Running life. It isn’t stellar, it isn’t perfection. It is a whirlwind of ups and downs filled with tears, laughter, anger and pure joy. Some will never understand that. Some will never be able to relate what we as runners feel. Why we do what we do, what our motivation is, and how we can continually put one foot in front of the other no matter what life throws at us.I got asked the other day what my marathon PR is. I laughed because I didn’t know. I had to look it up. I don’t run for time, I don’t run for distance…I run for me. I run to escape the realities of life. I run to be able to let it all go. That might mean chatting with friends about everything and anything while the miles pass or it might be just me and God having an in depth conversation about life. Regardless, I don’t run to beat a single time (yes, it is nice to have a great race), I don’t run to not fail, I don’t run to be better than someone else, I run for me.I used to not be this way. I used to chase the clock and not be pleased unless I was placing in my age group or overall. I used to concern myself with others times just so I could try to beat them. I used to judge a runner by how fast they were (myself included). Then I found the trails….more specifically a group of runners that taught me so much more about myself and running than I ever knew existed.Running my first marathon was underwhelming and my time/place meant little to me. I knew it was something I could do, so I ran, I completed and I moved on. I didn’t have moments of joy during it. It was all business, all serious and all just ‘ok’.Since that day, I have been looking for more. It took me a long time to realize what ‘more’ was to me. More is helping others succeed. More is watching myself break down during a run and then slowly piece myself back together. More is having people there to help you along the way. More is selflessness. It’s lacing up time and time again knowing you may fail but doing it anyway. Knowing that no matter what challenges you face, you do not face them alone. That is more. That is what I was missing. Running was much different when I had that one track mind of success. I’m so glad I found something different.I have a much happier running life now. I have amazing coaches guiding me down a path that will lead me to be the best runner I can be. I have amazing running friends that are there to help me along the way. I feel better about my running than I have in a long time. No that doesn’t mean I am faster or better than I was before, I am just happier with where I am at.
I am enjoying my runs. I am smiling when I pull out my Altras. I don’t find it a chore. I find it to be my own peace of mind. And on occasion, I can take those peaceful runs, let them all add up and push myself to see if I can succeed. Racing is much more than running for time to me anymore. It is a true reflection of who I am and why I do what I do. If I don’t smile and laugh during a race. I am doing it all wrong.