180 reasons I love to run

RunningBanner_1

I love running. I don’t think there’s a question about that. But, truth be told, it wasn’t love at first step. It was pretty painful and I often questioned my very existence in even a short mile and a half run. But, over time as I challenged myself, ran further, made friends with other runners and raced often I found a deep profound love in running. Lifelong partners if you may.

Secretly I hope there’s running in heaven.

So when people ask me what it is exactly that I love about running, I have a hard time answering that question. There are a lot of reasons. But, it’s not just the races. It’s not just the friends. And, it’s not just the free t-shirts and medals. It’s an accumulation of many things. Some bigger than others and many often overlooked. That’s why I constructed this list, albeit a large one, of ways and reasons why I love running.

Hopefully you can stay with me for all 180 …

    1. New running shoes.
    2. That peaceful and energetic feeling you get after a nice long run.
    3. Any time spent with awesome running friends.
    4. Getting that excited feeling the night before a race that is only comparable to trying to sleep the night before Christmas as a kid.
    5. That moment you don’t want to run, but then you do and then you are glad that you did it.
    6. Anxiously gathering up your gear, pinning your bib to your shorts and meticulously setting out your food the night before your race. Then checking everything twice to make sure you are set.
    7. Getting the mail and finding your new Runner’s World has arrived.
    8. It’s the best way to manage stress, anxiety and fear. Believe me.
    9. Running a beautiful and challenging trail.
    10. The starting line nerves, anticipation and festive feeling. It never gets old.
    11. Running up a big a– hill and bonding with the runners ahead, behind and besides you who are all going through the same experience.
    12. The moment you get a race shirt and judge whether or not it belongs in your running shirt circulation.
    13. Seeing older running couples run together in the middle of a marathon. That’s how I want to be when I am older. I want to die running with my wife, not asleep in a nursing home bed holding hands.
    14. Asking and being asked why you started running.
    15. Meeting other runners who similarly used running as a way to lose weight and caught the same bug I have. There’s a mutual respect because of the similar hurdles and road we both followed.
    16. Browsing the internet for new races. It’s an intoxicating feeling.
    17. Talking a friend into signing up for a half or full marathon for the first time.
    18. Setting a new PR.
    19. Realizing you are on pace for a new PR mid-race and you get that burst of extra motivation to push it.
    20. Crossing the finish line and seeing that you crushed your previous PR.
    21. Being the first person to use a Honey Bucket at the starting line of a race.
    22. Wishing that for a moment that you could have the speed of a Kenyan.
    23. Reading running books like Born to Run and Unbroken and being proud to consider yourself a runner.
    24. Totally justifying a guilt-free bowl of ice cream, because … well … you ran marathon earlier that day.
    25. Getting into a 10-15 minute conversation about running with someone and not wanting it to end.
    26. When others try to persuade me that all my running is bad for my health.
    27. The way that running can change that frown upside down.
    28. That moment when everyone crunches together in excitement right before the race begins.
    29. Caffeinated Clif Shot Bloks.
    30. Winning a free entry into a race.
    31. That realization that you ran over 13.1 miles before most people even wake up on a Saturday morning.
    32. Running down a canyon and just taking it ALL in. Especially in the fall.
    33. High fives from volunteers.
    34. Being cheered on by complete strangers sitting in lawn chairs on their front yards.
    35. Totally understanding this video.
    36. Running a new distance race for the first time. Oh, the nerves! How I love that anxious feeling!
    37. Listening to other people tell you why they could never run like you. But, you’re dying to tell them if they want it bad enough they could.
    38. That last 0.2 or 0.1 of a race, especially as crowds cheer you on from both sides of the street.
    39. Group runs with friends followed by breakfast and numerous laughs.
    40. Completing understanding why people run for charity.
    41. Chocolate Gu … it’s like chocolate frosting on the run! (This appeases the inner fat kid within me).
    42. Talking to other first-time runners at the starting line of a half or full marathons. Their nerves are motivating and reminiscent of my early races.
    43. Getting that second or sometimes third wind during a race. There is nothing more welcoming.
    44. The cheering volunteers at aid-stations, intersections and finish-line. They keep me going.
    45. Watching ‘Spirit of the Marathon’ and wanting to sign up for every marathon from now until next June.
    46. Seeing wildlife as you run. Well, everything except for deer of course.
    47. Any food graciously handed out after a hard ran race.
    48. Being in an inspiring awe of what ultra marathoners put themselves through to run and finish 50 to 100 mile races.
    49. The moments after a long run that all you want to do is just sit and not think, speak or interact with other people. You just take in the moment and what you just put your body through. It’s a very empowering feeling that I love to experience in the moment.
    50. Race signs.
    51. Race costumes.
    52. Pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, banana and peanut butter.
    53. Major race expos with awesome booths and even better give-a-ways.
    54. That moment you finally convinced yourself that you really are a runner.
    55. Opening up your race swag bag and finding more than just ads in it.
    56. Pre-race carb-loading.
    57. Post-race carb-reloading.
    58. Reading other people’s running blogs.
    59. Wanting to stop running, but not.
    60. BodyGlide – Further explanation not needed.
    61. Pacing a complete stranger and both of you using each other as motivation to keep running strong.
    62. Aleve.
    63. Opening race picture links and browsing through your horrific race pictures.
    64. That moment when your legs hurt and all you feel like stopping, but you know that with more effort relief will come sooner than later.
    65. Explaining to other runners that if they run that makes them a runner, despite what they may think.
    66. Seeing people around town the day of a race wearing their race t-shirt and/or medal.
    67. Literally running into other running friends while running.
    68. Being given a gift certificate to a running store for Christmas, your birthday or just because.
    69. Post-race ice bath and/or ice cold shower.
    70. Saying the word ‘fartlek’ … especially around your mother.
    71. Explaining the word ‘fartlek’ to basically any non-runner.
    72. Customizing your car’s license plates with ‘Fartlek’ … true story. Just waiting for the plates in the mail.
    73. When people ask to see your medals. I feel like a proud Daddy.
    74. No line for the Honey Buckets at an aid station.
    75. Proudly sprinting past the aid station in the middle of a 5K knowing you’ve gone longer than 1.5 miles without water in a marathon.
    76. High fives from kids. It’s the equivalent of getting a turbo boost in Mario Kart.
    77. 55 degree weather on a long run. My ideal running temperature.
    78. The first recovery run after a long race. It’s my favorite time to reflect on my accomplishment and mentally prepare for the next one.
    79. Bragging to your friends (especially non-running friends) that you are not afraid to use Honey Buckets.
    80. Jamming out to U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ on the run … pure religious experience.
    81. Cheering on other runners who pass you during a race.
    82. Being able to laugh about getting bloody nipples, even as a “seasoned” runner.
    83. Walking into a Running Store and once again feeling like a fat kid in an ice cream parlor.
    84. Post-race Cinnamon Rolls. I never thought this would be a life changer, but it is.
    85. Passing other runners in the last mile or two of a race.
    86. Looping around a race expo a couple times just so you can get a couple more samples of Clif Bars and Shot Bloks.
    87. Passing that mile marker that miles ago seemed far, far away.
    88. Watching the sun rise above the mountains while waiting for the race’s gun time.
    89. Realizing that you just had a five minute conversation with a complete stranger during a race about bowel movements and Honey Buckets and not worrying about it because you know they “get it.” It’s just your mother you wouldn’t want to have the same conversation with.
    90. Having no problem waking up at 2am on race-day morning, because you know you’re RUNNING!
    91. Discovering that your NipGuards stayed on during your race.
    92. Sprinting and not wanting to die.
    93. Laughing while running, especially with Becca. (NOTE: Just never yell BECKY at her mid-race).
    94. Running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (or any likewise run) with thousands of other people running for the same reasons you are.
    95. Feeling a bit starstruck running into a celebrity runner, blogger or Olympic athlete and being a tad at lost for words … and just praying that you don’t say anything stupid.
    96. Crossing the finish line and bee-lining it to the volunteers passing out the finisher medals.
    97. Trying to rationally explain to your doctor why running more than 20 races in a year is a good idea.
    98. Orange slices at mile 10 of a half marathon.
    99. Recognizing someone you met at race somewhere outside of a running event.
    100. Logging your miles on DailyMile.
    101. Hanging out with friends and family after a hard ran race.
    102. Running through Disneyland. I set a PR there once and I totally don’t understand why I did that?
    103. The moment you push submit on your registration form to your ‘NEXT’ race.
    104. Seeing anyone who has overcome great odds to get themselves condition for the race.
    105. Sprinklers.
    106. Non-race aid-stations from complete strangers in the middle of a race. Sometimes it’s the best food.
    107. Seeing people wear a t-shirt from a race you ran and immediately bonding over that experience.
    108. Eating Fig Newtons before a race. You really wouldn’t think the two go together, but heavens yes, they go together!
    109. Post-race/long run chocolate milk.
    110. Lactaid – So I can enjoy my chocolate milk.
    111. Being extremely proud of yourself for running outside when it’s below freezing.
    112. Racing the person next to you on the treadmill.
    113. Cheering on other runners at the finish line after you finished your own race.
    114. Getting in lost in the beauty of your surroundings during a run.
    115. Going for a run when you need time to simply figure things out.
    116. Knowing that you are not this guy.
    117. Downloading your Garmin information and totally geeking out.
    118. Checking out people’s calves before races. I get major calf envy.
    119. Post-race massages.
    120. When the race hands out glorious things like Fat Boys and Creamies post-race.
    121. Road trips with friends to out-of-state races.
    122. This.
    123. The way the “BIG CITY” feels much smaller in a car because you’ve ran all around town.
    124. Finding money while running.
    125. Being given a cookie in the middle of a marathon and not even remotely worry about calories.
    126. Color coding your running clothes without looking like a complete douche.
    127. Admiring the sunset over the Great Salt Lake during an evening summer run.
    128. Being able to reminisce about each race like it was ran yesterday.
    129. Being asked why your run so much and only able to respond with a simple, “because, I can.”
    130. The look you get when you tell co-workers that you JUST ran an EASY five miles that morning.
    131. An awesome running playlist of the songs that really get you going.
    132. Early morning runs.
    133. Afternoon runs.
    134. Evening runs.
    135. Anytime runs.
    136. Spending entirely too long browsing awesome running Pinterest boards.
    137. Powerade burping contests with Susette at aid-stations.
    138. Being recognized by friends as they drive past while you’re running around town.
    139. Foam-rolling out depleted calves after a long run. It hurts like a mother, but it hurts so good!
    140. Socializing with your running friends outside of running events.
    141. Running with anyone past age 70. I simply applaud them. I want to be them.
    142. Candy at any aid-station during your race. But, especially Swedish Fish!
    143. Oh, don’t forget about the M&M’s.
    144. And, Gummy Bears.
    145. Watching the Boston Marathon broadcast and feeling like a complete nerd.
    146. Not caring about time or speed and just letting your body dictate how you go, then realizing in the last mile of the race that you are going to PR. Happened to me twice last year!
    147. Realizing that your running friends wear more than just running clothes.
    148. That moment your Garmin watch is calibrating before a run.
    149. Running in the middle of the night of a team relay and it is just you and your thoughts. Oddly, it’s not a lonely feeling, but very empowering.
    150. Watching a good movie in the CardioCinema when you really don’t feel like running on the treadmill.
    151. Being told by someone that you were the reason they started running. It’s statements like these that truly keep me going.
    152. Making new friends mid-race.
    153. Checking off races on your ‘Running Bucket List.’
    154. Having a treadmill at home that’s main purpose in life isn’t to be an extra clothes rack.
    155. Starting line self pep-talks.
    156. Mid-race self pep-talks.
    157. Last mile self pep-talks.
    158. Finish line self congratulations.
    159. Shuttle bus conversations with friends or complete strangers on your way to the starting line.
    160. Wearing your running shoes 24/7 because they are simply the best thing you’ve ever worn.
    161. Finding that special lucky charm and wearing it to every race.
    162. Going that extra 0.3 to perfectly round up your mileage.
    163. Booking an out of state run-cation. Especially, to somewhere warm during the winter months.
    164. Having volunteers/spectators cheer you on by name and then freaking out because you forgot your race bib is personalized.
    165. Running into people you haven’t seen in years at the starting line of any race. Especially if they haven’t seen me after I’ve lost my weight.
    166. Mile 25 sponge baths during a mid-summer marathon. Best. Thing. Ever.
    167. Clif Bars.
    168. Mid-run pit stops to get a Slurpee.
    169. Having a post-race bonding conversation with a complete stranger about that “last big a– hill” towards the finish line.
    170. Not stopping on your way up that big a– hill.
    171. Conquering that big a– hill.
    172. Running down that big a– hill.
    173. Bragging to non-runners about your experience running up that big a– hill.
    174. Taking out your headphones for those last few yards just to listen to the crowd cheer you on.
    175. ‘Mile 10’ and ‘last mile’ pep talks to anyone within the range of my voice. I love yelling out encouragement, even at the risk of totally sounding annoying.
    176. Wearing your compression socks instead of best dress socks to church.
    177. Having other people question your sanity because you are running outside in snow, rain or sleet.
    178. The post-race nap.
    179. Seeing that finish line, but not from more than a half mile away though, that’s just the worst.
    180. Getting excited to get back out there and run again.

Well, if you made it all the way to 180, congratulations. I feel like I owe you Rice Krispy Treats or at the very least “I ‘HEART’ 2 RUN” stickers. But, I truly hope this gives you a better glimpse into why I love running and why I hope it will be a part of who I am for years to come. For as much as I put into it, I get ten fold back. It’s almost not even fair.

So, what is it about running that you love? What brings you back? What keeps you going? What keeps you lacing up your shoes? Please don’t be shy and share your reasons. I really want to hear you bear your running testimonies.

Happy Running!

Comments:

4 comments

  1. Becca says:

    Yay, I made the list! This was so fun to read. I put Spirit of the Marathon on hold at the library, so I am going to watch it this weekend!!!

  2. Jared says:

    Good post. I read them all. For me, I run because (1) I feel good when I do, (2) its one sport that I am actually moderately good at and I need the exercise, (3) helps with weight control, (4) keeps me healthy, (5) its enjoyable. Plus lots of others.

    Keep up the good posts.

Leave a Reply