Why am I running? What does it accomplish? What is the point? Do I even enjoy it?

I never run for myself. It would never ever work. If all I thought about was what I was trying to accomplish and what I was challenging myself with I wouldn't get very far at all. My heart and mind have to be somewhere else- centered on anything BUT me. Ok, not just anything. But whatever I'm focused on, I give everything to during the run.

I'll share a little of my history: I grew up very inactive. There are plenty of reasons and excuses but they're irrelevant right now. I didn't ride a bike until I was 11. I didn't swim until I was almost 16. I am self taught (and therefore not impressively skilled) at both of these things, however, I am proud that I learned these things on my own. No parent or coach or mentor cheered me on and padded my failed attempts with praise and encouragement. No one held on to my bicycle seat as I pedaled or watched poolside as I struggled to paddle from one end to the other. I had to regularly surmise the will and determination from within. I had no idea how to do it, but I just had to keep believing that I could.

So now I'm running. One day I just tried it. And it worked. And I kept doing it. Even when it sucked. Even when it didn't feel good. I kept going. In the beginning, I would reach a destination, and try and go a little further each time. I still remember the first mile I ran without stopping. I remember my first five and my first ten. My first fifteen. And by this summer, I'll be able to say I remember my first 26.2.

As I stated earlier, I cannot run for myself. I start each run with someone (or more than one) in mind. And I give all of my effort and energy to them. I give the strength and strain to them. Sometimes I run for someone who is struggling deeply. I pray for them as I run and I devote my energy to their struggle. Prayer doesn't always need to be fashioned out of words only. It can be poured out in effort and deed as well. I can't imagine running any other way.

I think running is both rewarding and masochistic. You can't be one of those "I need to enjoy myself every minute" types if you're going to run. I welcome and embrace productive pain. After every run, some part of me remembers that I thought it was impossible. And some part of almost every run seems impossible, but thus far, I have yet to be stopped by what "seems" to be. If I did not accept pain and discomfort and fatigue and grueling difficulty, then I could never run. I do not enjoy the run. If someone stopped me and said "hey, are you enjoying yourself?" while I was running, I don't think I could ever just say "yes" although I guarantee there are times when I could, without question, say "no".

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