After a recent race, a friend who watched me run across the finish line commented that I am always smiling when I run. I looked back at some running pictures and realized she is right. In most pictures, I have a huge grin and I look very happy. It is easy for me to come up with the reasons why running brings me so much joy.
I am very grateful to do something that so many people will never experience. I know several people who see running as something that is too hard for them to do. Injuries have made that gratitude even stronger because it has taught me to not take anything for granted.
Running makes me feel strong. I gain confidence from running because it has taught me that those things I thought were impossible can all be changed to be possible. I never thought I could do an ultra but now it is my favorite distance.
I am surrounded by amazing people when I run. The running community is full of positive people who are ready to help and encourage anyone who needs it. It doesn’t matter what shape you are in, or what age you are, you will be embraced by the running community.
Running makes me push myself to be better. I am motivated to improve and find new challenges. I am inspired by people at every race.
The stories I hear from other runners motivate me to keep going. So many people make excuses for not exercising, but at every race, there are runners with serious health concerns who refuse to give up. They use running to prove they can keep moving forward.
I also might be smiling because after every race my running friends and I go to breakfast, so I am probably thinking about food. Food, friends, and running all bring me joy.
Running brings me a sense of peace. It calms me. This is probably because I am enjoying myself so much. When I run I don’t have to solve any problems, I don’t have any tasks to accomplish except to cross the finish line, and I don’t have to make conversation. I can focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
I will always say with certainty that running has saved my mental health. It is my escape, my therapy, and my cure. I can clear my mind when I move, so anytime it is full of junk that life can throw our way, I put on my sneakers and head outside. As I run I feel the negative falling off behind me, and I can begin to repair any damage that has been done to my emotions.
I also smile when I see other runners joining the sport. I love knowing that a few more people will be happier once they see the possibilities that running can offer them. I hope I see you out there. I’ll be the one with the big grin.