I continue to run because it continues to be easy and in part that is the truth. However, I left out the other reason I continue to run. My motivation for continuing to run – day in and day out, why I want to a life-long runner, and want to be the woman who runs through pregnancy and kids in jog strollers and gray hair – is vanity.
As a disclaimer: I am not the runner who brags incessantly about my running and racing but I am exceedingly proud of my running. I may not bring up running in every conversation but if it does come up, I have a hard time turning off the desire to going on and on about the races I have coming up, the races I’ve done, the races I dream of running, my times, and my training.
I love being the girl in the office who runs marathons and runs to work on a weekly basis. It makes me very proud that “runner” is a label people use to describe me. I may not walk up to people and introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Becki. I’m a runner and I run marathons” but that doesn’t mean I don’t relish it when other people introduce me that way.
Part of the reason I wake up and hit the pavement before the sun comes up every morning is because there is a chance someone might ask me, “did you run today” and I hate saying “no.” The reason I run today is so that I am able to run through the milestones I mentioned earlier – pregnancy, kids, gray hair. I want to be the little old lady who’s winning age group awards for the 71-79 category.
This makes it sound like I run for other people, and that is obviously part of my truth; however, I also run for my own selfish reasons.
Running makes me feel good. It makes me feel accomplished and satisfied. Running makes me look better and more confident. I weight less, smaller sizes fit me, I eat better but can allow myself to eat worse, and I can run faster and farther than I could when I started. All of this is a result of running and I hate to think of it going away if I stop.
I’m running scared but I am running.
In some ways I hate admitting this last reason for running because I continue running for all of the “right” reasons – I love the feeling of gliding along the bike path before the sun comes up, I am proud to have trained for, started and finished 3 marathons, I feel powerful and strong after a good, hard workout, and the self-esteem boost at seeing my times improve; these are all unbeatable and not for vain reasons.
However, it is important to me to realize that I can turn these “ugly” motivators in to a beautiful run. I may start out thinking of what other people think but after the first mile or so I am running under my own power, for my own reasons. Vanity may get me out of bed but the love running is what keeps me going.