Why I Run

Happy Wednesday, beautiful humans. Today, I’m starting the first post in a series I’ve decided to call ‘Why I Run.’ I have no set number of posts because I have no idea how many reasons I have for running. Some are small, some are big, some are important, some are frivolous, some are momentary, and some are lifelong.

I’m guessing you fellow runners can relate.

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So, today, this is why I run:

Because it’s the opposite of everything I’m expected to love.

Let me explain. Growing up, I was one of the “smart” kids. I was in a gifted program in elementary school, and that turned into honors classes and eventually AP classes in high school. I’ve been enrolled in the Honors Program at my university since my freshman year. And, in less than eight weeks, I’m going to graduate summa cum laude.

But with all that came certain stereotypes, ones I am sure you’re familiar with. I couldn’t be an athlete and be smart because nerds can’t be jocks. (Is there a female version of a jock? I don’t know.) I had no natural athletic ability so I couldn’t expect to participate in athletic endeavors.

Obviously, none of those are true. But in high school, all of that matters a lot. I remember one Monday, I walked into one of my classes and the kid next to me asked what I did that weekend. I said I ran 4 miles and he said, “What? Seriously?”

It was a point of pride that he was both impressed and surprised. I remember thinking that maybe the walls between being smart and being active weren’t walls so much as lines. Revolutionary, right? Remember, I was about sixteen years old.

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But I want to be clear: I loved running before it occurred to me that, by being a runner, I was upsetting expectations. If I only loved to run because no one expects a writer/English major/nerdy girl to like it, I wouldn’t be crazy enough to sign up for a marathon.

This is one of those frivolous reasons. But it’s still there, a tiny ember among a raging wildfire, and I cherish all my embers and ashes.

That metaphor might have gotten away from me, but oh well, I like it. It’s staying in.

Until the next time,

Elizabeth

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