10 Reasons Why I Love Running and You Should Too

10 Reasons Why I Love Running and You Should Too

From the perspective of a girl who was not on Varsity, didn't have a five minute mile, and knows what it's like to be out of shape.
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Running. A dreadful, awful thing. A rewarding, amazing sport. This is what running is to me. There are good days, bad days, and any type of day in between. Your worst race can turn into your best, a single mistake can cost you everything, and the hardest course could set your personal record. This is a sport that is a punishment for other sports.

It isn't about the times, the number of miles, or the most expensive shoes. It's about you. About pushing yourself, your mentality, your limits of what you can do--mentally and physically. At the end of the day, your biggest competition is yourself. Look in the mirror and that's who is going to be your worst enemy.

1) "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great."

So what is the hard jpart? To me, it is finding the motivation to get out bed when I feel awful, to motivate myself to run after a long day and push past the exhaustion, and when I start to hit my wall while running, that I actually keep going one more step at a time. It's a way of getting to know your personal boundaries and pushing past them. You can have a support system behind you, telling you you got this, but the only way to make sure you achieve your goal is that you are the one doing it. Its a race against yourself, the competition just keeps you going.

2) "Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running."

This could not be more true. The amount of energy it takes to actually go on a run, even if it's a mile or just 15 minutes, is a lot less energy than nagging yourself to do it all day. It's easier to get it done and over with, instead of regretting not making the time, and hating yourself the next day. It's easy to push it off, to say that one more day won't make a difference, but every run is better than no run. Even if I am having a miserable time trying to get to that second or third mile, at least I was trying and putting in the effort. That's what it's all about--forcing yourself to find it inside yourself to go out and keep going.

3) "It never gets easier; you just get stronger."

It's amazing how fast you can see the results of consistently running. In one month, I went from one mile to six. It's crazy how much your mindset can change. The long runs become daily and your old times become your warm up. It's an amazing feeling to beat your PR, to think that that mountain of miles you thought you could never do, you just finished. The strength running can give you is astonishing. Physically, running strengthens muscles, boosts your immune system, helps you to sleep better, and is great for weight loss. Mentally, it is a great stress reliever, confidence-booster, and it can rapidly treat depression by triggering hormones in your brain to improve your mood.

4) "The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life."

You're breathing hard. Your heart is pumping. You are running, giving it everything you have or maybe nothing at all. But just one second can change your whole run. You turn a corner and get this burst of speed. You hit your goal mile and feel rejuvenated for another. You're about to break your personal best and the adrenaline rush kicks in. Whatever gets you to go faster, longer, harder. It's something that pushes you forward and makes you chase after life. Life is a lot like running. It's constantly changing--up, down, twisting and turning. There are short cuts, the extra mile, two paths diverged in a wood. And much like life, you are choosing where to go, based on these obstacles. When you go out to run, you are making a decision. A choice. You are choosing to feel your own power, your own control, and your own life by making time each day. In the chaos of life, running can be your constant.

5) "Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running."

Sometimes you have a bad day, a bad week, a bad season. That is how life works--it's unfair. So every time you decide to stop early, walk for some of your run, or just give up when you start--don't let that stop you from running altogether. The times don't matter, and the miles don't matter; it's you that matters. Maybe the people make you want to quit, maybe the coach hates you for no reason at all, or maybe you are too hard on yourself to feel like you're a true runner. Don't let anyone or anything get you down--try, try again. A different run could be a completely different feeling. It's all perspective when it comes to running. If you let yourself stay down, no one is going to be able to help you back up except you. So take that negativity and turn it into motivation and determination to do better next time.

6) "A twelve minute mile is just as far as a six minute mile."

Praise that. This could not be more relatable for a runner like me. I run, maybe not all seven days of the week, but I still do. Maybe to you, a twelve minute mile seems unbelievably easy, a walk in the park, or that 5K sticker you saw on the back of some guy's car is a joke to you. Maybe you don't know what its like to be out of shape. Not everyone can run a six minute mile; you probably couldn't always either. You had to work for your best mile time. Not everyone is able to do three miles in a row without stopping, just because you think it's a warm up. I have met all kinds of runners--some that understand being on the opposite side of the spectrum, and some that judge people for miles longer than ten minutes. You know what I think? Anyone who has the energy, drive, and ambition to go out and run should be applauded. So next time you see what you consider that ridiculous "3.1" sticker on the back of a car, why don't you just accept that they are a runner too, just like you?


7) "I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far."

I am a runner because I run. I may not have been even close to the best; I wasn't number one on varsity, and I wasn't anything special in terms of the sport. What I do know is that I did it for me. When I finished my race, I was proud of myself. I couldn't have cared less about my time or what place I got. I was so happy I had gotten my workout in for the day that I was satisfied with that reason alone. All the intense workouts, the two-a-days, and the time trials were just a completion grade to me, not for points. I was in the open race, but I was still a part of the team. I was still there to cheer on my friends, to clap for everyone who came over the finish line, and to run my race. I don't hold a record for anything like speed or distance. I probably hold a record for the most falls or most likely to get lost during a race, which I am proud of anyway. Because even with all of that happening to me, I went just as far as the person who got first place, and to me that's a win.

8) "You get out of it, what you put into it."

Running is a sport that shows you results with consistency. If you put in the hard work to push yourself, it will do great things for you. It's a give-back system. The faster you run, the faster you're done. Not to say that it is easy to beat your best time or run the farthest you ever have, but it's something you can get to. It's a test against your mentality every time you put on your running shoes and the only person you can rely on is yourself. It's up to you to go out every day, do what you need to do, and eventually you will reach your goal--no matter how big or small that may be.

9) "It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop."

Once you stop running, it seems like its ten times more difficult to start again. Whether that's just during a run, or getting into the habit of running again, it's something you roll your eyes at. You get mad at yourself for stopping, and tell yourself that you really shouldn't have. The best thing to do to keep yourself going is to slow it down. Bring your pace back a minute or two, take off a mile for today, as long as that will keep you ready to go again tomorrow. There is nothing wrong with taking it easy, because at least you are taking it. It would be worse to quit altogether. The feelings that come with quitting are going to be so much worse than your feelings on your worst run, so don't stop.

10) "That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is."

This quote speaks for itself. The times, the numbers, the miles. The coach, the people, the course. Your support system, your friends, you. When you look back on running, what is it that you will remember?

Cover Image Credit: Maddi Burns

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The First Time My Mistakes No Longer Controlled My Life

Mistakes suck, and though I've conquered a few, I'm still learning.

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The whistle blows as the team cheers on.

My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent or I will fail. Fear.

In his first inaugural speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously stated, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Such a statement proves powerful to the matured minds of society; however, in the minds of some adolescents, this declaration appears somewhat foolish, as numerous "threats" ignite fear, thus causing teens to grow anxious.

A major cause for fear in the rising generation takes form in failure. In the eyes of these people, making a simple mistake paves the way towards absolute failure; therefore, perfectionists constantly walk on eggshells attempting to do the impossible: avoid human error. This mentality gives way to constant stress and overall disappointment, as perfection does not apply to human beings. If one can come to the realization that not one person can attain perfection, they can choose to live life in ease, for they no longer have to apply constant pressure upon themselves to master excellence. The fear of failure will no longer encumber their existence, and they can overcome situations that initially brought great anxiety. I too once put great pressure on myself to maintain perfection, and as a result, felt constantly burdened by my mistakes. However, when I realized the inevitability of those mistakes, it opened the door for great opportunities. The first time I recognized that failure serves as a tool for growth allowed me to no longer fear my mistakes, and instead utilize them for my own personal growth.

The whistle blows as the team cheers on. My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment, and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent. As hard as I try, I fail; as the ball flies straight into the net and thuds obnoxiously onto the gym floor, so does my confidence. I feel utter defeat, as I know my fate. My eyes water as my coach immediately pulls me from the game, sits me on the bench, and tells me to "get my head into the game" instead of dwindling on past errors. From then on I rarely step foot on the court, and instead, ride the bench for the remainder of the season. I feel defeated. However, life does not end, and much to my surprise, this mistake does not cause failure in every aspect of my life. Over time, I gradually realize that life does not end just because of failure. Instead, mistakes and failure pave the way toward emotional development and allows one to build character. In recognizing that simple slip-ups do not lead to utter failure, I gain perspective: one's single mistake does not cause their final downfall. Thus, this epiphany allowed for my mental growth and led me to overcome once challenging obstacles.

Instead of viewing mistakes as burdens, one should utilize them as motivation for future endeavors. The lesson proves simple: all can learn from their mistakes. However, it is a matter of choosing to learn from these mistakes that decide one's future growth. Instead of pushing faults away, I now acknowledge them in order to progress. Before coming to such a realization, I constantly "played it safe" in sports, fearing that giving my best effort would lead to greater error. I did not try, and as a result, I rarely failed.

Although such a mentality brought forth limited loss in terms of overall team success, it also brought forth limited, individual success. Today, fear of failure no longer controls life on the court. I use my mistakes as motivation to get better; instead of dwindling on an error made five minutes prior, I focus on the form needed to correct it. As a result, skills will constantly improve, instead of regress. Thus, errors serve as blessings, as it is through these errors in which one can possess the motivation to better themselves.

For some, fear acts as an ever-present force that controls every aspect of life. In particular, the fear of failure encumbers perfectionists, as the mere thought of failing causes great anxieties. In the past, I have fell victim to the fear of committing a mistake, and as a result, could not go through life without feeling an overwhelming sense of defeat. However, in a moment of what appeared to be a great failure, I finally recognized that life does not end due to one mistake, let alone one million. Instead, mistakes pave the way toward personal development and provide essential motivation to succeed in everyday life. Without mistakes, it proves difficult to grow in character. One must first learn to accept their faults before they can appreciate their best qualities. Thus, the fear of failure inhibits the growth of an individual; therefore, all must come to the realization that essentialness of mistakes, as they allow for the further development of overall character.

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