Running For Joy

When I started Ann’s Running Commentary 9 years ago, I had just completed the Marine Corps Marathon with a 20 minute PR. I was on top of the world. Part of that joy was the PR but, the bigger part was that I had been running for joy. I was not looking for a PR that year. Instead I had been running because it was fun.

But I have often said that running is an evolution. We start for one reason and continue to run for different reasons and these reasons are constantly evolving. Over the past 9 years I have gone from running for joy, to running to qualify for Boston, to running to lose weight, to literally running for my sanity, and back to running to lose weight. Somewhere along the way, the joy I found in running went away. It became a job.

Over the past few months I have let everything else go and I have run for joy once again. I did not plan it this way. The truth is that I started this summer with a completely different plan. I wanted to run a fast Annapolis 10 Miler in August and I had a plan. Get my oldest son to run with me and push me until I met that goal.

Blaise and I started running together as soon as he got home from college and suddenly my outlook on running changed. I couldn’t wait to get up at 5 a.m. to run with my son at 5:30. Not because I looked forward to the act of running but because I looked forward to running beside my son. We went from two days a week to three days a week and are now running consistently 4 days a week.

And that consistency is part of the joy. Knowing that the run is there, that I am going to do it, no questions asked, makes it fun. It is no longer a chore. It is part of my life.

Lately, Blaise and I have taken to inviting others to run with us, whether it is an impromptu pub run, a friend who just needs someone to help motivate her or a group of local runners getting together for a run on a tuesday night, we are enjoying the extra company.

After Ironman I never really found that love of running again. For many reasons I forgot about running for joy. Instead, I ran for purpose. Today, I run because I want to, because I love the sound of my feet on the pavement, the feel of the sweat dripping down my face, and the company that is doing it with me. Today, I run for joy.