For the longest time, people have asked me why I run. I usually joke about really loving to eat and that part is mostly true. I’m a big fan of food. I also run for the health benefits and the stress relief. Lord knows, I can solve world hunger after a great run. Just call me the Running Mother Theresa. All of these are definitely part of the reason I run but after spectating at MCM I realized my number one reason for why I run: the finish line.
After MCM, I asked the S.O. how he felt crossing the finish line and with his tough race he wasn’t quite thrilled about it the way I normally am. No matter how craptastic I feel during a race, that finish line always produces the most euphoric, happy feeling, even if it’s only for a few seconds before I race to a porta potty or attempt to lie down on the street. (Both have happened.)
And when I say finish line, I mean, any finish line. I feel like a champion when I cross the line at a 5K or a marathon or a half ironman. The distance makes no difference to me. Granted, I get pride for the tougher ones, but to me, a finish line is a finish line.
I know the reason I love the finish line is because I’m a “gold star junkie.” This is a term I learned while reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s basically a craving for praise or recognition for work you do. I feel like racing is a positive way to get those gold stars.* I get to give myself a gold star when I cross a finish line. I don’t need to earn it from someone else. It’s mine. I finished that race. I earned that gold star.
To me, there is nothing better than crossing a finish line. Sure it’s nice to have people cheering for you but even at small races with only a handful of spectators at the end, it’s a great feeling. I can never fully put into words what running under that finish line feels like. I’ve laughed, cried, and danced my way through finish lines. I’ve been through finish lines with thousands of people and finish lines with five people but each and every finish line means I worked to get there. I set a goal and that word “finish” means I met that goal. Sure, sometimes those goals aren’t easy and they don’t exactly match up to what I wanted to do, but I finished and that’s the best feeling in the world.
So tell me, why do you run?
*Also crave gold stars? Check this out for some tips on making them positive.
The fourth paragraph has turned on a light bulb for me. I always chalk why I train and race to "so I don't get fat and to stay healthy". But, it's not totally true and neither really explain the obsession. Sometimes when people ask me how I do it (rain and race all the time), I just shrug my shoulders because I don't really know… didn't really know. Totally makes sense now!
Running helps me control my emotions. I have a difficult time talking about my feelings.
Running helps me blow off steam, feel better about myself, and gives me such a sense of accomplishment. I love the challenge and like you, I love the finish line.
My first half was one of the crappiest runs I had, but when I crossed that finish line, I had a feeling I cant put into words. I couldnt help but smile
Yes this is so true. And you just wait. Ironman training will build your endurance base so high that your 5k's will seem so much easier. You'll start setting pr's all over the place. And once you start getting fast(er) those golden stars get even brighter.
I still lose it every time I run 4 miles under 30 minutes. Such a gold star moment.
I can totally relate to this. I think it's a combination of loving the gold stars, and just loving the rush of getting my ass across that line (hopefully in a fast time)
Hmm…now that you brought up the "gold star junkie" that's kinda how I feel. I initially started running for health but the more I do it the more I want to prove to myself that I can do it. Every race I do proves I'm capable of more than I give myself credit for.
This is so very true, especially since race day should be the celebration of all the blood, sweat and tears we put into training. I was literally on air crossing the finish line at B2B. I was smiling and about to cry at the same time. That moment reminds us why we do this. It is also the thing that keeps me going during the race. No matter how hard it gets I try to channel that amazing feeling of the volunteer putting the medal over your neck. Love, love this post 🙂
Running keeps me sane. It relieves stress and helps me clear my head. I often come up with some of my best ideas when running