Thursday, January 24, 2008

running has changed my life

i didn't quite know how to start the blog until i went and saw the spirit of the marathon tonight with jona in raleigh. this film, directed by jon dunham, chronicled six athletes training for the 2005 chicago marathon. he did a superb job of capturing the spectrum of runners that undertake 26.2 miles. deena kastor was featured as the elite womens marathoner, and while her marathon was astonishing and her training tireless (the woman consumes 5,000 calories per day to keep up with her training regiment), what was more inspiring to me was her humanness, her approachability. she was someone who i believed could make an amazing friend or neighbor. she reminded me that anyone can run, maybe not like she can run, but that anyone can achieve what is their potential personal best when they work hard and are determined.
i run for many reasons. i run for that potential personal best. i run for that feeling of accomplishment. i run because i can. i run because there are people like deena kastor who inspire me. running has taught me to work hard, to play hard, to invest in people, and to dig down deep and challenge myself. the spirit of the marathon reminded me of that. it took me through every single last emotion i have ever felt while training and racing. and to be honest, every single last emotion i have ever felt has been entirely worth it, because it has strengthened my will, forged friendships, and deepened my willingness to say "i can". it may sound trite and unecessarily nostalgic, but it's absolutely true: running has changed me as a person. it has allowed me to grow and discover a part of me that i never knew i had until i tried.

so, to start off this running blog, i want to know how fitness and running has changed you. why do you run? what motivates you? many of you have motivated me and dragged me through many miles. why do it?


  1. I used to run late at night, in the dark, in the rain. It was a release of energy and clearing of the mind. When I went to UCSD, the campus loop was a hilly 4.2 miles that went along the coast of the Pacific and the canyons of La Jolla. Those were my favorite running times. Now I don't run because of injuries and lack of energy. What I want to know is how you first got motivated enough to get off the couch and through that first mile. The first mile is the's all runner's high from there.

  2. I'm so glad you saw the movie...I wanted to so bad, but my sister-in-law had her baby today and I had to be there for it. You will have to give me more details. Oh, I really wanted to see it. Do you know when it will be available to see again. I missed my run today.;( But tomorrow I am on! Hope you are wonderful!

  3. so there is an additional screening on february 21 due to popular demand. check out more info on the website.

    cristina, i think that is the hardest part of running is getting out in the first place. before north carolina, i had kaylynn or rebecca or lindsey or jeni or molly and a myriad of other people who would get me out to the track or out on that long saturday run. peer pressure is an amazing motivator. honestly, if you could find that one person to be accountable to, that could make all the difference.

    now, that i am a "lone" runner for awhile, i have set strict goals for myself. i want to run a sub 2 hour half marathon in salt lake in april. there are things i HAVE to do to get to that goal. so i've set up a schedule, (which i will post soon) and goals to complete every week. that way it isn't just "go out for a run", it's "i have to run 4 miles today: 2 at this pace, 2 at this pace, so that each run has a goal and a purpose.

    and yes, the first mile sucks. use it as a really slow warm up and then begin your run. :)

  4. i've heard of that movie from a friend who also ran her first marathon last september. i guess it is coming to SLC soon, so i think we'll go see it after all.

    as a new mom, getting into the routine of things can be very mundane and well, boring. motherhood wasn't really hard yet, and seeing as how that was all i was doing, i felt an overwhelming desire to push myself and more than that, to accomplish something really amazing that would be really hard for me, and that i previously never imagined doing. i surprised myself every day with my progress, as the most i had run before was like 2 miles. the body is truly an amazing thing. it is such an analogy for life too, when you work hard, put your mind to something, you will achieve... anything you want to! that was the most inspiring thing to me, i can do and accomplish whatever i set my mind to, all it takes is discipline and hard work. practicing those skills in running has definitely made me a better person.

    i had only been running for 4 1/2 months when i did my first marathon ( which looking back, was probably not very good, oh well), so my goal was just to finish, now that that is over and done, i am excited to train for the next one with specific goals, and challenge myself in different ways.

    on top of all that, it is so peaceful. i don't always run with music. some of the best runs are ones where it's just me and my thoughts. i can sort through things, and it has been running that has helped me to become organized in my daily life.

  5. WOW girl...we just saw the movie last night and you already blogged it! First of your blog! the subject! Why do I run? Well I'm going to have to borrow the words of Kristin Armstrong. She has a blog on Runner's World and in her August 12,2007 entry titled 'Spot on, Bertha' she said this: I don't train because I want to be able to do things (run a faster 5K, beat my marathon PR, make someone eat my dust on a trail...though those things aren't bad....). I train because I want to be someone better than I would be if I didn't train. If someone I love is faltering, I want to be the kind of woman who can haul some a**; I want to be first on the scene. I want to be strong enough to carry some of his/her burden along with my own. I want to have a clear head and a clear heart, so if I am asked for advice I can offer wisdom instead of mere opinion. If my big opportunity arises to serve, I want to be ready. If it takes more out of me than I anticipated, I want to know something about endurance. If the terrain suddenly changes, I want to be steady. If someone I love looks at me with eyes full of fear, terrified that they won't be able to finish whatever happens to lie ahead of them, I want to look at them, wordless, with unblinking eyes that assure them that there is no way that they won't.

    She sums up so perfectly why I run!

  6. that is amazing lisa. i really think there's something to be said (as all of you have mentioned) about discovering your potential. running absolutely can help your discovery. and let's be honest here, running absolutely tests your potential. it's hard work. but like lisa and morgan's comment said, it can enable you to deal with ALL the hard work that life has to offer. awesome.

  7. Julia,
    I love love this new blog. I like running but lets be honest...I dont love running. I like the feeling that running gives me. It's like a personal high. I run because I am obsessed with working out and getting fit. I signed up to do the SLC half-marathon and will see how that goes. I am more into triathalons that just running alone (mostly because running is by far the hardest part). Anyway, got any recomendations for some great shoes?

  8. I like running because it is hard for me to do. (Weird right?)Because when I finish running I feel as though in a sense I have conquered a weakness in me. It just feels so goooooood! Great idea for a blog!

  9. I hope this isn't female-exclusive. :)

    I love to run. It makes me feel like I"m acomplishing something. In about an hour I'm heading out for an 8-miler. When I tell people I run that far they call me nuts. Then I show them my training plans for the Ogden and St. George Marathons, which culminate in over 1000 miles running by October, and then they really call me nuts.

    I love the freedom that running gives me... the clear head, the healthier and leaner body, and I love the time running to listen to whatever I want to listen to on my iPod... books, music, podcasts, whatever. It's "me" time, and I love it.

  10. zach, not female-exclusive at all. :) feel free to drop by and comment anytime!

  11. annie, i can relate to you on some days. some days i have to get out just to get out, you know? just like the 75 year old man in the movie i saw on thursday night, he said he likes running when he FINISHES running. sometimes it's that feeling of accomplishment afterwards.

  12. fyi - not running for nearly 2 months and then running 10 miles is not a good idea.