Training thus far for the Atlantic City Half Marathon was chugging along… until this weekend, when I was set to take on my longest training run, the elusive 10 miler. I did everything right: I hydrated, I hadn’t run the day before, I even went out to the bar for happy hour with my coworkers and only had one beer (and a Radler at that!!). I ate my pancakes, and a small fry the night before. I went to bed at a decent hour.
And then I went out for my 10 miler with my BFF and it felt… terrible.
Not even terrible on my legs, but terrible in my head. Sure, my legs were heavy in the thighs. But that wasn’t the reason that by 5 miles I wanted to stop: every step felt like a moment of mental WHY DO I NEED TO BE DOING THIS! Normally my BFF and I have things to talk about, and don’t need music during our runs. This time? Minimal conversation, and the air was thick with “this sucks” vibes.
She was being tough and not saying anything. At 5 miles, I mentally figured out how we could cut it to 8 and still feel accomplished yet NOT suffer through those last 2 miles. When I said it out loud, she sighed a big relief. Those last three miles still sucked, but at least it made the end goal closer. And this brings us to my main topic here, because reflecting on this run made this absolutely crystal clear:
Why I Run.
I don’t run to compete. I am 8 years from my half marathon and 5k PRs. I don’t see myself being able to get back there, nor do I give a damn if I do.
I run because it keeps my body moving, my brain clear, and my heart healthy.
I run because I like to eat dessert and drink a beer and feel zero guilt.
I run because it is social: I run to enjoy the fun of finishing a race and meeting a goal.
(also, excellent reason for flashy clothing and random jump shots)
I do NOT run to be fast, or to beat people. And thus, when a run starts to get past the point of manageable mental toughness, it is simply not worth it anymore. Like Saturday. It was just not worth it. I don’t feel regretful at all: I have done double digit numbers of half marathons: I know damn well that I will cross my finish line in April without a 10 miler under my belt. I also know that I won’t PR – I never planned to (and let’s all say it together: THAT’S OKAY!).
But I will absolutely cross that finish line, get a medal around my neck, a cold beer, and enjoy spending the afternoon surrounded by my BFF and running community, feeling accomplished as hell.
And that, my friends, is Why I Run.
So tell me, why do you run?