuasive power of the internet, filled with invalid data, unsupported claims, and a vast horizon littered with personal opinions I put way too much weight on.

I was told that I was gaining weight because I was not lifting enough and only doing cardio. So I stopped running and started lifting. And while I do enjoy lifting *occasionally... I found that I became heavier... in my body, and my mind. Depression slowly crept in, my self-confidence plummeted, and I lost a little sense of identity within myself. Previously, when days like this crept in and when my mind wasn't as strong resulting in self-doubt, I addressed and adapted by finding peace and encouragement from a run. But running was no longer an option because the world was telling me, "NO MORE RUNNING. JUST LIFT AND GET LEAN AND YOU WILL BE HAPPY". Except I did stop running, started to lift, did NOT get lean, and shocker- was not "happy".

I have been feeling low lately. A lot of big life changes are approaching. Some bad luck and chaotic days recently have left me feeling less than myself. Lost and confused. I beat myself up about being so mentally fragile that I couldn't confidently take on what life was throwing at me, increasing my negativity and low self-worth. I looked into potentially starting therapy again (after a little hiatus) because I couldn't figure it out. Where was the old me? What am I missing?

But this morning, something miraculous happened. I had my coffee with my sweet husband, laced up my shoes, and greeted the sunrise with a run. It wasn't fast, it wasn't far. But it was perfect. I have not been this happy, nor have I had this much focus and clarity, in weeks.

One run can do that.

Time to do some more.

So don't tell me not to run. Because that will make me mad, or frustrated, or confused... and you know what I do when I get mad, frustrated, or confused? I go for a run.