My Love Affair with Running

Running in Ninth GradeMy love affair with running began like it has for so many others - in elementary school. Anyone else remember the mile-run requirement of the President's Physical Fitness Test? Or how about when Field Day looked a bit more like a real track meet than today's collection of kid-sized team building events? It was there I found out that not only could I run well but that I liked it.

I first became part of an "official team" in ninth grade. I was a week late joining because I was on a school-sponsored trip to Guatemala. When I showed up, the coach told me that she was putting me in the 440-yard dash at that week's meet. She also made a point of letting me know that I was going to be up against some stiff competition from one of my teammates who had won the event at a meet the week prior.

I guess I didn't think much about that when the gun went off. I just ran, my arms swinging back and forth, the familiar sound of crushed rock rhythmically crunching underneath my feet. As we rounded the final turn, I kicked it into high gear finishing first. It was in that moment my flirtation with running became full-on love.

Since then, I have competed in virtually all kinds of running races including both high school track and cross country, 5 and 10K races, trail runs, half marathons, marathons, and several overnight running relays. Throughout it all, I have come to appreciate those in my personal circle who seem to always be there to support, encourage and improve my running. They help me be a better, more whole person. And all because I fell in love with running.

What's your story? Why do you run?