Jotting Jogger
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Jotting Jogger

The Reason for the Run

Have you ever wondered why someone runs, what motivates them to run, and how running has changed their lives?

Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

To outsiders, it seems as if my love affair with running has been going on for ages. Nowadays, I cannot fathom not having the sport in my life, however that wasn’t always the case. I believe it is only fitting that I detail my relationship with running, how the sport has transformed my life over the past five years, and why I have become so enamored with running altogether.

In one sense, running has given me the opportunity to reflect on my past experiences. I revisit cherished moments, painful circumstances, or even analyze my daily routines all while striding onward to reach my future destination. On days when I stray from reflecting inward, running provides the delightful experience to just behold the calming simplicity of the present. As I continue to put one foot in front of the other, I feel the vibrations ripple through my body from the repeated impact with the ground beneath me, and focus on steadying my breath in a rhythmic tranquil cadence.

I view running as a form of meditation. It provides an escape from the stress that often accompanies our lives, and provides me with the exciting experience to connect with my body. This new form of meditation is essential for keeping me focused throughout the remainder of my day, and often squelches my anxieties that creep into my conscious.

To better explain how my passion for the sport developed, it is important to briefly detail my past. After all, running hasn’t always been on the forefront of my mindset, and it certainly was not invariably the euphoria I describe above.

In fact, growing up, I never had a true desire to run. While I was always seemingly involved in sports that implemented a running regime, I never ran for the sake of running. I ran to shoot a hoop, catch a ball, or chase an opponent, but I never could quite understand those that were driven to run for the purpose of just that, running. Running at that time for me was a means to an end, not the sole reason.

Entering into my college years, the partnership I had with running was non-existent as a new college regimen had quickly set into place. Desiring to engage in moderate physical activity alongside my studies, I sought after intramurals and club activities to nourish the lull in daily exercise sessions. Keep in mind that these club activities centered on golf, tennis, or basketball and did not involve simply running but rather comprehensive body movements with a sprinkle of competition. I would have most definitely opted out on all accounts had these club events involved only running endeavors.

After graduating, like many of my fellow peers, I was excited for what was to come. Simply stated, I envisioned a romanticized version of what truly accompanied adulthood. Once the realities, demands, and responsibilities of life became glaring apparent, it was evident that I was not prioritizing my mental or physical health. At the conclusion of my days, I felt this weight of fatigue that lingered and cast a shadow into my evenings and sleep habits. With this lack of energy came internal frustration. I thought back often to the days that seemed so much more carefree and attempted to track down the fundamental reason for my unshakable dismay.

I decided that I needed a diversion that would revitalize my competitive nature. Missing the days spent dedicated to the sporting realm, I knew that starting a fitness routine was bound to break up the monotony of my week and would likely result in elevating my mood. Exploring various fitness possibilities, I focused on sporting options I could control. Running met all the qualifications. Cost effective, highly accessible, and time efficient, running seemed to meet every standard of swiftly getting back into shape that I could fathom. My younger self would be surprised to learn that I was attempting to implement runs into my schedule with the intent to do just that — run. Running was not only a means to an end; it would soon become the sole focal point of my fitness journey.

Shortly after picking my fitness focus, I laced up my shoes to embark on my first legitimate run. To be completely honest, despite my years growing up as a competitive athlete and my moderate exercise in college, the first few minutes of that run felt completely foreign. I had become so removed from the connection with my body that the effort felt unfamiliar. I contemplated slowing down, and turning back to my enticing abode. After all, no one was there to tell me otherwise. I did not have a coach or a team to hold me accountable. This effort was completely independent and the only person to hold me responsible was myself.

However, the thought of self-failure was non-negotiable.

I needed to complete my route to prove to myself that I once again had what it takes to succeed in my personal achievements. I pushed through the pain, and gave myself grace by walking when the pace became too much to undertake. The experience was humbling to say the least. When I finished, my preconceived notions of the sport had shifted. While the effort was painful and difficult, I persisted with the sport in hopes that it would payoff in the long run.

Dedicating a few hours of my week to running, after the first few weeks I noticed that my restlessness and tension eased. The weight of my anxious thoughts and cyclical negative thinking has been drowned out by the literal sound of my feet greeting the pavement.

From that moment, I was hooked. As my mileage began to increase throughout the subsequent weeks, my external stimulus was relatively undisturbed. What was different, however, was my outlook and response to these factors outside of my control. I no longer carried the constant fatigue or anxious waves of emotion. I was generally happier, more positive and grateful throughout my daily experiences. I had more energy despite exerting more vigor. I still had hectic days or moments where I felt deflated. What had changed however was my perception. These situations no longer felt finite. They felt just as they were — moments — emotional lows, which would pass, and anguish I could release while breaking a sweat.

As I write this post, I know that running will shape the experiences I have yet to live and continue to aid in my overall growth. Perhaps what I plan to share will resonate with you, maybe it will inspire you to start your own running schedule, or quite possibly, maybe you will grow tired of my incessant obsession for the sport and stop reading altogether. Whatever the case may be, my intent is to describe my experiences in the hopes that other fellow running enthusiasts delight in the shared similarities we all face while logging our weekly miles. Having a community is key, and I hope that you will join me as I detail my experiences on the run.



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Danielle DiPre

Danielle DiPre

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