I have been thinking about this for a while. I started running to get myself back into shape and support Christy in her quest to normalize her health a few years ago. Some days I just don’t want to get off the couch and have a nap instead. So I got to thinking, why do I continue to do it when it feels so hard at times. It turns out the answer for me has many more layers than I first thought.
Maintaining physical health as I age is a motivator. The more Christy researched how much of our western lifestyle aged our bodies and contributed to type 2 diabetes and cancer, I want no part of that. I want to be around for a long while yet as I have much I want to do and see and create. I want to be healthy and productive as long as possible- my brain is way too full of ideas. I need and want lots of time to contribute to the world and create.
Vanity- I hate to admit this, but this does get me moving some days.
Brain and mental health- goes along with physical. There is something running does for my mood and problem solving skills that is hard to explain unless you have experienced it. I can be in a down mood and/or wondering how to solve a particular problem that is bugging me and post run; I either am not worried about it anymore, or, have solved the problem in my head during the run. I sometimes wonder if exercise can help with mild depression.
Artistic reasons- I tend to have more creative ideas post run. Part of its the quiet, part of it is blood flow to the brain I think.
Level playing field- When you run a race, a degree, pedigree or large amount of money mean absolutely nothing. I love that. People tend to be affirming and inclusive of everyone regardless of age, size or skill. This surprised me a bit when I showed up at my first race. Yes, there are the elite self absorbed type, but I have found them to be completely out numbered by the supportive runners.
Overall I just feel better. I guess thats why I put up with the pain and effort some days- the pay off is worth it to me.