What does running mean to me? This is an excellent question. What is my relationship with running and how did it all start? When somebody asks me what I have been doing lately I can easily say I was training or I was running. But to be honest I am not that fit.
How did it all start?
I started my second running journey officially 2 years ago in the winter because I wanted to lose some weight, but could not afford to go to the gym as a student. At that time I was unable to run for 1km straight. I went through some difficulties and running in the evenings kept me going and feeling good. Until I twisted my knee and was, unfortunately, a bit less smart by still competing in my first race.
My first race was a 4 mile (6.5km) run with 28 degrees in the Netherlands. The first 4,5-5 kilometers were still okay as far as I remember but the last meters were a hell and my knee was hurting like crazy. I finished the run in 43minutes. After this race, I was unable to run for a long time and I moved to Krakow, Poland.
Here in Krakow, I started a new life, new friends, fresh start which I all needed after a more difficult year. I did not do any sports in the beginning but I started training again after my first Christmas. I was running in the gym and I felt like I could achieve everything after each run. I was doing 16km in the gym (and it can be quite boring) and enjoyed every second of it.
It got busier at work, less time for training and I was still not happy with my figure, so I exchanged my running for lifting. But this was not for me. After changing jobs I took a break from all sports and decided that I should consider what is really important for me and what I really enjoy doing.
What do I really enjoy doing?
I can remember that in most cases I was always doing something because others enjoyed it, and it felt like I should enjoy that too. However with running this was never the case. I enjoyed my runs together with my boyfriend at the time for support, and later I went on runs all by myself. Even for longer distances to enjoy the sunset in the evenings. After all the runs, I felt great. During my runs, I have the time to clear my mind, have the best ideas. But also to have some time for myself.
With Christmas, I found out that there will be four runs in Krakow during the year. After a lot of food and me being spontaneous, I decided to participate in these 4 runs and it would give me a reason to go back again to the gym. And later for some sports outside. Unfortunately, it is not too healthy to run in Krakow outside during the winter due to the air pollution. So my running story got his kickstart again. I started training in the gym, short distances and slow pace. 5 km in 40 minutes, that would make me happy. But in the end after a couple of more runs this year the time does not matter for me that much, but the feeling I have after.
So what does Running mean to me?
Running for me is freedom, time for myself. The time to enjoy nature (when running in the forest), the time to clear my mind.
Running a race for me it is like magic. So many people, running at the same time. People supporting each other and when you struggle you know you are not alone. The moment when it gets hard that someone tells you, that you can do it and you walk a couple of meters together.
The feeling that I can be proud of myself when I finished, not because of the time, but that I am really doing this for only me and I finished a race,\which I never thought I could do. Or the minutes before the race, when adrenaline is racing through me. Because that is how nervous I am getting, somehow scared I will not finish even if I did this distance already a few times. Or during the run when I can feel the wind on my face and my body is running in a steady rhythm like an old diesel train. The times moments I can battle the negative thoughts and keep on going, only to become stringer everytime I run.
When I have a bad day and I am not too happy and I find the energy to go for a run, I feel happier after. I feel more energized and I am happy I went for the run. And on my rest days, it is even harder because I miss running and unconsciously I am aware that having a rest day is positive. Or after a long weekend away when we discussed that we would not do anything sporty, I am happy to be back and go for a short run again.
Running makes me happy, it makes me who I am. Even though I am not the fastest or the fittest it is a big part of me and I cannot imagine not to be able to run again for a long time.
What does running mean to you? Or do you have another hobby that you cannot imagine not doing?