Monday, May 18, 2015

Steph Says: Five Reasons I Run

A few weeks ago, the lovely Cate (@csgetsfit_ on the 'gram) tagged me in a post about the five reasons she runs. That inspired me to do a whole blog post about why I run- why I started running, why I keep running, and why I have fallen in love/hate with the sport. So thanks, Cate, for inspiring me once again!

1. Because I never thought I'd be able to.
Take a little journey with me back to middle school. Every year when that invention of the devil himself - the Presidential Fitness Test- would roll around, the panic would set in. I was quite literally the most unfit and overweight kid in my grade. One year, some of the popular girls got ahold of the coach's clipboard and saw my weight written down next to my name on the roster. They teased me relentlessly for the next few weeks about how fat I was. On top of that shame, I was asked to perform various feats of physical fitness, none of which I could really do. The male coach was rather unequipped to deal with female emotion, so he attempted to encourage me in his testosterone-fueled MAN UP kind of approach (which fueled nothing but his ego and my devastation). He'd scream, "STEPHANIE! JUST RUN THE STRAIGHTS AND WALK THE CURVES!" as I stumbled in the September heat around the makeshift grass track on the playground. And I'd weakly call back, "I can't, Coach. I can't." My body wouldn't allow it. My heart and mind were clawing at the walls, wishing to be anywhere but there, sweating in those too-tight polyester gym shorts that Coach had to special order because they didn't have my size in the school's stock closet.
Twelve years later, I came across Mama Laughlin's blog on Pinterest and spent the entire day reading it from the very first post. I thought to myself, If she can do this, why the hell can't I? So I immediately bought the Couch to 5k app and started my journey.
And now I can run almost 10 miles without needing to walk. I wish Coach could see me now.

2. Because of the feeling of accomplishment.
It's jaw dropping and humbling all at the same time to finish a long run (or a short run that just felt really, really long) to stop and think, "I just ran x miles. I am the greatest human that ever lived." Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that? No? I also love my medals. They're proudly displayed in my bedroom where I can see them every morning when I wake up. Sometimes I wear them around the house just for funsies! Did I actually just admit that? They remind me of the blood, sweat, and tears I put in to earn them. And they remind me to keep training, even when I don't feel like it, because of the success I feel when it's over.

3. Because it keeps me focused.
If I am given the chance, I will be lazy. It's in my nature. Remember that long story I just told you about middle school? I'm about three boxes of Little Debbies and two days of lethargy away from being right back in that same position (minus the itchy polyester shorts). Training for races, competing against myself, seeing how far I can go without keeps me from taking my stress out on a bowl of ice cream or on the poor, long-suffering Hubs.

4. Because of the camaraderie.
Running has brought me closer to so many amazing women. My Thursday nights with Team RWB have brought me closer to my sister-in-law. My Saturday morning group keeps me laughing so much that I get an ab workout along with my cardio. The running community is unlike any other. No matter how fast or slow or overweight or fit or whatever you may be, if you can tie your (hopefully supportive) running shoes, you will be welcomed in by this crazy (definitely supportive) family of runners. I've become a better person because of the people I run with- strong, confident, goal-oriented chicks. May we know them, may we love them, may we raise them. Can I get an amen?

5. Because I can eat.
Dieting is not my friend. I am a miserable, angry shell of a human being when I'm dieting. IIFYM has helped tremendously because I feel much less deprived, and it's a far cry from the stuff I've tried in the past. LA Weight Loss, Aspen Clinic, Weight Watchers, 1200 calories a day... done it all. And it's all worked...for short periods of time. Becoming dedicated to running long distances means that I can eat, almost literally, whatever I want while maintaining my weight. Did I LOSE weight when I trained for the Zydeco Marathon? Not really. But I gained muscle, stamina, and some killer confidence. With a side of fries, if I so chose.

I chose the fries.
Live ya life.
What makes you wanna move?

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