I Run Because I Don't Like To
By Natalie Robinson
“I absolutely love running, I could do it 5 days a week.”
I hope you didn’t believe that, because honestly, some days I loathe the idea of even putting on my running clothes. From finding the energy on busier days to getting through the actual run, I must admit that I don’t always love running.
Although I’ve been committed to running for the past four years, there are times when running now feels just as hard as my very first time hitting the pavement. My legs feel heavy, I may have to stop several times or I may just not be in the mood. On those days, I’ve asked myself, “Am I really supposed to be a runner?”
Admittedly, during those periods of deep dislike—um, hate—I sometimes take a break from running. I still do other workouts and cross training to stay active and these breaks can be really helpful with resetting my running/training motivation. Sometimes, though, it’s not enough to get me going again. It is then that I have to dig deep and ask myself why I do this.
What Keeps Me Going
When considering why I run as a part of my self-reflection, one of the answers I came up with was that I choose to run because I don’t like it.
For me, running serves as a metaphor for the many obstacles we encounter in life. It’s not always a breeze, there are tough times, lows even. There are peaks and valleys in life, just as there are in running. Although the lows I’ve encountered can feel like complete defeat and struggle, some of the peaks include feel-good runs, where I get to clear my mind. The feeling of crossing the finish line of a half marathon after months of training, pushing past where my body told me to stop--it’s an endorphin release and a feeling of accomplishment that’s enough to have me feeling as though I can do anything.
Running mirrors how we overcome adverse situations and work hard towards something for the sweet reward at the end, all while feeling strong, free, confident and powerful. It’s especially gratifying when I begin to see that the process isn’t actually as laborious as I initially made it out to be. There are many small wins to celebrate.
For the Culture + Inspiring the Next Generation
Outside of self-motivation, another reason I hit the pavement is for what running represents #fortheculture. As Black women, we exist in a space where, according to the Miami Herald, a mere eight percent of U.S. distance runners are Black. Each time I show my ‘melanated’ face on a race course or on the sidewalks of the city, I am ‘repping for the culture’ and making my mark in what is often perceived as an overwhelmingly “white” space. As I do so, it is my hope to inspire other Black girls that they, too, can break into this space and be runners. When I run past a group of kids (of color) and they briefly pause to see what I’m up to, I can see when a spark of interest is lit. If even one little Black girl is inspired to be active and try her hand (legs? LOL) at running, then I know I’m doing my part in connecting the next generation to distance running and healthier lifestyles.
And that is the part that makes me ALWAYS like running.
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