By Amy Bartels, Quad Cities Area Moms RUN This Town/She RUNS This Town (MRTT/SRTT)
Why do I run? The answer has changed quite a bit over the last few decades.
I grew up a competitive swimmer, swimming my first meet when I was 5. I always loved the water, moving my body and being competitive.
During the summer, we would mix up our swim workouts with running a few miles occasionally. I didn’t know if I liked running back then, but it was nice to have a break from being in the water sometimes!
In college, when running first became a daily staple in my life, it was partially because I needed to lose the freshmen 15 that had attached itself to me. I also was a college softball player and running just helped me be a better athlete. So I guess back then running was for vanity and necessity.
After college, I got into running races. I was motivated by the competition and seeing how much farther and faster I could go.
I like to set and accomplish goals. Hitting new distances made me feel good about myself. I trained for and ran my first 1/2 and then full marathon. I loved totaling the miles I ran and calculating my splits and pace.
Through the years after college, my obsession with how fast I could run decreased. I got busy with a husband and kids, maintaining a home, working multiple jobs and all the other stresses of adulthood.
Running still remains important though. I have found that running has become the thing that I do to center myself. It keeps me grounded and reminds me what matters.
Why does it do that for me? The short answer is when I run, I feel alive. But I don’t just mean alive in the sense that it elevates my heart rate and makes me sweaty.
I feel that when I’m running I’m taking full advantage of all the things I have been blessed with. I’m using my body to do things it was made to do, and I feel incredibly grateful for that.
When I run, I’m outside taking in mother nature and all of God’s creations. The sights, the smells, the feels. I love it all!
Running allows me to see sunrises and sunsets, feel rain on my face and crisp air in my lungs, hear snow crunching under my feet and birds chirping overhead, smell sweet wildflowers, clean mountain air and even those beloved farm animals.
I can enjoy all of these amazing things by just moving my feet!
Like everyone else though, sometimes my motivation is low and I just don’t want to. So for those days I have a mantra: “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.”
I enjoy that its sort of a play on words because generally you hear that phrase in reference to running away from something very dangerous, a life-threatening danger.
It’s actually quite the opposite. I mean it to run towards something. Run toward your life. Run toward the future.
It can mean, run to keep healthy. Or run to manage stress and keep sane. Or run so you can eat that donut.
Run to feel the sunshine; run for quiet time or run to be with people; run to appreciate the day; run for an adventure; run to feel grateful; and most of all, run to feel alive!