On November 11th, I’m running a marathon...again. And in the wake of marathon training, I’ve been reflecting on why I run and how I fell in love with the sport. I can’t pinpoint a time or place when I became a runner, but if I had to put it on a timeline, I’d say I started running around 8th grade. So in the grand scheme of things, I’ve been running for 13 years (which is half of my life!). I would say I started running for exercise and curiosity before I joined my high school track and field team in 9th grade. But regardless of the reason or the timing, running is now a fixture in my life.
Even when I couldn’t run a mile, I loved the feeling running gave me. It’s a natural high that can’t be beaten or replicated. I like to run when I’m happy because it makes everything that much better. I like to run when I’m sad or angry or overwhelmed because it’s my release. It makes even the most difficult situations seem manageable, even if only for a brief moment.
Like a lifelong friend, running is always there for me when I need it. It has provided me company through many phases of my life. In high school, I ran track and cross country to compete. But I also ran to work through my teenage angst. Nothing beat a hard run with Taking Back Sunday and Sugarcult screaming through my headphones. In college, running helped me clear my head when I was stressed from homework and finals. Once I entered the “real world,” running became a means for fitness.
As with most great loves, there have been, and will always be highs and lows. There have been times we’ve drifted apart. I would go months without running because I wouldn’t make it a priority when life got crazy. There have my times that my body couldn’t keep up with my mental stamina no matter how hard I pushed myself. Running is a great love-hate relationship. Sometimes I dread hitting the pavement, but I never regret it once I do. No matter what life has thrown at me, running is always there and we always find our way back to each other.
My love for running doesn’t equate to great skill or athleticism. And I think that’s why I like it. Running is a sport for everyone. No matter your age, your skill level, or your size, you can run. It may not be easy or enjoyable at first, but you can do it. Once you get your head in the game and have the right mindset, anything is possible.
I would consider myself an average runner. I’m not fast, although I have my moments. I don’t know everything there is to know about the sport and training and nutrition, though I find it interesting to learn. I frequently have mental battles to push myself and to wake up and run when I’d rather hit snooze.
But like any great love, running is always there for me. When I'm happy. When I'm sad. No matter what age. No matter what state I live in. It's there. I can always count on it. To make me sweat. To clear my head. To be my release. To put a smile on my face. And to make me my best self. Always.
This year, as I’m training for the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon on November 11th, I want to share my journey with you. I’m going to post my weekly training schedule and the progress I’m making. Some days and weeks will be better than others, but I want you to hold me accountable and join in the fun. Check back weekly for updates and follow along on social media using the hashtag #DaniRunsCLT. I can’t wait to share my journey with you and hopefully inspire others to join along the way!
How did you fall in love with running? I'd love to hear your story!