Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Never Outrun Your Joy



"Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running."

I came across this quote on Twitter last night, and it really struck me. It rings true for running, that is for sure. As a runner, to improve, to get faster, to have endurance for longer miles, you need to be consistent, and run often. When people ask me how to start running, or how to get better, the first thing I encourage them to do is run consistently. But if you always run three miles, you will always be able to run three miles. Running long, once a week is a second important aspect to improving as a runner. It teaches your body how to keep moving on that mile past tired. You know, when you run three miles and you're exhausted but you have one more mile to get home? Running long teaches you how to run on tired legs.

Running often, and running long requires diligence. It requires persistence, commitment, and running through good weather and bad weather. It requires lacing up your shoes when all you want to do is curl up on the couch in front of Netflix. It requires sacrificing free time and Saturday morning for long runs.

In 2011, I set out to run 100 miles a month. My friend Sarah and I decided we would commit to running 1200 miles that year, to improve as runners, to get in better shape, to run faster, to run longer. Each month we diligently tracked our miles. I ran through rain and snow, I logged countless hours on the treadmill, and I was determined to meet my goal each month. At the end of the year, we did run 1200 miles. We accomplished what we had set out to do. But running had become a chore. Something I had to do, instead of something I wanted to do. It became an obligation, something to check off a list. In turn, I lost the joy that I previously found in running.

Running is my thing. It is the one thing that allows me to reset, to recharge, to lay my anxieties and stresses of the day on that pavement and then run over top of it, refusing to pick it up again. Running clears my head, it gives me an outlet for the anxiety I cary with me on a day to day. Running allows me time to process, to reflect, to talk to God, to ask Him for strength to carry me through my run and my day.

What I was reminded of yesterday was that I don't have to run. Its not the only means of exercise to stay healthy. My identity isn't in being a runner. I lost running once in my life, when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I lived through it. I run because it gives me great joy. And everyday before I go out for my run, I want to remember that it isn't something I have to do. Its something I get to do for my emotional, mental, and physical well being. I am not going to outrun my joy I find in running because I realize now, running is a true gift I have been blessed with. Against all odds, in despite of a chronic illness that attacks and destroys my joints, running is my joy.


11 comments:

  1. such a great post. I'm getting back in to running after years of not doing it. I planing on doing a 5k in August.

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  2. Oh man! 1,200 miles? That's crazy! Way to go. I ran almost 900 last year and felt like I was running ALL the time.

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  3. What a good lesson to learn!! My husband used to be a runner, for the cross-country team in high school and college, but I think he simply outran the joy he found in it because he's never run since I've known him. He said he used to wake up and run 10 miles a day, but stopped because he just didn't think it was worth it anymore, he couldn't find the happy medium.

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  4. I really, really like this post. I actually didn’t realize you had Rheumatoid Arthritis until this week and I still don’t know a lot about it besides what Wikipedia tells me. I have such respect for all runners but especially for ones who keep at it when most people wouldn’t… like you. (Excuse my sappiness!) This is such a good reminder that we GET to run, we don’t HAVE to, and we should be thankful. Thanks!

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  5. Love this post! I have a chronic illness too (Crohn's Disease) and I have actually heard a lot about RA because for some reason, some of the Crohn's + RA medicines are the same...you have such a positive attitude, doll. Xx.

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  6. I used to LOVE running. I ran through high school, ran division 1 in college, ran marathons post-college... and then my body just never recovered from a marathon and I became kind of perpetually injured. And let me tell you, I miss it! I'm hoping that I can get started again with it soon, even if it's small distances, because there's no feeling quite like a runners high!

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  7. Beautifully written & I totally agree! I quit tennis after high school because I was "over it" (aska bitter due to a tough loss) and recently picked it back up- it's so fun to get to do it now because I truly enjoy it, not because I "have" to!

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  8. Oh girl, 1200 miles. HOLY SMOKES. We did 125 miles in January and that felt like SUCH a task at the end... This month's been more mellow, then comes marathon training. Somehow there's a freedom in it all even when it feels like SUCH a task. :)

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  9. I love this! You're inspiring because 1200 miles is a lot!

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  10. It is so hard not to get burnt out on running! And 1200 miles in one year you are a BEAST!!!

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