It’s National Running Day and I thought, what better day could I have to reflect on running and what it’s done for me?

I know “running” is a verb and it doesn’t actually do in the sense of, oh let’s say, my laundry or walk Lloyd. But it does actually DO quite a bit for me.

I look back through this blog and it’s like a running “this is your life” saga. Granted, I’ve recently ventured into tri’s and I’m super happy doing so, but obviously the run is closest to my heart.

As a little B.o.B. history here, I’ll fill you in on my life with running. When I was in grade school I loved phys ed. In fact, I won the phys ed award in the 6th grade and by the time I got to junior high I had a promising future in track. I ran the 800 and the mile and also got drafted to the sprint medley relay in which I ran the 330 leg. It kicked my butt cause I wasn’t what you’d consider a sprinter. I can remember running a 2:50 half mile and haven’t seen that time since then. I was also on the basketball team (I stunk) and a cheerleader (hated it!).

But then, I got to high school and decided I wasn’t fast enough for track, I wasn’t coordinated enough for basketball, and I definitely never wanted to cheer lead again. I wanted to do something different. I had always loved the water but never really knew how to swim. Enter the high school swim team. I learned all of the swim strokes and swam my little heart out. I loved being on a team and happily made it to states on the 4 x 100 meter relay. Of course, I was the weakest of the relay but I was so happy to be there it didn’t matter. The other girls had been swimming since they were a lot younger than me so I was super proud to get to that point.

But then, college happened. I stopped swimming and running. I started drinking and eating late night pizza. I was a typical college girl on her way to the “Freshman 15.” Except, never able to half-ass anything, I went above and beyond with the Freshman 30. I gained 30 extra pounds and by the time I graduated I was miserable.

I started the South Beach diet and joined a gym and the weight came off. I worked out about 5 days a week and was much, much happier. I ran a 5K here and there and thought about stepping it up to a 10K at some point. But then, one day in 2008, I was sitting at my desk at work and I was hearing about the Disney Marathon from a co-worker. I thought, well I’ve run some 5Ks, I can run a marathon….

And that’s where it really started.

The rest of course is history, but I’ll tell you that none of my time at the gym and in all of those different classes really gave me the joy and pride that running has. Even those first few 5Ks didn’t really stick the way that the first marathon did. There is something so special in crossing that marathon finish line that it’s almost indescribable. The running community and the friends I’ve made through running are like no other group of people I’ve ever known.

Running has given me a sense of purpose as an adult that few other things in my life have. Sure I have a job and goals in my career but none that are as controlable as preparing for a race and feeling that sense of nervous excitement while waiting at a start line. And nothing, no nothing, can compare to that finish line.

So on this National Running Day I say thanks to running and all of the joy it’s given me. I wouldn’t be me without it and I’m proud to say I’m a runner.