Why do you run?

Why do you run? I was asked that question after I finished my ultra last week. They had free massages, and of course I took advantage of that! I asked the masseuse if she ran, she said no and asked why I felt the need to run so far. Was it an addiction? I thought for a moment (while she was digging her elbow into my shoulder), it really isn’t an addiction. When I don’t run, I don’t feel like I NEED to run. I mean, I could stop. I don’t want to, but I could. So that just made me think… why do I run?

ultrastart

The thing is, I feel most confident about myself when I am running. I feel even more confident when I am running far. When I was young, I used to look at my thick thighs and wish they were smaller. Now I look at them and thank them for carrying me 32 miles in less than 6 hours. Like seriously… how could I not be thankful and love my body when it can do something so amazingly cool.

Women have so much pressure to be skinny, or strong, or whatever. We are constantly being bombarded by advertising that is telling us that we need to be something different from what we are. In order to be liked, we have a set of rules to follow and our bodies must fit into a certain set of categories. We also must be able to identify the parts of our body we want to “work on” to make our butts perky, our breasts big, and our bellies flat. That way, we can go to the gym and do targeted workouts to make ourselves fit into society’s definition of perfect.

But many women have tiny breasts, or butts with cellulite, or thighs that jiggle. Whether anyone else notices it, we all have something that makes us self-conscious. In the last few miles of that ultra, I was not self-conscious at all. I was awesome. Every cell in my body… it was f*cking perfect. My poor posture, jiggly thighs, flabby arms and tiny boobs, they were all exactly how I wanted them to be. That body got me 32 miles and I felt amazing for it. When I run, I’m reminded that I have the body I want to have. My body is healthy, strong, and beautiful and I don’t need to work on anything. I just want my body to keep doing what it’s doing.

So, that’s what I answered with. Why do I run? Because it makes me feel confident and really good about my body.

The masseuse answered, “That’s definitely something I can jive with. Maybe I should try running.”

I hope she does.

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8 thoughts on “Why do you run?

  1. I’m glad you are proud of your body that carried you 32 freaking miles!! I used to be obsessed with being skinny and it sucked. I’m glad I got past that but it took a lot of work. Right now I run because I just love running! It makes me feel strong and confident… like I can do anything!

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  2. I think running has made me love my own body more, too. I mean, I never really disliked my body. I admit I’m blessed with some good genes and while I’m certainly not perfect, I’ve never had any body issues. But it wasn’t until I started running that, like you, I really gained appreciation and admiration for my own strength and what this body can do. I used to roll my eyes at fellow non-runners who claimed it was on their bucket list to run a marathon. I never would have guessed that 4 years later, it would be me – the girl who claimed she sucks at running – who would have completed the marathon, not just once but 3 times.

    I hear you on running not being an addiction. I love running, but I’m not obsessed with it. I haven’t run in 3 weeks and I’m doing just fine (although looking forward to coming back, admittedly).

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  3. Running has truly made me accept my body and appreciate everything about it. My little boobs, which I used to wish were larger, are perfect for running. My big thighs? My solid belly? My body works the way I want it to and I am so grateful that it is what it is!

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  4. This was brilliant! I think we have so much pressure on us to look a certain way and act a certain way- I know that running makes me less self conscious, as well as less socially “girly”- who hasn’t snot rocketed or talked about poop on a 2 hour run?! I think it’s just made me care slightly less about what my body looks like or how I am perceived.

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  5. Why I run is a question I often ask myself, and there are many reasons, but I’m not sure I’ve come up with THE reason yet. I think it all boils down to one thing, though: it makes me feel better. I truly believe that there are actually better ways to feel fit, but I hope I never have to give up running!

    While I do care about my weight, when I was younger it was more about how I looked, and now it’s more about being healthy. Being 40 lbs overweight isn’t healthy, and there are enough health problems that run in my family due to being overweight that I will always be conscious of it and work on it.

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  6. Agree that we all have aspects that make us self conscious. Guys go through this too. I tell myself and talk to the kids that God gave us the body we have for a reason. We are all built to do different things and that requires different bodies. I hate that so much in this world tries to tell us what we are/are not supposed to look like. Great post!!

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  7. Congrats on completing an ultra – that’s amazing!!

    I come from a family of non-runners, so I get this question from them a lot. My usual answer can be found in form of an eCard that says “Running makes me want to kill people less.” Whenever they ask me why I like to run far, my answer is that I run slow, so I have to wait until everyone gets tired to move up to the middle of the pack. I’m slow, but stubborn – distance running is perfect!

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  8. Great post! I look forward to going back more. Running an ultra is on my bucket list. Ultra runners are amazing beasts! Your answer is awesome, and I completely agree. Running has added so much confidence in myself and shaped me as a person.

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