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The story of how I got started running, and why I continue to do so, are two very different tales.
How I got started: I have always been an athlete. In high school I played volleyball, basketball, and softball. I swam, hiked, and cycled. Anything that could be called a sport I participated in, except running. Running was a punishment often used by my coaches. If I missed a basket I ran a killer. If I botched a play I ran a lap. Running wasn’t something that I associated with pleasure.
Then I went off to college. I was no longer part of a team. I didn’t have to show up to practice every day, and while I thoroughly enjoyed intramural sports and hiking around Lake Superior, I missed the daily regimen of physical activity. In order to stay in shape I started running. Much to my surprise I discovered that I loved it. I didn’t need to find other people who could play, I didn’t need any equipment, I didn’t have to wait for a court to open; all that I needed was a pair of shoes and a sense of adventure. (shorts, socks, and t-shirt are always good choices as well)
I loved running so much that I decided to try out for the college cross country team. Miracle of miracles, I made the team.
That moment marked the beginning of a whole new phase of my life, one in which I referred to myself, with pride, as a runner.
Why I continue: Now that college is a distant memory, and I stay at home with my son, running has become so much more than a great form of exercise. It is a time to organize and process my thoughts. It is a stress reliever. It is a time to leave everything else behind and be me. Running gives me a daily sense of having accomplished something. I finished my very first marathon this weekend and even though I really hurt today, I am incredibly happy. Running makes me feel like I can do anything.
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