May 8 2018
A high school athlete shares how the running communities she's built through school teams have created within her a real love for the sport.
I don’t have any particular moment in my life when I became a runner. There was no catalyst, no traumatic or defining moment. Being a runner has just always been part of my life, like being blonde or being female or being American. I read inspiring stories of women who start running after a traumatic health scare or to get away from a bad relationship or to honor someone. I love these stories for their positive vibe and because it means one more person understands the joy of running. I think to myself, Why do I run? I don’t have a particular thing that made me want or need to start running. But lacking a catalyst doesn’t mean running hasn’t been an important part of my story.
I joined a youth cross country and track program when I was 11 or 12 years old and never looked back. Running helped shape my high school experience. I’m still friends today with people from my high school track team. Running relieved stress for me in college and kept me in shape since I was no longer playing organized sports. Running kept me sane and calm during a rough time in my marriage. Running gave me a bonding activity with my kids. Running kept my energy up and the mental demons at bay while I was being treated for breast cancer. Running has even been part of my career as a health coach.
Related: 10 Reasons Why I Run
I barely remember a time in my life when I was not running. It’s taken different forms and had different goals, but I’ve always been a runner. I’ve run competitively, I’ve run for fitness and health, I’ve coached other runners, I’ve run for fun. It gives me time to think and work through difficult issues, as opposed to other sports or activities that require more concentration.
It feels good to run; even when the run itself doesn’t go well. I run because it’s who I am, not just something that I do. It didn’t change me: it IS me.
For the longest time, I didn’t think I belonged in this global group of women that came to running as adults. They had powerful events and reasons in their life that inspired them to begin running, and I don’t have that. I don’t have a strong story. But I’ve realized that there’s no specific reason that we’re joined together. Running is that reason. Running takes me through life, and that makes me part of this group. It doesn’t matter how we got here; it just matters that we’re all here together.