Monday, June 13, 2011

Back on My Feet: A Reason to Run

I saw this article via the Columbus Marathon's facebook feed:

How cool is that. Back on My Feet helps homeless people with running and getting their lives in order. I have read other inspiring stories about what running or triathlon has done positively for people's lives. You could swap the word running with many other words, but since I run, I always find it interesting to see the unique impact the sport has on people. I think I also find it interesting because personally, running has always been for reasons other than winning. Not that there is anything wrong with running to win. I just think it's pretty awesome that, along with winning, there are so many great reasons to run and keep running.

For me, running was spurred by good and bad reasoning, somewhat simultaneously. I was in high school, fat and I wanted to lose weight and feel good about myself. I thought running would be the best way to do that because it looked so intense. And, runners were skinny people. So I started running, in my mom's old blue gym shoes and my black cut-off sweatpants. Around the same time, I also stopped eating. That would be the bad reasoning, which wasn't reasoning at all but anorexia.

It was quite a battle for a few years, a conflict among my mind, my body, my parents and others around me. Thankfully, I was able to get better without too much damage done. The biggest crutch for my eating disorder ironically became the strongest thing that helped pull me out of it: running.

I ended up liking running, for more than the high-calorie burning suffer-fest that it was. I liked feeling good after I ran. I liked the energy and confidence and control it gave me. I had more and more runs on which I felt strong and healthy. That slowly won over being focused solely on my size. I could feel good, but only if I ate. I had to eat in order to run.

The conflict is still a little bit there between me and my body, embarrassingly. There are uglier moments/days/weeks/months than others. Running definitely plays a big role in balance. I think this is the first time I've really thought about my running history and foundation. I'm really glad I started running and am thankful I have kept it up because 1) I enjoy running...a lot! and 2) I like running with people and the precious camaraderie that fosters. I look forward to more of those opportunities, as that experience has by far been the best part.

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