National Day of Running??? WHAT?!?

Today is National Running Day! I only became aware of this outstanding celebration yesterday, but darn tootin’ I’m taking part.  Partly because I have a run scheduled for today anyway, but also because I love the idea of celebrating running!  You know why I adore running? Just in case you don’t, I’m gonna tell you.

I love the freedom of it.  As in, it’s cheap.  Equipment is minimal – you get yourself a good solid pair of running shoes, and you’re set.  The rest – the iPod, the watch, the fuel belts – are add-ons.  You don’t have to have them. 

Setting out for an early morning run

I love the solitary aspect.  Yes, I’m a people person most of the time.  That’s how come I crave alone time.  For the majority of the day, I am busy cramming my thoughts into other people’s heads and trying to process the myriad little voices that are fighting to enter my own head.  (Although, to be fair, those little voices share a basic unifying thought: “MOM!” Apparently, just saying that one. singular. word. over and over is entertainment enough.) 

I love the sense of accomplishment I get from a long run.  I enjoy my TurboFire, my P90X, my HipHop Abs, and my QiDANCE…but the feeling after a long run is just…separate. Because just last year, right around this time, I could barely eke out 20 minutes.  Running is a measurable accomplishment, a way for me to say, again, that my body is capable of amazing things.

My first race medal

I love running for the sense of peace I receive during a long run.  And by long run, I mean longer than an hour and preferably longer than two. It takes me that first hour to find my place, my zen, my stride.  After that, the freedom and the solidarity combine and my world takes on a rosier hue.  Cars may pass; their sounds are muted.  The sun can shine; the rain can fall; the wind can blow…everything just adds to the moment.  For me, running is the only workout I have found that offers this sense of quiet, this sense of relaxation during maximum effort.  I think more clearly; problems that plague me before my feet hit the asphalt suddenly sort themselves out and seem small. 

Finishing my first marathon

I love the sense of community among runners.  Experienced runners are consistently enthusiastic about helping beginners; elite runners rejoice in the amateur runners’ race times.  Picture a dog finding another dog.  For them, that moment is ALWAYS AMAZING.  In their world of humans, they have discovered another canine at last.  Runners are the same way.  Don’t believe me? Attend any race, walk into any runner’s store, and find someone who’s been running for years.  Tell them you’re new to the game and ask advice…and be prepared to chat for a good length of time. 

I love that I can share it with my kids.  Sure, the runs will be shorter and slower.  But someday, I imagine that we will be completing 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, and full marathons together.  My daughter especially has a natural runner’s gait and a wonderful speed.  I am already envious of her potential as a runner, as I am of the slow-and-steady variety. 

Take this National Day of Running as a sign, a hint, a reason…and lace up! Step out! Go RUNNING!  Clear your head; find your zen; feel that pride.  All you’ve gotta do is put on your shoes and GO.


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