When I first told my friend and coach, Jason, that I registered for my first marathon, he asked me a question. “What motivates you as a runner?” Okay, that’s easy… I started rattling off all of these various things that motivate me. He just shook his head and said a simple “Wrong”… What? How is that wrong? I think I know what motivates me. All he said was “That’s not entirely true, and the sooner you figure out what it is, the easier marathon training will be.”
Pfffft. My friends are all a bit out there, but I was pretty certain he lost his marbles for a minute there. But, like a good little student I listend to his advice and started thinking. He was still wrong!
Until yesterday I couldn’t fathom what he was trying to get me to understand.
Now I do.
I woke up yesterday morning to 16 missed phone calls, 5 text messages and countless facebook messages. One of my smartest and most earnest friends has died. I always thought of him as a dreamer and an optimist like myself. We were both rather misfits growing up and similarly sensitive to the world around us. (for anyone keeping count, that’s 3 in 6 months)
I couldn’t deal with the influx of phone calls, text messages. Everyone I’ve ever known and loved back home in a panic. So, true to form I went to the fitness center. I pumped my treadmill up to 6.4 turned the tunes up as high as I could… Next thing I knew I had run 4.7 miles at 6.4 mph.
That’s a 9:28 minute pace! For a nearly 5 mile run that is FRIGGIN FAST for me! That’s when it all clicked.
I’m an emotional runner. I let my feelings fuel my runs. My brother’s death is what really got my butt in gear during Columbia 13.1 training. The day of my first ever 10 mile race, I woke up to news that my baby niece was born. Today, Nick slipped out of our lives…. I got to thinking more and more, and realized that even the beginning of my running journey was fueled by emotion. My emotional breakdown over how much I hated my body, and how much I wanted to take control of my health. I texted Jason “I run with my heart!”
The miles I run give me a safe space from the expectations of many people. Its a space that lets me grieve, lets me think the dark thoughts that I have to deal with from time to time. We can change everything around in our mind if we shift our focus. Running does this for me. When I jog through my neighborhood park, ideas pop into my head that I hadn’t had before. It’s like a laboratory for ideas and emotions. They fuel my runs, and when I return home I have a whole new perspective on things.
I’m an emotional runner. I run with my heart.
What type of runner are you? What motivates you to run?