Why I run – virtual 5k

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On Saturday, I will be participating in my first virtual 5K – the “Run for It” 5K, which is to benefit To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). TWLOHA is an amazing organization that impacts lives every day, including mine. The focus on the organization is to spread hope and share resources for people struggling with mental health issues such as depression, self-injury, suicide, addiction, etc. As this is the first year TWLOHA has spread the event to involve people around the country they’ve asked a very important question – “What will you run for?”

So why do I run? I run because it makes me happy. I run because it makes me feel better about myself. I run because I want to.

What will I run for? I run to give everyone hope. Hope for recovery, hope for freedom, and the hope of being able to feel at home in your body.

On Saturday I’ll be wishing that I could be in Satellite Beach at the actual Run For It 5K. I don’t know how fast I’ll be. I don’t know if my feet will power me up my community’s hills or if I will get stuck at every crosswalk (it happens every time). But I do know that I will propel myself through 3.1 miles because I love where I’ve ended up, and the support of To Write Love On Her Arms has played in that journey has played an unforgettable part in that.

The question that was given has made me really think about not only what I’m running for, but why I’m running in general.

I started running in high school, and I was a completely different person back then. Something ran me – an eating disorder which led me to depression and (ever present) anxiety. I decided to run because it was just another way to lose weight. I ran and ran. I was constantly injured, but I still kept going. I trained for a half marathon and finished it! I felt so accomplished! That was, until I realized I didn’t know why I chose to run 13.1 miles. That was because it wasn’t me who truly chose to do it – my eating disorder wanted me to train for that race. I had developed awful tendonitis in my lower legs and knees because I didn’t nurture my body. I was scared of myself, and I gave up running.

Fast forward four years, and I’m in my last semester of college. While hovering in recovery, I found myself hating how I felt and was sadly dumped by my boyfriend. I knew I needed a change to make me feel whole. As I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and hauled my butt to the gym, I found my pal, anorexia, trying to rear its head up at me. Well, I flipped it the bird and went on with reaching my goal. I signed up for one race, then another. I could run farther and felt a little better each day. I can’t remember the last time I was so comfortable in my own skin. I couldn’t/can’t concentrate on my classes because literally all I want to do is run, or read about it. I also started being honest with my friends, and taking medicine for my anxiety – and it has made such a difference. I can’t explain how amazing it is not to be as anxious about going out for a run, or in life in general.

Still, while I consider myself mostly recovered, I have to fight my demons each day. However, this time around, running makes me feel strong enough to avoid that ugly path. The day that I truly propel myself to race a half marathon will be the day I truly feel free. Then, I’ll run a marathon.

So why do I run? I run because it makes me happy. I run because it makes me feel better about myself. I run because I want to.

 

 

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