Sun beaming down your face, sweat rolling down your back, heavy breathing, heart pounding-- this sounds like a lot of people's worst nightmare. But for me, its a hobby. Running has been a part of my life since I was in middle school-- around 13 years old. And now at 22, I might not be as in shape or as fast as I once was, but I still have a passion for running.

Since I discovered my love for running, I was constantly reminded that the feeling wasn't a common one. I was the only one on my field hockey team who got excited about our training distance runs. Whenever I mentioned that I ran cross country in high school or that it was a hobby, I was met with a look of horror. Even my favorite fitness gurus rant about how they despise cardio and running. It became clear to me that loving running was "weird".

To be fair, I understand where people are coming from. Why would anyone enjoy being sweaty, putting their body through stress, causing pain to their joints, struggling to breathe, and listening to the voice in their head screaming at them to stop. New science even shows that running isn't the most effective way to workout or burn fat.

So why on earth would anyone choose to run? There are other ways to work out, and surely there are other, less exhausting things one could do with their time.

I run because it helps me clear my thoughts, and relieve stress.

I run because its one of the only things I do solely for myself.

I run because it connects me with nature and allows me to spend time outside.

I run because it is empowering to silence the voice in your head telling you to stop.

I run because of the feeling when you smash every expectation of what you or anyone else thought you were capable of.

I run because it is a testament to my will and my mental strength,

I run because truly nothing beats the feeling of almost giving up, then hearing your favorite song blasting through your headphones-- pushing you forward.

I run to compete with myself, and to constantly break and set new personal goals and records.

I run because I can physically see myself get better and better with each run.

I run for the indescribable, almost euphoric feeling of hitting your stride-- as if some other force is lifting you off the ground. As close to flying as any human can get.

I might be crazy. But only other runners will understand all the ways in which running can make you feel grounded. And if being crazy means I get to run, then I don't want to be sane.