This post is dedicated to a few friends who have recently started running or will be soon - they know who they are. And they ROCK!
Running has done so much for my life, and I want people to know why I love it and to encourage others to stick with running too. The story of how I started is in the 'Why I Run' tab of this blog, but for this post I'm focused why I keep running. Here it is, not necessarily in order of importance.
1. Running relieves stress. When I feel anxious or have had a rough day, running always helps. I often can't wait until it's time to run that day, and sometimes I sneak out at lunch instead of waiting until after work. It makes me feel amazingly focused and happy for the rest of the day. I don't even run with music - I enjoy listening to my footsteps and freeing my mind in the great outdoors.
2. Running makes me happy. The runner's high is real, and I'm addicted. I love nothing more than feeling the exhausted-happiness I get after a weekend long run.
3. I like goals. Training for a race gives me a goal, and I'm a goal-oriented and data-driven person. When I have a training schedule to look at, and run data to gather, I'm much happier. I know when it's a run day and I know when I have to rest and I'll stick to it. I'm currently loving dailymile for keeping tabs on my workouts.
4. It's a good excuse to buy new stuff. New running shoes, clothes, gadgets, headbands...you name it. Running gear is fun and I like to shop.
5. Seeing new places. My husband and I often run races in new cities. Planned race routes make for fantastic city tours! I have yet to run the same half marathon two times, although I'll be repeating the SF 1st half for 2012. We are also heading to Seattle for a marathon in June.
6. I can eat more. Ok, maybe this isn't why I should be running, but it's true. I still try to eat fairly healthy foods, but I'm not going to feel guilty about that glass of wine or that cookie after I've run x miles in a week. And I like food.
7. Crossing the finish line. Running across the finish line of a race never gets old. Even if it's not a PR or I had a crappy day, crossing the finish is an amazing sense of accomplishment.
So friends, as you run your first mile, train for your first race, or run your first half, know that I'm there in spirit cheering you on. Turn to me for support whenever, and I'll follow you on social networks to provide encouragement. Ask me anything you want; I'm definitely not an expert, but I have both good experiences to share and not-so-good ones to learn from.
Most of all, stick with it even when it's tough. And have fun!