I began running in middle school honestly due to insecurity and body dysmorphia. I thought I was fat, but I wasn't. I convinced myself that if I could just lose some weight, I would be happier. I knew running would do the trick, so I joined cross country. It truly proved to be a challenge. I remember my first race I made my mom take me home without finishing because the next race had started before I was even close to the finish line. I was completely embarrassed. However, the thing about me is, when I am faced with something I can't do - I practice until I can. I ran every night after practice, did extra running on the weekend. I was determined to be a running. Along with this, my insecurity and body dysmorphia began to disappear. Yes, I lost weight, but that is not the reason my mental health improved. Instead of focusing on my weight, my look, my appearance, I was focused on running. This was the most powerful thing I could have done in my life because it taught me to find a an outlet whenever I experience negative emotions. And when I began to feel the same negative emotions in high school, I joined track. Track brought me great friends, long nights, and great confidence. I loved being a runner, and I finally felt like one. Maybe I wasn't the fastest, but I was faster than I was!
Then college happened, and I discovered lifting. Since, I've kind of abandoned running for weights. And just like running, lifting has become a great outlet for me. However, there are always times when I feel low, anxious, or insecure, and I just throw on my shoes and run. Again, I may not run as fast as I did when I was a "runner" in the conventional sense, but running will always have a piece of my heart. I will always be a runner.