Whenever I am feeling miserable during a race/run, this question tends to sneak its way into my head quite often. "Why am I doing this?!"
But then I think about it and here are just some of the reasons why I run:
I run because it reconnects me to the world around me.
I run because it calms me and releases all the negative energy and feelings that I may be hoarding inside.
I run because of the amazing feeling of accomplishment afterward.
I run because I love to eat food.
I run because no matter what I feel beautiful when I'm done.
I run because the world melts around me.
I run because I can't get enough of that runners high.
I run because it gets me out of the house and into the sun.
I run because it's my prozac.
I run because I can.
One phrase that I've always enjoyed goes something like, "your life is dictated by the choices you make." I've made more bad decisions than I can count and am continually learning to accept responsibility for my mistakes and take control of my emotions. At the same time I can take credit for my good decisions.
One of the best decisions I ever made was joining the girls cross country team in high school. Here's why:
I remember when I first joined cross country as a young whipper snapper. I was shy, insecure, and entering 9th grade. Now, I should tell you that at this time I was also on the 9th and 10th grade pom squad and was having a hard time of it because of the stereotypical cattiness that comes with it. There was gossip, cliques, glares, and the "divas" always had to be in the front and center of all the routines. In short, it was misery.
But then at my mom's urging I found the cross country team. It was a breath of fresh air. The older girls didn't shun me as a possible prospect of beating them, they took me under their wing. At practices, they would encourage me and we would run as a team even though it was the most individualized sport at the school. If one of us felt like they needed to slow down we wouldn't let them. Many times that was me and I would always get the "come on Erica, we're almost there!".
At one particular meet in Missouri we had five of us running right next to each other and as we passed a coach from another team he screamed out "Come on girls! Now that's a team!"
So I loved cross country for what it did to me. It helped me become comfortable in my own skin through the "awkward years" and gave me much needed confidence. I know this is such a sappy post but it's true and I think it gives some reflection to the running culture. Even though it is a very competitive sport it's full of the most encouraging people I've ever met.