This is what I was pondering today as I did my 4 miler through town... I think it's pretty easy to be contemplative today given that it's the 9 year anniversary of 9/11. After watching some tributes this morning and shedding some tears in memory of the events of that day, I decided to go out and enjoy the beautiful fall New England weather. Plus, I had to run. :) No choice when you're training for a race!
I've noticed that over time, my reason for working out has changed drastically. When I started lifting weights in high school, it was because my mom wanted to go to the gym in town, so I decided to go with her. There, it turned into a love, plus there were cute boys to stare at while I did my walking lunges across the floor. :) In college and shortly after, when I was good about getting in my workouts (which was sporadic), it was just because I wanted to be skinny. I thought I was fat (I had in fact gained some weight), and I worked out for purely superficial reasons. BTW, cute boys at the gym still make it much easier to keep myself there when I'm feeling lazy!!!
You know what happens when you do it just because you want to look better in your jeans or just so you can be thinner than the woman standing next to you in line? It doesn't work! It isn't enough (at least for me) to work out so that I can be thin. It has to be about my health... my physical health and my mental health. It's about not getting sick, keeping my cholesterol in check, having strong bones and muscles. It's about being able to relieve stress and push myself to do more which makes me feel better about myself and my future.
As I was propelling myself up a hill today, I started to take notice of how I felt and really appreciated what I was doing. I say propelling because today was one of those days where I felt stronger running up hill and actually felt myself pushing harder when it usually hurts the most. I could feel the strength of my legs, the evenness of my breathing, and I thought... wow, now this is why I run. I run because it makes me stronger, both inside and out. Sure, I like that it makes me clothes fit better and has allowed me to tone up and drop pounds. But in the end, it's about health for me.
You know what the best side effect of running for your health is??? It inspires me to eat better. Why would I mess up a good workout with junk? Until I started focusing on exercise for health, I never could commit to eating healthy all the time. I worked out so I could eat crap and still be thin, which definitely didn't work. I'm happy I've made my way to this spot. It took YEARS to get here, and I will never turn back.
Soooooo... that's why I run. Why do you run?