I’ll be honest. For the longest time, I was convinced that the definition of being a “runner” was solely that — running, running all the time, running every day. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Run run run.
As someone with a full-time job, a part-time blog, and enough friends to take up most of my weeknights, that doesn’t leave time for much else. I will always envy those who spend their days waking up with a good early-morning stretch only to enjoy most hours lifting, yoga-ing and running — all in a single cycle of the sun.
As for me, well, I feel fortunate that I am capable of lifting my body out from under the covers almost every day before 7AM. If that means squeezing in just one workout a day, fine. I’m a busy 20-something New Yorker with an equally divided love of Sav. Blanc and sweat. To fit both into my day is a blessing, and for that — the ability to balance every element of my life to some capacity — I am absolutely, positively thankful.
I was thinking about this the other day, actually, and it’s something that I’ve become nothing short of obsessed with. Maybe the word is fascinated, I don’t know. Either way, it’s a really interesting concept to think about – especially during those mornings when the run seems tougher than ever.
I think a lot of readers relate to this little space on the Web because, like me, you found running not necessarily for its physical capabilities but for its ability to release you from something binding. When some go through difficult periods, they turn to detrimental forms of relief from pressing pain. Alcohol. Drugs. Self-inflicted harm. I’m grateful that my own return from whatever-was-trapping-me was facilitated by something so inherently good. Nature is my solace. In Central Park, I can feel my breath fill my lungs once again.
The me of yesteryear might have laughed at the kinds of people who work out. That seems so boring and hard. But the me of the last 7 years knows better. So much better. I came to understand the euphoria of the sport — the pure uninhibited joy of running along a river, weaving past foot-traffic in Manhattan, creating a goal and reaching it — even if it means heaving at the finish line. (Note, this has happened to me before.)
Running has brought me all that and more — the pain and the beauty; the tough and the easy; the crazed and the calm.
The question I’ve struggled with over the last year or so now explores this very idea. While stress is an almost unavoidable aspect of a Manhattan lifestyle, I’m no longer sad or anxious or crazed. I haven’t been in a while, and I don’t foresee it happening again. Really, a lot of it was just growing pains. I genuinely believe that, between running and my learned ability to cope with the unknown, I am forever better equipped to face what’s known to most as “real life.” You can’t literally run from it, but running can certainly help.
Here’s where the confusion sets in. If I started running in the first place to deal with a sense of sadness, and I’m no longer in that place, then what does running have to offer me now?
My goal for What’s Beautiful, this inspirational campaign launched by Under Armour, is to rethink my goals, intentions and priorities. I’ve seen some really inspiring goals set in honor of What’s Beautiful, from completing a pull-up to working out everyday. Some ambassadors want to run a marathon, others want to learn a new skill.
Mine, on the other hand, is a bit less physical. I simply want to figure out — to re-figure out — why I love what I love. I need to rekindle my love of the run.
Whether you’re a regular on the blog or you’re visiting for the very first time, I think a lot of people come to this cross-road at some point during their fitness career. You ask yourself why? What’s the point? What do I love what I love? Why do I do what I do?
Really, I’m not sure what the answer is right now, but that’s part of the journey; that’s part of the process; that’s part of the fun.
What’s Beautiful is a campaign launched by Under Armour with a simple and universal mission: “to redefine the female athlete.” Of course, this begs the question, how do we redefine something that isn’t broken or wrong? Well, the answer is equally straight forward. We should always be looking to improve, to modify, to redefine, and it starts with setting what Under Armour describes as “epic goals.”
What I love about this campaign — this internal and external challenge — is that your consideration, or reconsideration, of what it takes to be fierce doesn’t have to be drastic. Big or small, long-term or short-term, your goals are your goals. Embrace that. You might be surprised to find that others share your goals too.
Looking to love your run again? You can sign up here to commit to this exercise in honesty. I will learn to love running without doubt again.
No matter what you decide, make sure your goal is established. Plant it in your mind and allow it to grow roots. Think about it. Then rethink about it. “Go after it in a big way,” as Under Armour says, and then work harder than you ever have before, mentally or physically, to get it. Will yourself to say, “I will.”
- Do you think all goals need to have a physical component?
- Have you ever fallen out of love with something you were passionate about for a long period of time before?