When I signed up for my first race as an adult, my Why for running was an easy one (if you haven’t watch Simon Sinek’s TEDtalk yet, do it!). With every single run I was proving to myself that I could run further than I thought I could. With every run I proved to myself just how capable I was becoming. My self doubt started slipping away.
Then I started running faster.
And I ran further.
My heart became the heart of a runner.
Race days were filled with personal bests. I was fulfilled. Over and over again, I was proving to myself and reminded myself that I was capable.
And then I plateaued as a runner. My times evened out. I conquered the marathon distance. I no longer had to prove to myself I was capable, because I grew to believe I could do hard things.
My Why shifted at the exact same time my life shifted. Nearly four years ago Christian and I walked through some tough times as we said goodbye to his dad and my aunt. Running became my healer. I ran to heal my heart. I ran to put myself back together.
And then I healed as much as one can heal after loss. I became inspired. I ran not to prove I was capable and not to heal a broken heart, but to become the best version of myself. I ran to polish my spirit.
Before I headed off to the Chicago Marathon last fall, I sat across from my running coach Jerry, and he gave me the best advice I could receive for that race. I was a little lost and a little defeated by life, and he knew it. He knew my goal for the race was to fall in love with running and life, and he provided me the advice to do it.
Kristy the person has to show up to Chicago. Kristy the person has to run this race. Kristy the athlete isn’t invited to Chicago. I need to run light hearted. I need run for fun. I need to fall in love with the marathon all over again. One day Kristy the person and Kristy the athlete can run a race together. Chicago is not that race.
I took his advice to heart, I ran Chicago, and I returned home with a renewed love of running and a renewed love of myself. I was back on track.
After the Chicago Marathon, I was asked to be a pacer for the J&A Racing Training Team. My running focus shifted. I ran for my team. They became my why. Their goals became my motivation.
One year after Chicago, I’ve been looking at my race calendar, and I questioned my Why. Why did I want to run? Did I want to race?
When the J&A Racing Training Team kicked off in August of this year, our coach Ryan kicked off the season with one thought: Why do you run? Cards were distributed. We all listed our motivation to run except for me. I didn’t write anything on the card. It was intentional. I no longer knew my WHY.
To heal a broken heart no longer applied. I am whole.
To find joy in my spirit didn’t motivated me. My life is filled with joy.
To run for my pace group was a shortcut. I was cheated them if I didn’t challenge myself.
WHY do I run today?
My card was left blank.
I didn’t have my answer when the season started, but when the jar full of cards resurfaced at our last training run on Saturday my heart finally knew my answer. I found it this season through my running coach Ryan, through pacing, and by racing the Wicked 10k. Before the Wicked 10k, I sat down with my journal and I created my vision for race day. I found the words that spoke to me the most, and I made them my own.
Why do I run? I run to share my spirit, to share my story, and to share my passion. This is what inspires me to be my best. This is what keeps me fighting when my mind wants to quit. I am alive when I run and when I race. I am capable when I run. I am whole when I run. I am filled with joy when I run. I’m inspired when I pace. Now is my season to share my spirit.
Running always deliveries me to where I belong. With every race that I have on my calendar over the next year, I have one goal: to run exposed, to let myself be seen, and to share my spirit. It’s what I have always done, but never before have I had a platform for which to share it like I do now. I can use my running to tell my story.
It’s time to enjoy letting my spirit shine!!!!
Running is a gift. Tonight as I ran 3 easy miles after work, I realized just how much I love running. Life is a continuous flow between moments of doubt our capabilities, heartbreak, and joy. Running is my thread that weaves it all together. Running allows me to live my life. Running allows me to share my story.