Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Ten Reasons I Love Running

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I have been participating in #runchat lately -- it's an awesome bi-monthly chat of runners all over the country with a variety of topics and series of questions each chat. I've gotten to chat with some awesome folks already and am looking forward to upcoming connections. RunChat also recently did up their website and are hosting a Valentine's Day contest, for you to profess the top ten things you love about running and will pick a winner to get some awesome running swag. So, here you have it.

1. I love the challenge - Running pushes you in ways you never thought imagineable. It encourages, challenges, motivates, pushes, and inspires you to work harder and take yourself to places you never thought you'd go.

2. I love exploring - I mean, to take the literal part of that last sentence, running allows you to explore! Having just moved to a new state/city, I've discovered streets in my neighborhood and visited nearby neighboring towns to find some of the most gorgeous landscapes. Love it!

3. I love achievement - I'll be honest, I've always been an over-achiever. If you know me at all, you know that (or you'll learn really quickly). Running allows you to achieve over and over again, while still having to work for it. Whether it's getting a new PR or setting personal distance records, you can consistently accomplish new things, whether by trying or not sometimes. What a feeling!

4. I love the way my jeans fit - I didn't start running regularly to lose weight, more to so to tone up and feel confident in my body. However, along with toning comes a sense of pride and confidence in pulling on a pair of jeans that haven't ever fit quite right and bam! They fit better than you thought possible. It's a great feeling to work for!

5. I love guilt-free eating - Even if it wasn't the hardest run in the world, I love earning that stack of pancakes or extra cheesy mac 'n cheese after a great workout, run, distance training, or whatever it may be. Sometimes I let the excuse run a little too long, but I know it's earned. I deserve it!

6. I love the community - Simple nods and smiles on a sidewalk on Saturday mornings, or the unspoken camaraderie with others a race start line, or meeting new friends via #ruchat... there's that automatic sense of community, a connection unique to any others that you can only find with someone as nutty as you to be running in 35 degrees on a January morning.

7. I love the blankness - Much like soccer was for most of high school, running has become a stress relief. I can throw on my shoes, put in my headphones and completely zone out to much of the chaos going around. It doesn't really matter if it's a quick 5K or a tough long run, running allows you to focus on you, your body, and the road ahead, leaving not much room for anything else. And sometimes that's the best state of mind to be in!

8. I love the gear - Especially if it comes in obnoxious hot pink, lime green or bright blue - like my new Saucony Kinvaras. The brighter, the more fun! Who doesn't like an excuse to wear a neon-salmony-pink fleece jacket in the middle of December?

9. I love the schedule - Aside from work, there is no regularity in my life. And while at times I appreciate the fluidity of a weekend or having no plans whatsoever, those who know me also know that I'm a planner. Knowing that I have a 10-mile run to fit in Saturday morning before I can do anything else forces me to get up and moving, keeping a schedule whether I want to or not, and keeps me accountable!

10. I love the feeling of wanting to be better - Being a fairly newbie runner, I love reading blogs, training blogs, articles, and posts for suggestions, tips, and tricks. Discussing these with friends, other newbie runners, and bloggers gives me the motivation and encouragement to try harder, learn more, find ways to be successful, and meet those goals.

I leave you with this - because while I love my heels, I think the same holds true for a good pair of running shoes, too:

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.