Sunday, December 19, 2010

I run because...

A lot of people ask me how I run at my age? Why in the world I want to run as much or as far as I have?

I got started running when I was in basic training for the United States Air Force and instantly fell in love with it. We only had to run a mile and a half at a time, nothing really strenuous, but I remember running for so many various things. I flashback to being in my PT clothes (gray shorts and a gray t-shirt with the words Air Force on them) running a long someone and pushing them to run further and harder, telling them to imagine the breakfast we would be getting in only thirty short minutes, each step, each breath, getting us closer and closer to that white line on the dark concrete.  I loved pushing people to do their best and in the military, you never left anyone behind, regardless of how fast or how slow someone was. You were a team and the team had to get through the run, not just you. I would run every morning for those chow hall breakfasts of ham, grits, French toast, and juice...YUMMY! I still dream about that breakfast! It was so good to me. There's only one place that has a better breakfast and that is The Original Pancake House in Salem, Oregon...Hands down, THE best breakfast EVER! I remember a sense of freedom I had never felt before  and an instant addiction to it. That's not surprising because I'm one that can get addicted to something fairly easily. The high of running is like no high I've experienced before. It's beyond euphoric and constant. I can get grumpy just as an addict could and if I go run, I feel much better. The daily dose of endorphins that comes with running is far better than any induced high because it's natural and controlled by your mind. Over the years, I ran to keep fit, on treadmills, to pass my PT tests, and to just be outside, in the world, with myself. I abandoned running after the military because I was in a dark place mentally and didn't pick it up until a few years ago.

Now, I run for a lot of other different reasons. It took me some time to grow up before I could really appreciate it as a sport and what it is to me. I run.... because I love it. for my sanity. for ice cream. to stay young. to be fast. to look damn good in my jeans. so that boys can't catch me. to feel the wind in my face. to have a private concert of whatever music is on my mp3 player that day. to escape from toddlers. because I'm mad. to be a role model. because I GET to. to feel the pain so that I don't hurt so much on the inside. to move the clouds out of my head. to be present with myself and the world. to come up with new ideas about anything. to be a part of a group. to push me. to test my will power. to push my body. because it drives me to accomplish the impossible. to find my own inner strength.

I just recently watched a documentary on the Iron man triathlon and it was astounding for me. The way those humans push their bodies was an eye opener to me. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily routine that Americans have created for themselves, work, work, work; come home, sit in front of the TV for a few hours and eat. I know not every American does this but a lot of us do. The guys and the females in the triathlons were running 3 minute miles! That is NUTS to me because there are some days my head says "No, not today, Amanda. I don't feel like it." Yeah, I think about one of those girls and my ass gets out there really quick and my mind and my body are happier I did. I also can flip through a Victoria Secret catalog and that will get me out there too, running to get those sexy abs. ;)

Running for me now is more than just a sport. I believe having healthy goals for your body is what contributes to stability in your mind, in your heart, and in your soul. I say contribute because I strongly believe a person has to keep their mind healthy too. Different people have different ways of doing that and I feel that's the beauty of living in this world and in America. We are all different, we all do things in our own way.  I think our society stemmed away from taking care of your mind and your body for a while but I've noticed a turn around. There is more focus on taking care of the body and finding your own individualism. Running has helped me to define my individualism and has allowed me to take care of myself and the things I care about most. I'm a lucky girl because I'm one of those that GETS to run and as long as I can, I'll keep pushing my willpower, setting new goals, singing to myself, crying when a thought crosses my mind, watching the hot air balloons launch in the morning, all while I'm running to get this body in pristine shape :)

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