For most of my life, I have enjoyed running. I remember my first day of cross country practice. It was during 8th grade and I was 13 years old, living in Bahrain. Despite waking up extremely early, it was still very hot outside. I felt like I was dying the entire time. When I finished, I thought, “Huh, that was fun! I think I could do that again.” From that moment, I never really stopped and my love for running continued to grow.
I’m a big fan of StrengthsFinder and my number one strength is Achiever. Every time I run, no matter how long or far, I finish the run feeling very accomplished. When I set a personal record, I feel an added bonus. In 2013, I set a goal to run 13 half-marathon and 26 marathons.
This January, I ran my 13th half-marathon! Each achievement, is uplifting and keeps me chasing after bigger and better goals. In addition, on the days I feel unfulfilled and overwhelmed by life, I look to my accomplishments to remind me that I am a total badass. My new goal is to run a half marathon in 1:45. I still have 22 marathons to run and I’m always looking for suggestions for new races.
There’s nothing I love more than a fresh pair of running shoes, new socks, or finding a great route (water fountains and restrooms make it even better!). Getting out and running by myself is a treat. It is my time to reflect and meditate on life. I think about how I can better support the students in my office, what snack I’ll eat when I finish, or my next race. I am grateful for every run, even when it doesn’t feel like my best.
Shortly after I moved to San Antonio, Texas last year, I started running with Fleet Feet at their “Shoes-to-Brews” Pub Runs. These bi-weekly runs quickly became part of my routine and I looked forward to running with my new friends. Now, after nearly 6 months of running with them, I’ve made new friends and my running has greatly improved! I deeply appreciate the encouragement and fun that this group brings to my running.
There is something about a half-marathon or marathon that I find absolutely magical. There aren’t many things that I do that make me happy, sad, mad, and hungry all at once. I really enjoy seeing the encouragement that happens on race day, whether it comes from fellow runners or the crowd support along the course. I like to see what clever signs or t-shirts people have dreamed up during each race. It’s exciting to hear someone say it is their first race, as it’s exciting to hear someone say it’s their 101st race. My parents and partner have been my biggest cheerleaders and it’s great to see them on the course, cheering me on, and celebrating with donuts post-race.
What I love the most is when someone gets inspired to start running. Running long distances has changed my life for the better. Because I run marathons, I am happier, more motivated, and more resilient. I get really excited when I learn that someone else wants to do the same things! I try to encourage and support other runners the best I can and keep them motivated to reach their goals.
My list for reasons why I love to run continues to grow each and every day. Tell me why you love to run or exercise!
This post is part of our #SAfit series for April. With the constant hustle and bustle of our profession, we can’t forget to put ourselves at the top of our to-do list sometimes. It is essential that we remember to take time for self care and this series highlights how our colleagues work #SAfit into their lifestyles. This can look different for each of us and your journey is your own. For more info, please see Mandi Stewart’s intro post. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series too!