Since I trained for that 5k race back in April, running has become an almost daily part of my life. Sure, there are days when I would much rather lie on the couch with a book or stare at the ceiling for extended amounts of time, but I (almost) always manage to force myself to put on my running shoes and get out the door.
I was terrified that when I moved to Austin, I’d have to give up my runs because of the heat. And yes, it is a different game here. You have to get up super early or wait until it’s pretty late or suffer the consequences. I sweat more than I thought a person could. I literally lost two pounds of water weight during one run. And yet, the runs are always worth it.
Why do I run?
- Endorphins. I know that when I’m sad, stressed or anxious, I need the run the most. When I run, I concentrate on my steps and on my breathing, blocking out all other thoughts. I get a break for at least a half hour, which is enough to usually get me out of my funk.
- The chance to check out my neighborhood, new trails, new streets. I love finding little pocket parks, beautiful homes and streets I had no idea existed. Fair warning — if you have a cute house and you leave the curtains open at night, I may try to get a peek from the road to see your decorating style. I don’t slow down or anything, cause I’m not a SUPER stalker, but you know, I just want to see what’s on the walls. Geez.
- My legs — they’re getting stronger and more defined every day. My shorts and skirt collection has expanded quite a bit since taking up running. Not that I want to show off or anything…
- Alone time. Even if the trail is full of other sweaty, panting runners, I get to listen to whatever music I want (aka my dirty, dirty hip hop collection). Or, if I’m feeling fancier, I can put on that podcast I’ve been meaning to listen to and really concentrate on it.
- Routine. It’s comforting to have a carved out time for health every single day. Even if I get nothing else done on that day, at least I went for a run. I feel accomplished.
- Cute workout clothes. Nike shorts + Old Navy tank top + sneakers + kicky ponytail = heyyyyyyy girl.
- People watching. So there’s this phenomenon in Austin where about half the men don’t wear a shirt when they run. Sooo there are lots of guys who really, really should think about wearing a shirt, and there are a select few who, well, make the run a heck of a lot more interesting.
- Pushing through my limits. I never thought I’d be able to run two miles together. Or run an 8:30 mile. Or, gosh, a 10k race (ok, I haven’t yet, but that’s the next goal). And I can! My body is capable of doing amazing things, and the only way to find out how far I can go is to push myself to go for it.
- Being part of the running tribe. I love nodding to other runners, exchanging looks of pain or contentment, depending on how hot it is. I love seeing the new runners as well as the iron men who are charging up the trail like mad men. I love seeing people of all shapes and sizes. I love feeling like part of a group. An insane, open to pain group.
Take it from this 100% anti-running girl turned runner — it’s worth it. Every sore muscle, every side stitch, every sweat stained shirt, they add up to toughness, resilience and general badassery. I’m so happy I found this.