In honor of National Running Day, I wanted to reflect on what running truly means to me because it isn’t just about logging the miles, crossing the finish line, setting new PRs or even having an excuse to eat more pizza. For me, its really about the adventure, friendships, community and discomfort that comes with it.
I love that running often wakes me up before the crack of dawn and gets me outside before most people (including myself) have even had their coffee. I love how it takes me outside in the rain leaving me wondering whether I’m rain soaked or sweaty only to realize that I really don’t care either way. I love that it covers my feet and legs in mud (and sometimes even scratches and bruises). I love that it makes me feel, at every step, more alive. And at every step, more interesting.
I love that it takes me to new places – to explore new paths, new trails, new routes and even new mindsets. Running has opened up a whole new world to me; the exploration I have experienced – both physical and spiritual – never ceases to amaze me.
I’ve explored and climbed through desert canyons, watched the sunrise from the top of a mountain, dodged cacti running through the desert wash, saw cows roaming around their ranch in the dead of night – us both watching each other, army crawled through bushes, brambles and thorns to make my way back to a trail after getting lost, and have even crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in the dead of the night when nobody else was around.
But its more than just the physical places it has brought me; running has also always been a highly mental activity for me. It gives me the space I need to breathe, think and reflect. I’ve found that I do my best thinking while I run – it inspires my creativity and allows me to solve problems more thoughtfully. And when I am feeling down, I can always count on running to center me and bring me back to me.
Running is also an extremely spiritual activity for me. I have gained self confidence, respect, self acceptance and love from running. Through all of the challenges and obstacles, tears and sometimes even pain, I’ve come out on the other end with a greater love for myself. Running has made me realize just how tough I am. Running has given me strength to be the person I want to be.
But most of all, running has brought so many wonderful people into my life. I’ve made so many wonderful friends on the trails -sometimes only after spending a few hours or even a few days together – its a bond that seems to be unlike any other. My running friends are the people I can count on most for a good laugh, a pick me up, encouragement, and of course, a fun adventure.
Today Abbie and I went on a quick trail run for lunch and tonight I will be running with the NoPo Run Club to honor this fantastic day.
Runners gonna run.
How did y’all celebrate national running day? And what does running truly mean to you?
Stay sweaty friends!