By Hannah Alderfer, BA, CPT
“That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.” – Kara Goucher
In elementary school, track and field day was the greatest day of the whole school year. It was the one day every year that we could compete in the “long run,” a one lap race around the school’s playground and ball fields. I was competitive enough that I always signed up. And I was the only girl to do so. From my earliest days I loved the feeling of running and I loved to run fast. Those two things have not changed today.
Ask me the number of times I’ve been on a run and felt like I solved all the world’s problems; when life’s dealt me what feels like a million pounds of stress and nothing feels better than running it out; when I’ve laughed so hard that I can’t even run straight for trying to catch my breath; when a crowd of thousands lines up alongside me to endure the same trial and to be triumphant in the end no matter the finish time; when I’m shuffling through snow and twenty degrees and the gentle snow muffles the sounds all around and the whole earth seems to be asleep; when good friends make me wake up in the wee hours of the morning to run through summer fog and watch the sun break over the horizon. These are the moments when I am so grateful to be able to run. No, running is not always pretty flowers and sunshine, but the good days far outweigh the ones that seem more like work than enjoyment. I can usually find something in each run to be thankful for.
No equipment needed. I can just slip on my shoes and run out the door. Running requires nothing of me. I can be happy, sad, frustrated, or joyful.
New shoes. This is one I really like. Who doesn’t want a new pair of shoes a few times a year?! Running gives me the chance to splurge on a fancy new pair of shoes and there’s nothing better than that first run in them.
Routine. Running gives me a sense of routine. Because I do it just about every day, I have an automatic workout planned into my day. I can count on it to keep me accountable to my goals.
Quiet time. Some days my run is the one time I can spend being the most quiet and thoughtful. I can work through life’s problems, think about what I can do to help improve the health of my clients (yes, I do think about all of you on my runs) or shut my brain off from life’s demands.
Let’s be honest, it gives me a little extra room to enjoy more food. For as much as I run, every now and then I can give myself the guilt-free enjoyment of foods that the average person should stay away from. Though I am health conscience, I don’t worry about counting calories and that’s always been one benefit of being a runner.
Lifelong activity. Running is an activity that didn’t have to stop once I finished school and began working. I could continue to compete and be involved in the running community.
Experiences. Some of the most amazing experiences of my life have involved running. I’ve literally traveled across the US from coast to coast because of running. I’ve run in the mountains of Leadville, Colorado. I’ve trained in Mammoth Lakes, California where many of the elites do. I’ve run in the always amazing Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I’ve toured the nation’s capital in Washington DC while running on a prestigious golf course. And I’ve gotten to run along with the elites through the historical streets of Boston, Massachusetts!