Sunday, January 22, 2012

For the love of running...

To say that I love running would be a slight understatement. It is truly my passion, and I'm so thankful for everything it's given back to me.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be healthy enough physically to be able to run as much as I do. I've run nine half marathons, one full, more 5ks and 10ks than I can count, racked up 1000+ miles in both 2010 and 2011, and have a plethora of finisher medals to showcase it all.

But aside from the material gains, it also keeps me in shape. I don't have to be training for a specific race, though that always helps of course. Just putting one foot in front of the other, picking up the pace when I feel like it, 4-5 days a week...that's all it takes.

Going a step further, it's provided me with more emotional benefits than I ever imagined. As of late, my stress level has been through the roof. With everything going on in my personal life (and quite possibly most definitely over-analyzing it all, being the type-A that I am), trying to fit in time with my niece, other family members, and friends when I can, working 50+ hours a week (by choice, so that's on me), and the list could go on... Needless to say, running has been my saving grace as far as stress goes. It's my time to de-stress, my time to think (or not), and my time to just zone out.

Furthermore, I've gained a new best friend in my running buddy, Autumn. Though she and I went to high school and college together and were in the same sorority, we were never really close. We were in the same "circle" of friends, but I guess we just never took the time to really get to know each other. We've been running together for over three years now. In that time, we've run more miles than I can count, shared more stories than I can remember, and confided in each other over everything from marriage and work issues to our monthly cycles and bowel movements...yep. While training for the marathon last year, Autumn injured her foot and could barely walk. However, she couldn't stand for me to be out there training alone, especially with this being my first, so she rode her bike along side me...all 18+ miles, on three different occasions. Same with the St. Jude Half this year. She wasn't hurt, but she had taken some time off and wasn't ready to run. So she made her way out to four different mile markers to cheer me on. Now that's a friend. For anyone else who feels like this about their running partner, I HIGHLY suggest you read Mile Markers. You won't be disappointed.

I'm also thankful for all the tools we as runners are given. Whether it's the latest and greatest pair of running shoes (Asics Gel Nimbus are my new fave!), a new flavor of Gu (they should so sponsor me), my super awesome tights or Under Armor gear to stay warm in the 32 and below weather, I'd say we're set!

I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with running, but I do have the utmost appreciation for it. But as Paula Radcliffe would say, "I can't imagine living and not running. " :)

Pure happiness :)

Autumn & me before St. Jude 2010!

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