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Reasons I still love running
After all these years, I still love running. Here are 14 reasons why. - photo by Kim Cowart
Running and I have had a long and fairly healthy relationship. We've broken up a number of times, mostly over injury, but we just cant quit each other. Now that were in a good place, it seems appropriate for Valentines Day to list 14 reasons I still love running.

  1. Incredible sunrises. I was an early morning runner by necessity, and now by choice. Its dark when I start, but by the last mile of my weekday runs Im met with blistering pink and orange skies and the Rockies in shadow.
  2. Time. I run to get away and have a few quiet moments to myself before the chaos of the day begins. No music. Just feet pounding. Its bliss.
  3. Patience. Running requires patience. You dont get fast overnight. Legs dont get stronger in a day. Long runs are, well, long. Ive learned to be patient with my body and the changes that happen.
  4. Travel. Running has given me reasons to see places Id never seen before. Whether it was running a relay race through Napa Valley or a marathon in Amsterdam, theres nothing better than getting familiar with a city on foot.
  5. Perspective. Bad runs stink. Injuries are the pits. But its not the end of the world. Getting older and slowing down isnt the worst that can happen. Sitting out a race due to injury isnt the end of the world. Tomorrow is another day. Another chance to be better.
  6. Better understanding of my own body. I know more about my body now that I run. At times Im forced to research and learn about myself due to injury. Sometimes Im seeking to progress. Either way, Ive become more in tune with my body and its needs.
  7. Sleep. I used to struggle with insomnia. At one point in my early 20s I went three weeks sleeping no more than two-three hours a night. Since Ive started running, my insomnia struggles are so much better. I still have bouts now and then, but overall I sleep so much better.
  8. Energy. Initially running left me an exhausted, worthless lump. As my body, specifically my legs, have adjusted and gotten stronger, I actually have more energy throughout the day. Thats even more obvious on the days when I do nothing and feel drained. The more energy we spend, the more we get in return.
  9. Confidence. Who would have thought that the girl who dreaded running the mile in high school would ever run a sub-three-hour marathon? Not me. But I did it. Three times, in fact. The confidence in my physical strength has manifest itself into confidence in my emotional and mental strength, too. I can do hard things. I know this because Ive done them.
  10. Health. That should be obvious, but I started running to get time alone as a new mom. Health was just a nice byproduct. As Ive gotten older, Ive realized just how incredible running has been for my body. Ive bounced back from two major surgeries. Ive recovered from a bad bike accident that could have been far worse had my body been weaker. I rarely get sick, but when I do Im better faster. My migraines are a thing of the past. No more ulcer. The only aches and pains I get now are from a hard race or workout. Im in better shape at 41 than I was at 21, and I love it.
  11. Friendship. What is it about running that bonds people together? Why is it that I feel able to open up to my friends when we run and share the deepest parts of myself? I dont have an answer, but Im grateful for the friendships Ive forged on my runs. They are among the dearest relationships I have.
  12. Pain. No, really. Ive experienced a lot of pain and discomfort while running. And guess what? I lived. I am tougher than I thought. Stronger than I believed. I can take a beating and keep on ticking. Being comfortable on my cozy couch is nice, but feeling that searing burn in my quads at mile 26 and still crossing the finish line at 26.2 is empowering.
  13. Clear-headedness. Running is meditation. Its where I go to unravel the knots in my life. Its like my legs are windshield wipers clearing my view with every footstep and I can see my life through a clearer lens. Its where I get answers to so many of my lifes questions.
  14. Peace. Im no longer at war with my body. Ive gone beyond accepting what it looks like and have found peace with my legs, my stomach, my shoulders. Its taken awhile, but I realize beauty isnt found on Instagram or in a magazine. Beauty is in my stride, my breath, my being. I love who I am. I feel beautiful when I run.

Yes, running and I are good together. We have our moments when I consider leaving, but the good far outweighs the bad. Our relationship doesnt look the way it did in the early days; its better than ever. So, to running I say thank you and I love you. Happy Valentines Day running.
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