Did Running Change You?
The short answer – Yes, Running changed me.
Now, for the longer answer…
Running not only changed my physical appearance but I also changed mentally and emotionally. I learned a lot about myself. I still DO learn about a lot about myself when I am out on my run.
Physically, I lost somewhere around 70lbs. I do not own a scale so I don’t actually know how much I weighed at my heaviest… so really just an estimate. I dropped 8-10 dress sizes (the cut sometimes determines the size). Despite the fact that physically, it was a dramatic change, it wasn’t about the physical change for me. I did not actually set out to lose weight… nor did I ever imagine losing that much. I knew I needed to be healthier and get into better shape but the weight loss really was just an added bonus for me.
I never set out to lose weight and I never set out to become a runner. All those things just sort of fell into my lap.
It is likely that I will never know why I actually stuck with running. I never decided to become a runner and I was REALLY bad at it. I was so out of shape but for some reason, I did stick with it. I kept lacing up and heading out.
It started to become my stress release. Post college I was working two jobs and looking for a new job (I had a paying internship that I was able to keep until I found a non-internship but I did not make much… hence the second job). Those of you who have ever worked more than one job at a time, knows that it is stressful and exhausting. And looking for a job is just as stressful.
The run was ME time. I had very little me time in those days but when I did have the time, I always choose to go for a run. It cleared my head and it allowed me to think about all my options and what was best for me. It sort of became a way to solve problems.
Stress was the forefront but I started to slowly notice other things. I noticed that when I ran, I didn’t want to eat as much junk food. So my diet started to change drastically (for me). I started to buy more veggies and less candy/pizza/junk food. I was also no longer eating out of boredom (though, I admit, I do occasionally still struggle with this one). I started to truly notice when I was hungry and when I wasn’t. The further into the running venture I got the healthier I became. Yes, I still indulged and ate candy or pizza. But I was no longer living off those items. They became a treat instead. And as the stressful period of my life faded away, I found that I just enjoyed running.
So running very much impacted what and the way that I ate.
But I also started to notice how my body felt and what was good/bad for me. I started to better recognize the good pains and the bad pains. I was suddenly very aware of my training. I figured out the pains that I could work through (like just being a little sore from a good workout the previous day) and what pains I should wait out.
Though, lord knows I do try to work through some of the bad pains now… But running gave me that ability. It showed me what my limits were. What I could push through and what I shouldn’t push through.
The physical transformation was all bonus. The true benefit I got from running was a better outlook on life. The ability to know my body and what it is capable of. A great way to get rid of stress. To run my problems out… because really, sometimes after a run a problem is no longer a problem and you laugh at how silly you were an hour ago. I can mentally take on challenges and emotionally deal with them better.
Running is so much more than physical activity for me. If I never had that one random whim to go a for a run, I know I would be a different person. Running made me a better person. Running gave me so much. It is my passion and my love.