Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Running Gives Me ...

running appsLike a lot of runners around the world, I use DailyMile. It's a wonderful website to help you connect with runners/athletes/triathletes nearby as well as abroad. Of course, you log your mileage and various other exercises there, but DailyMile is a great place for support and encouragement.

This description didn't originate with me, but it is the best way to describe DailyMile: It's Facebook for runners.

(If you're not already on DailyMile, I highly recommend you checking it out.)

Anywho, every day DailyMile asks a new #dailymission. What it is is a question or comment regarding running. One day they will ask, "what's the one piece of running gear you can't live the house without?" Another day they'll ask, "morning, noon or night? When do you like to run?" For the most part, I don't respond or comment on them. But every once in a while, they have one that peaks my interest. Today's #dailymission struck a nerve with me. So much so, I felt a blog post was in order to fully share my response.

Today's #dailymission is: Running gives me ...

There's been a lot of great answers. Sanity. Peace. Time with myself. Stress relief. Freedom. Joy. Pride. Strength. Happiness. Good health. Confidence. A good-looking butt. An escape.

Those are some great answers, and there are many, many more.

But for me, running gives me life. And more of it.

My daughter giving me a 'workout' after I had just
finished doing speed work at the track.
Let me explain. As I have documented before, I lead a very busy, crazy, hectic life. I am not on the director of sports communications at Union (Ky.) College, but I also handle the sports information duties for the Appalachian Athletic Conference. I am an adjunct professor at Union as well as a husband and father to an 11-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, both of whom keep my bride and I on our toes.

It's been nearly two years since I took up running, and like several others, I found it to be a great stress reliever, a time to reflect and regain some sanity. Running allows me to think things through and gain some perspective without the craziness of the world interfering. It has also allowed me to get into the best shape of my life. I am a much fitter and stronger person now because of running. I am able to do much more in life because of running.

Case in point: this past Saturday I did my final long run before my first full marathon. I ran 16.26 miles along a rather hilly course. I started a little after 6 a.m. and was back in the house before 9 a.m. My goal was to have a nice, easy run - mission accomplished. Two hours later, I was out mowing my lawn for the first time this year. Not just the front yard, but the entire yard. Then, life gave me an 'extra' chore to do that day. As I was finishing my shower, the faucet handle broke. I spent the next hour or so figuring out what I needed to do to repair, running to Lowe's to get some parts and then fixing. Once I was finally cleaned up with the shower now working better than ever (honestly, it is - not sure how but it is, go figure), my bride and I went to a dinner at our church. We came home around 9 p.m., I wrote a quick story for work, and we watched some basketball before going to bed at 11 p.m., ending my 18-hour day.

A pretty full day, no?

The amazing thing is I had energy and strength to go all day. Was I tired or fatigued some? Sure, who wouldn't be. But I had the reserves to keep going strong.

Obviously, this did not happen overnight. I recall when I trained for my first half marathon I was wiped for much of the day following my 8- to 10-mile runs. But as I continued to run and train for more and more races, I found my stamina increasing to allow me to do more not only running-wise but in everyday life. The fact I can go out and run 8 miles and still be able to play baseball with my son an hour or more thrills me to no end.

It is easy to allow running to interfere with our family life. But running can give you strength and stamina to do more and to have more quality time with your family. Running can also help extend your life as you get into better shape and health; thus, giving you more life.

So, I ask you: what does running give you?

Happy running!


  1. I found you from a link on Twitter and have to say I love this post. I'm a beginning runner, and I've found so much of what you say to be true. Running not only gives me a sense of accomplishment, but makes me FEEL so much better!

    I'm also from KY and spent a lot of the weekend watching basketball! Go Cats!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, and happy to hear you're a new running. It's such a rewarding lifestyle change. Glad you found my blog!

      Happy running!

  2. So true Jay. I must say, when I do my Saturday long runs I too have energy to do things all day. I think it is a combination of both conditioning your body but also eliminating all the crud in your mind so you can think clear and positive. Keep up the great posts! -Jim

    1. Thanks for the great comment, Jim! I must say running helps clear the mind and put things into proper perspective. It's amazing how a good long run to help you solve the world's (at least your world) problems. :)

    2. Very well said. No one ever gets it when I tell them that running gives me energy for everything in life. It's like a little secret I have with myself.