I love running. I love getting outside, pushing myself hard, and listening to that perfect song as I push for a new PR. I love the way my body feels when I’ve completed a run. It’s tough to match.
But I haven’t always enjoyed running. In fact, I used to hate it.
When I was in middle school, my P.E. class did this thing called the Coyote Run. Every two weeks we ran a one-mile course around the school. Well, some of us ran. Others (e.g. me) could only run a quarter mile before walking the rest of the way. I was a pudgy 13-year-old, embarrassed by my inability to run a mile. I told myself that running was for wimps. Running was for people who couldn’t play baseball, or basketball, or one of those “real” sports.
I didn’t start running until college. I had just returned from serving a mission. I spent two years in Oklahoma and Texas, and I saw a lot of healthy people. I also saw a lot of unhealthy people. I knew which camp I wanted to be in. So I started running.
At first I didn’t like running, but I did it anyway. I signed up for a 5K, knowing that I’d be forced to train for it. Then I did a 10K a few months later. In preparation for that 6.2 mile event, something happened. It was a spring day in Provo, Utah. I set out on a four mile run, iPod mini in hand (remember those?). Three miles in, I noticed a change. I was actually enjoying myself. For the first time, I was in the zone. I ran harder and faster than I thought I could. It was exhilarating.
Since then, I’ve run in many 5Ks and 10Ks, two half marathons (still not a full!) and a few triathlons. But most of the time, at least these days, I don’t run because I’m training for an event. Rather, I run because it makes me feel good. 13-year-old Nate would be shocked to hear this, but I run because I enjoy it.
I’m grateful for running.